Monday, October 29, 2012

Self Publishing Book Expo

I got up yesterday at 5 a.m. to catch a 6:59 train to NYC. My destination was the SPBE held at the Sheraton in Times Square. I didn't know what to expect. I had found out about it last year but didn't have the bucks to attend and wasn't sure it would be worth the $135 ticket price if I did. Add to that the $85 train ticket, parking $8. Food, $50 (okay, I had a nice dinner and a glass of wine instead of a cheap sandwich). So the whole thing cost a few dollars. I was excited and hoping that I would come home with a lot of good information and I did. I learned a lot of things that I could do to take my book to the next level, but sadly, I also learned about some mistakes I have made. I attended panels on epublishing with Smashwords founder Mark Coker, (@markcoker) and learned about how to turn "Millicent and the Faraway Moon" into an epub format, a panel on bulk distribution with Brian Jud, (@bookmarketing) president of Book Marketing Works, another on getting found by book buyers with Patrick Brown (@patrickrbrown) of Goodreads. And that was just the morning. I did become a little testy when I found that there was no break between panels for lunch so I had to bug out of one few minutes early to grab a sandwich to take to the next panel with me. After that I attended another panel on distribution which put me in contact with David Lamb (@lamb) , the very warm and friendly president of Vantage Press. I split the last panel between Marketing and Getting Noticed by Influencers  and a panel on Facebook, Twitter and Linked In which I really didn't think I needed but found out very quickly that I did. That one was presented by the very nice and nerdy social media guru David Vyorst. (@dvyo). 

All in all it was a great day. The panels were led by very knowledgeable people in the self publishing industry and they were all nice and down to earth enough to approach with just about any stupid question. There was one lady who seemed to show up in every panel I went to who seemed to be completely clueless and seemed to have cornered the market on both stupid and irrelevant questions, that, had the presenters not had the fortitude to move past her, the panels would have gone completely off track. So, kudos to them.  There were many panels that I couldn't attend because there was only one session of each, so I guess my critique would be to think about making it a two day affair and offer two sessions of each panel. Also. build in some time for lunch. Other than that it was a great day that started off with a relaxing train ride where I met a really nice entrepreneurial woman, Amanda Steinberg ( (@amandasteinberg). I got back to my car in Wilmington at 10 pm. very tired but  satisfied at having enjoyed a very productive day and met some great people.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Back to France...Honfleur and Etretat

Normandy is known for its rainy weather and did not dissappoint while we visited Honfleur and Etretat. It was just awful drenching rain the entire time we visited both places. I can imagine how beautiful Honfleur must be on a sunny day with the Merry Go Round turning, the boats coming in and out of the harbor and the streets filled with people. Regardless, I found Honfleur to still be absolutely charming with its medievel half timber houses, tiny streets filled with chocolate, pastry and cidre houses and restaurants. Dyana and I found respite from the rain under the awning of a harbor side restaurant. I had a bite of snails there. Not the buttery garlicky fare more common in Paris and other places, but cold and served the Norman way with a garlicky mayonnaise. I had a beef burgandy that was heavenly in its buttery wine sauce. We trekked through all the small shops that we could trying the chocolates and the cookies and cidre. My indecision about what to buy left me out in the cold as when I went back to purchase, I found the cidre shop closed for their two hour lunch break. I did find some fleur de sel (the upper crusty layer of a salt bog) in one shop and made myself and Dyana each a ceramic container to keep it in when we got home.

The weather did not relent by the time we got to Etretat. We got out of our huge Mercedes tour bus and walked to the boardwalk promenade to see the beautiful cliffs, beach and church. The weather was so menacing that our enjoyment was brief and we took off  to have a warm cappucino and dry off a bit. I had to buy a real jacket with a hood as my plastic rain poncho had about had it against the winds. Despite the weather, both were stunning places to see. I have to say that as much as I liked Paris with all of its glamour, history and rich architecture, I feel I am very fond of the smaller towns of Rouen and Honfleur.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My Self Publishing Adventure -Part 2

Picking up from my first post I will continue with the creation of my book. The next step, once I had a clear idea of the story and the page layout was to begin refining the details.

I had to develop my characters  and be able to paint them consistently throughout the book.

 Millicent was a no brainer since I have painted over 100 cows, but Mouse was a new creation and so I had to play around with him a little bit and create him  in various moods and positions throughout the book.

And then there was the Farmers wife...
 I had to make a lot of decisions. One idea I had in an effort to shorten the length of the book was to have a  split illustration but I felt it was too distracting to one part of the story or the other.

  My work began with these line drawings and others that I would eventually turn into paintings. Stay tuned for those next time....

Monday, October 1, 2012

New Independent Bookstores

Here's a shout out to my 2 newest retailers adding to my growing list of independent book stores carrying "Millicent and the Faraway Moon." If you live out that way or happen to be passing through, please make a visit to Bookland at 2114 South Queen Street York, Pennsylvania 17403. You can drop on over to their facebook page and like 'em too.

In adorable little Lititz Pa. you'll find Millicent at Aaron's Bookstore 35 East Main St
Downtown Lititz PA. After visiting Aaron's  you can stroll the quaint downtown area shops and find some good grub at one of the many restaurants lining the streets.

Lititz is hosting a Kid-Lit Festival which sounds awesome and I would encourage folks to attend to find quality independent books for kids. Unfortunately, I won't be there, I will be spending my anniversary weekend away with my husband, but you can always drop by the store and get your signed copy of "Millicent and the Faraway Moon" before or after the festival.