May 7th marks the one year anniversary of the release of THE WAR ON ALL FRONTS. I’m so proud of this book. I’m proud of the research I did to tell as authentic story as possible even though I was writing outside of my lane in many ways. I’m proud of the story. I’m proud of myself for confronting a hard chapter after taking the easy way out. I’m proud of writing another book. With MAN UP being released at the beginning of the covid lockdowns, in a way, this was my first “real” release with book launches, in person events, meeting readers, and doing school visits. Here’s what I learned this year:
• I LOVE school visits. I don’t care that out of an auditorium of kids, maybe fifteen really care what I have to say. The student telling me to sign her notebook of ideas is all I need. I love talking in front of people and I’m pretty good at it. Thank you to the teachers and staff that confirmed this. I did about ten school visits this year. My goal is to do 20 next year.
• School visits are a necessary part of an author’s income. When MAN UP was published, I didn’t know that authors make a few quarters (if that) for every book sold. School visits pay (most of the time) and their necessary if you want writing to be a meaningful part of your income.
• School visits and in person events are a wonderful way to connect with people. A high school librarian recommended me to a middle school and I got to be part of their Writers Week. I met an English teacher who is also an aspiring writer and she plans on coming to the SCBWI meetings I run with my pal, Nicole.
• I need a tab on my website for school visits, my experience (being a former teacher lets people know I have experience talking to young people), and testimonials from schools I’ve visited.
• Selling any number of books at an event is success. Of course, I’d like to sell dozens and dozens but two is better than none!
• Word of mouth is IMPORTANT and NECESSARY.
• Don’t be afraid to make the first move. Many of the school visits I booked were because I contacted a teacher or librarian and said I’d love to visit their school. Let’s be real: no one is knocking on down my door and my phone is not ringing off the hook. I’ve been ghosted many times but I’m not going to get any events if I don’t try.
• I’m now in the position to help other authors! I’ve passed friends’ names along to schools so they can connect with them for an event. I’m not very important in the literary world but I know some people!
• Twitter is still a toilet but I still love it. My engagement is down since what’s his name took over but I continue reap the benefits from the connections I made there. Case in point, here’s the link to a “best of” list a contact made. Thanks, Lillah!
• I need to write another book. A sequel to THE WAR ON ALL FRONTS? Another historical fiction novel that I can’t seem to find a break through with? We’ll see!