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Promotional Items for Your Book Event

Promotional Items for Your Book Event

When I participate in industry events like book conferences and author showcases, I take special care in my display area. Because, of course, you want to have an appealing display that will draw people to your table. Recently, I’ve added a few items to my book display that are sure to make kids (and their parents) stop by my booth and stay a while.

Poppy and the Play Date Throw Pillow

1)Throw pillow Vista Print had a fabulous sale recently . I got this custom throw pillow with my book cover for $17. It’s a great way to decorate my table and give kids something to squeeze while their parents are making a purchase.

2)Custom plush doll Stuffed animals are always great for kids. So when I came across a company called Budsies, I knew they would be able to create a custom doll, based off of my title character, Poppy. It is the perfect promotional item for my books. And it’s a good way to lure children to my vendor booth.

Poppy and the Play Date Stickers

3) Stickers Little kids love stickers. So I had some stickers made depicting the characters from my book. This is a cute way to get kids to open up to you while at an event. Children are normally shy. But if you give them a great looking sticker they are sure to become your best friend. And of course, they’ll want the book to match your cool sticker. I purchased my stickers from Uprinting.com .

Krystal Grant book marks

4) Bookmarks I’ve been ordering bookmarks from iPrint since I published my first book. But I figured it would be a good idea to include them in this posts since bookmarks are a perfect promotional item. I utilize bookmarks like they are business cards. Everyone who buys a book from me gets a bookmark. But even people who just stop at the table to look will receive a book mark from me. On each book mark I have pictures of my book covers and my website. That way, they will always have purchase information when they are ready to buy.

These items have proven to be great advertisements for my books and they have helped increase my bottom line. I hope they will help you too! Best wishes for your next book event!

Atlanta Baby And Child Expo

Atlanta Baby And Child Expo

The Atlanta Baby and Child Expo was held April 29 at the Sheraton Downtown Atlanta. It was a great event for moms of little ones and soon to be mothers. Hundreds of attendees came out to hear expert speaking session and learn about new products for their children.

Krystal Grant at Atlanta Baby And Child Expo

As a vendor I had an opportunity to meet so many new readers. It was a pleasure watching the children flip through the pages of my book. I passed out stickers and book marks and had a chance to talk about my latest children’s book with so many awesome people. Bravo to the event organizers. I can’t wait until next year!

Wednesday Writing Tip ~ Listen To Music

Wednesday Writing Tip ~ Listen To Music

Writing has been my saving grace. This is true. And while much of my day is spent mentally composing characters, plot, setting and theme I have to find other creative outlets to keep me stimulated.

Music has a way of seeping deep into my soul and making my heart happy. The rhythm, instruments and songwriting work together to bring me such a sense of peace and inspiration. This is why I’m thrilled to have recently discovered the band, Johnny Swim.

I was first alerted about them a few months ago from watching my favorite TV show, Fixer Upper. Then I began following the group on Instagram. But it was only yesterday when I listened to a few of their songs and OMG!!!! I’m so in love.

The lyrics to their music are ingenious. Their songwriting is absolutely breathtaking. I can’t stop listening to them. So many of the lines from their songs inspire me. I’ve written three poems in the past two days just from hearing their songs.

I’m so in love. And Amanda’s voice!!! I’ve never heard such a powerful, sweet voice like hers. I suggest you listen to Johnny Swim. I know their beautiful music will jump start your writing.

Wednesday Writing Tip ~ Take A Break

Wednesday Writing Tip ~ Take A Break

Huh? What? Oh yeah! Today is Wednesday. The day before Thanksgiving. Today has flown by as I prepare my home (and kitchen) for my very first Thanksgiving dinner. But, because I love you all so, I will, as promised, post a Wednesday Writing Tip. And here it is…..

Take. A. Break.

There’s nothing wrong with a brief writing sabbatical. It’s the holidays. It’s a time where we pause to give thanks for our blessings. So, close the lap top, but your pencils down and enjoy your family. The manuscript will be waiting for you, right where you leave it.

Have a beautiful holiday, folks. Blessings to you all!

A New Writing Space?

A New Writing Space?

This writing space simply won’t do. It was wonderful when I first create it. The room suit my needs perfectly. But over time, I’ve come to realize that my desk is too small. I have stacks and stacks of papers, notebooks, and other writing accoutrements sprawled everywhere. This leaves no room for my laptop.

My leather chair is very comfortable for sitting. It’s soft and plush. But it doesn’t lend itself to writing. I have to place a pillow behind my back to optimize my satisfaction. It’s a perfect chair for relaxation, but it isn’t the best for sitting long hours hunkered over a laptop.

Moreover, because my writing space is inside my bedroom, I get incredibly distracted by the TV, the couch that sits in front of the TV, my bed and all the big fluffy pillows that lay on it.

My writing space also doubles as my sewing area/ craft room.  So I have racks of Kozy Kases draped along the wall. My sewing machine and hefty fabric stash take up a large amount of space. And my canvases and paint are all over the place.

I’ve become a bit overwhelmed. This is probably the reason I’m having a difficult time writing anything. My writing space is no longer functional. I feel a redesign coming on…..

Wednesday Writing Tip: Be Inspired

Wednesday Writing Tip: Be Inspired

You have to believe in yourself. That’s the only way you’ll make it….the only way you’ll accomplish the goals you set for yourself. At the beginning of this year, I mulled over my 2016 aspirations. Filled with doubt, I listened as God spoke to me…

Dear Krystal,
     You are certainly good enough. You don’t need another degree or certification. There’s no reason for you to get a different job or promotion. And even though you wish you would win, a trophy will not create a greater sense of being in you. You are enough…just as you are. Highly qualified, totally capable, beyond talented…I made you; that is who I created you to be. There is nothing YOU can do to add to MY perfect foundation. And no amount of worry or cowardice will subtract from MY origination. You are everything you need. You are enough. 

I hope this “letter” helps you because it has certainly helped me. It’a posted on a cork board in my writing space. I look at it every day and am reminded of God’s grace and mercy. It inspires me to keep writing. Let it inspire you as well.

Wednesday Writing Tip ~ Use Your Pain

Wednesday Writing Tip ~ Use Your Pain

This past weekend I was blessed with the opportunity to hear Nely Galan speak. She’s such  powerhouse! Thoughout her hour-long talk she gave expert advice about how to grow your business and position yourself for success.

One nugget of wisdom she shared was to write from your pain. Galan stated, “Your pain is your gateway to your most authentic brand.” This statement rang true with me because it wasn’t until after my mother’s death that I was able to write my first book. And now, death is a common theme in my writing.

I suggest you do the same…start with your pain. What is it that is most hurtful to you? What tragedy have you experienced? While writing from your pain may seem unapplealing, it will help you become more relatable. Your audience will begin to identify with your hurt. Your writing will seem more credible to the reader. They will become more engaged with your work.

So, what are you waiting on? Start soul searching!

A Moment of Clarity ~ Why I Became A Writer

A Moment of Clarity ~ Why I Became A Writer

Somewhere around the age of twelve, I decided I wanted to be a writer. I immersed myself in the world of books and fell in love with the writings of Nikki Giovanni and Maya Angelou. When I was in college, I declared to my English professor, Kwame Dawes, that I’d have my first book published by the time I was twenty-five.

Things didn’t go as planned because I took some time to complete menial tasks like getting married, buying a home, having children…you know…small things like that.

It wasn’t until I was thirty-seven years of age when my first book was finally published. And it’s been a world wind since then, producing 4 books in 4 years.

Just recently I’ve become begrudgingly absorbed in my book sales, monthly profit reports, and marketing strategies. The frustration of it all has certainly taken a toll on my creativity. My focus has shifted from an in-depth literary analysis of my characters to “how can I sell more books in order to make more money?” And this will not do.

In a conversation with a friend whom I consider to be a marketing guru, I received exceptional advice on how to get more eyes on my site, which will lead to more book sales. His suggestions were great, but they didn’t match my personal goals.

That conversation gave me a moment of clarity…I’m not a saleswoman. I don’t want to sell t-shirts. I’m not compiling an email marketing list, I’m not interested in the bait and hook of potential customers.

I just want to write and share my writing with the world. That’s it. I just want to write. Often times I have to remind myself that Nikki Giovanni, one of the most notable American writers of today, still teaches creative writing. Colin Channer and Zadie Smith are college professors. My point is, even professional writers who have won countless awards and have their names on the New York Times best seller’s list are still working full-time jobs.

My moment of clarity has helped me go back to the notion that writing brings me a certain freedom and peace that I’m not likely to find in any other source. So, whether I sell a hundred books or a million, I write because it is my passion, not to make a profit.

What’s your reason for writing? Have you gotten caught up in the numbers? Don’t allow your judgement to become clouded with expanding audiences and updated analytics. Get back to the heart of writing. Get pack to your passion.

Happy writing!

Wednesday Writing Tip ~ Find A Mentor

Wednesday Writing Tip ~ Find A Mentor

Who is it that you most admire? Which authors are really making it in their careers? Who is writing the types of books you want to write?

I have several people that I “follow” closely…watching their careers and how they move…..admiring them from afar.

You should have some of those people. You should use them as examples of how to make it in the publishing industry. Have you visited their websites? Are you following them on social media? Are you commenting on their blogs? Registering for their webinars?

Writing is certainly a solitary action. But we cannot make it on our own. So, we all need mentors that will guide us through the various stages of our writing. I’ll tell you a little about mine…..

Kwame Dawes

Author of 21 books of poetry and two novels, Dawes’ writing career is one to be admired. He is a playwright and co-founder of Calabash International Literary Festival. Dawes is my first “real life” mentor. He has helped guide my writing since I was fourteen years old. And to this day (nearly 30 years later) I still pull on his coat strings for advice.

Tia McCollors

With more than nine books under her belt, Tia McCollors is a writing power house. When you long for a lazy Sunday afternoon of reading, one of her books should certainly be your top choice. Tia’s writing is solid.  You’ll find your self gripping the pages in anticipation of what will happen next. And you’ll instantly fall in love with her characters. Not only is she a writer, but she is a dynamic speaker. I’ve attended many of her writing workshops and always learn something new.

Demetria Lucas 

For a well-rounded perspective on pop culture, you must read Demetria Lucas D’oyley’s column in The Root.  She is the author of two books and creator of the very popular blog A Belle In Brooklyn. After an ingenious rebranding effort, D’oyley began See Some World, a site that displays her love of travel and encourages us all to navigate the globe.

Avery Sunshine

While Avery isn’t a book author, the way she takes hold of her own marketing amazes me. She is a singer, musician and song writer who connects with her audience through social media in a fascinating way. Avery Sunshine keeps her fans abreast of her travel schedule, gives us regular behind the scenes snippets of her studio work and posts hilarious Facebook live videos that let us know she’s a woman who balances work and family just like the rest of us.

And there you have it, folks. These creatives have taught me so much about my own career and how I can prosper in this industry. I’ve followed them for years and gained invaluable knowledge about marketing and work ethic. Who are your mentors? If you don’t have any, get some soon!

Wednesday Writing Tip ~ Believe

Wednesday Writing Tip ~ Believe

Admittedly, creating these Wednesday Writing tips aren’t the easiest task. It’s not that I’m short of advice. But my advice won’t mean much without a healthy dose of passion on your part.

It all boils down to this… If you don’t believe that you will be a published author, it’s not going to happen.

Colin Channer said, “Writing always involves fear. Sometimes you spend a lot of time {writing} and you feel it’s going well. And you read what you’ve written and {realize it hasn’t gone} so well. But you always have to come back. What sustains me is love. If you love it you will stay with it through good times and bad.”

So how much do you love it?

Recently, I found myself frustrated with my current book sales. I was wondering if I had made the best marketing decisions with my latest book. I began to lament about the difficult life of a writer and how we aren’t appreciated and blah blah blah. Woe is me! Woe is me!

Then I had to reevaluate the reason I became a writer. And I realized, I don’t write for people. Understand me, it’s wonderful when readers buy my books. I truly appreciate the feedback I get on my characters and how my writing has impacted other’s lives. But I don’t write for people! I write for me.

I write because my mind is crowded with characters, situations, settings, circumstances. I write because I MUST clear the clutter from my brain by putting it all on paper. Writing saves me from insanity. It saves me from melancholy, from inner turmoil. Writing is my saving grace. It gives me peace.

THIS is my passion. What’s yours?

Wednesday Writing Tip: Visit The Library

Wednesday Writing Tip: Visit The Library

Books do something to me. They warm my heart, giving me incredible joy. And being surrounded by them is like a little slice of Heaven!

I make regular trips to my local book store. But I had to place a ban on my book-buying escapades because it got out of hand. I currently have four brand new books in my cue that need to be read. So, until I read them, I’m not buying any more books.

Even though I’m not adding to my collection, I still stop by the book store and library to peruse the aisles. The library is a great place expose yourself to never-before-heard-of books. There, you can find obscure titles by obscure authors hiding on the shelves.

Take a rainy afternoon, or quiet Sunday morning to visit the library and uncover a few new books. It will be worth it!

Wednesday Writing Tip: Research Your Writing

Wednesday Writing Tip: Research Your Writing

When planning the manuscript of my third book, Brooklyn, I knew I’d need to do a little research. For most of my writing career, I had followed sage advice: “write what you know”.

That advice had carried me well through the publication of two prior books. But my title character for this third novel would be a college professor. And while I had vast experience in education, I didn’t know much about the life of a professor.

So, I turned my attention to Spelman College in Atlanta. I knew Spelman’s campus was the perfect setting for me to research college life. I contacted a professor in the English department and got clearance to spend the day with her.

It was a great experience. I sat in on two English classes and got an opportunity to interview her in her office. After my meeting, I walked around the yard, toured the campus museum, shopped at the campus bookstore and wandered until my heart was content.

This gave me first-hand information for my book. And made my writing process a smooth one.

While authors should ‘write what they know’, there comes a time when researching certain topics will be necessary. So, go and expand your experiences.  It will make your writing great!

Pen To Paper Writer’s Workshop~ Join Me!

Pen To Paper Writer’s Workshop~ Join Me!

Much of my time is spent answering questions from aspiring authors about the writing process and my journey into publishing. So, I developed a workshop that will give writer’s vital information they need to complete,publish and successfully market their work. On November 12, 2016, I’m hosting a special session for writers in my hometown of SUMTER, SOUTH CAROLINA! If you’re in the area be sure to register by clicking this link. I look forward to seeing you there!

Wednesday Writing Tip ~ Face Your Fears

Wednesday Writing Tip ~ Face Your Fears

Years ago, when I was 17, I had an opportunity to meet Jamaican writer, Kwame Dawes. He read my work and gave me valuable advice that I still hold on to this day. In his critique of my writing, he said, “find what you’re most afraid of and write about that.”

I knew what it was that brought me my greatest fear. But I didn’t have the maturity, courage, or life experience to face it ~ or even consider it.

After nearly twenty years and heap of life experience, I was forced to face that thing that gave me a staggering sense of terror….The death of a parent.

My first book, Under The Palmetto Tree (and nearly everything I’ve written since), has an overarching theme of death associated with it.

It was only when I faced my greatest fear that I was able to release the writing that had welled up inside me for so many years. It’s the greatest form of freedom when you are able to write about an experience with truth and authenticity.

What are you afraid of? Face it. And write. You’ll be set free.

Wednesday Writing Tip~ Connect With Other Writers

Wednesday Writing Tip~ Connect With Other Writers

It’s important to fellowship with like-minded people. You give yourself an opportunity to bounce ideas off of one another and gain much-needed critiques of your writing. Public libraries in your area may offer weekly writing groups. If they don’t, why not start one?!

Big box bookstores often have book signings with top selling authors. It’s a good chance for you to meet people you’d not normally have access to. And smaller, independent bookstores usually host book events that are open to the public.

Colleges and universities may sponsor book talks with authors, illustrators, and people within the publishing industry. And their English departments may have open mic nights where the community comes to read their original work.

There are a plethora of online writing workshops available. A simple google search will give you the information you need. And I know of many book and writing conferences that will supply you with what you need to get a jump start on your writing.

So what are you waiting for? Get connected!

Wednesday Writing Tip ~ Get UNorganized

Wednesday Writing Tip ~ Get UNorganized

Throw your plan out the window! Really. Forget about it. Tear it into little pieces. Toss it in the sea of forgetfullness. There is truly no cookie-cutter way to write. And while I try my very best to be organized by keeping a journal, maintaining a clean writing space and using all sorts of outlines and writing tools, I find that sometimes, none of that stuff works.

Authors write every day. So, there are some methods that work on Monday, but fail on Tuesday. And the thing that gets you inspired on Wednesday, gives you a case of the doldrums on Thursday.

It’s all a big game of trial and error until you find what really works for YOUR writing style. So, if being super organized works for you, and using an outline, diagram or structured format is helpful then, by all means, go for it.

But if you find that these things are not supplying you with the needed inspiration or motivation, then scrap all of it and get UNorganized. Your inspiration is waiting……

Wednesday Writing Tip- Get Organized!

Wednesday Writing Tip- Get Organized!

Purchasing stock in sticky notes would be beneficial to me! There was a time when I’d carry around a pack of sticky notes to jot down my story ideas or new words I came across. By the end of the day, I’d have far too many yellow squares stuck to my wall or desk. It would be a jumbled mess.

This disorganization only led to frustration and lack of focus. I soon accepted the fact that I had to get organized if I wanted to be a successful writer. Here are two methods I tried:

  1. I created an outline for my writing. This made my writing time more effective. With an outline, I knew exactly where I wanted to go with my writing. I didn’t waste time on ideas that weren’t related to my work. I was able to streamline my notes and put them in a more meaningful, sequential order. So, by the end of my writing session, I had created a great piece of writing.
  2. I made a diagram. Diagrams are useful because they give you a visual image of the setting of your story. A diagram allows you the freedom to imagine even the most minute details of your script. Having an image on paper will add more fuel to your linguistic fire.

Whatever organizational method you choose, have a plan in place and stick to it…at least for a few weeks. If one method doesn’t work for you, don’t be afraid to try another method. Just as you would edit your writing, you should edit your organizational style to suit your needs. Let me know how it works out for you.

Happy writing, my friends!

Wednesday Writing Tip- Set a Daily Word Count

Wednesday Writing Tip- Set a Daily Word Count

Setting a daily word count can help you stay organized. If you know what your end result should be, you’re better equip to stay focused on your writing.

While working on my books I set a minimum word count each day. This was a great way to stay disciplined. Instead of allowing distractions like TV or Facebook get the best of me, I was able to meet my writing goals.

Your daily word count can vary. I find that during the week, I’m able to be more productive than on the weekends. So, my word count goals are usually higher Mondays through Fridays.

Moreover, your daily word count can be as simple as 100 words or an aggressive 5,000 words. It depends on what stage of the writing process you are in and other life challenges that may be affecting you (it’s incredibly difficult to conquer a 10,000 word count goal if you’ve been up all night with a sick baby).

Have mercy on yourself and be flexible. There is no true rhyme or reason to writing a book. Be confident in your abilities and do what works for you.

Happy writing!

Wednesday Writing Tip – Expand Your Audience

Wednesday Writing Tip – Expand Your Audience

The world is certainly not a cookie cutter. Everyone has their own unique set of characteristics and gifts. While I can learn from writers who share my writing style. I can also learn from writers unlike myself. It's these writers that push us out of our comfort zones and give us the courage to try something different, new, unthinkable.

As a writer, you want to expand your audience and give your current readers a fresh perspective...give them something that will raise their eyebrow and cause them to see the world in a different light. You can only do that by incorporating techniques found in other genre's of writing.

My book, The Miseducation of Ms. G, is heavily influenced by poetry. And Brooklyn, my third novel, is a work of fiction; but has strong autobiographical elements enclosed.

One of my favorite writers, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, has four published books. Those works include a collection of short stories an historical fiction novel. I am sure she had to study many works of non-fiction in order to complete Half of a Yellow Sun. 

And then there's James Patterson. On a recent shopping trip to Barnes and Noble, I stood in awe as I looked around at all the James Patterson books lining the shelves. There were even two or three display tables showcasing his work! Patterson has written thrillers, mysteries, non-fiction and romance books. And now, he's added a fantastic list of  children's books (which my children happen to LOVE) to his repertoire.

Take a chance on your writing, folks. Don't be afraid to step outside of  your comfort zone. Your readers, old and new, will love it!

Jumpstart Your Writing

Jumpstart Your Writing

Let’s just say…for the sake of this blog post that Shonda Rhimes called you in need of an immediate contribution to her next TV show. Or Harper Collins sent an email asking for a writing sample to include in their next publication. Would you have something to send them?

Don’t think these ideas are far fetched. Believe me. I almost fell on the floor when I got a letter from Nikki Giovanni describing my book as “strong writing”. And I’m still heart broken over the time I received an email from a best selling author requesting my contribution to her next collection (which I never sent in because…I suck sometimes).

My point is….if you consider yourself a writer. Why aren’t you writing? I meet throngs of people who tell me they’ve always wanted to write a book. But they don’t have a sample of their writing to show me.

If you consider yourself a writer then….you must write. And write often. You should have at the very least a working draft, completed short story or collection of 20-30 poems in your arsenal.

Chris Abani once interviewed Kwame Dawes and Colin Channer. In that interview, Abani told the story of a time when he needed submissions for his publishing company. He states that he called Dawes in hopes that Dawes would send over a manuscript to be published. Dawes responded, “I’ll send 4. You choose one.”

This statement taught me a valuable yet simple lesson. A writer must write, not just dream about writing, not just jot ideas down on post it notes. But have completed works ready for publication.

So, again I ask, what are you working on?

Wednesday Writing Tip- Study Authors In Your Genre

Wednesday Writing Tip- Study Authors In Your Genre

Are you a poet? Then you should be reading Pablo Naruda, Nikki Giovanni, Robert Frost, Shakespeare. Do you write young adult fiction? You should read John Green, Lysa Divine, and Ransom Riggs.

If you want to play the game, you MUST study your competition. But you’re not studying your competition to win a race. You study them to improve your own writing.

There is no shortage of great writers who have experienced success. So, if you want to perfect your craft and expand your audience, you must read authors who write in your genre.

What are they doing well? How do they market themselves? What does their website and social media pages look like?

I can’t tell you how often I peruse authors’ websites. Of course, I visit these webpages to get information about their books. But I also go to view their landing pages, read their “about me” sections, and discover how active they are on Twitter.

Reading kindred authors can teach you so much about yourself as a writer. It will help you refine your likes and dislikes, sharpen your skill set and expand your creativity.

So, let’s get started! Create a list of authors in your genre and head to the library!

Happy reading!

Wednesday Writing Tip- Make a Writing Schedule

Wednesday Writing Tip- Make a Writing Schedule

writing scheduleWriting can be difficult. There are times when the words simply poor from my mind onto the paper. And there are other times, when I can’t compose a coherent sentence. It can be difficult to get your brain juices flowing. So, we have to “train our brain” to write.

One way to train your brain is to write at the same time every day. Developing a writing schedule is similar to teaching a baby to nap, or creating a night time routine for a child.

Becoming more scheduled throughout your day will signal your brain when it’s time to do a certain thing.

What works best for you? Is it possible for you to carve out an extra 30 minutes in the morning before your family wakes up? Or maybe it’s better if you try to write after breakfast, when you are wide awake and nourished. Or, that thirty minute train commute you have each day is a perfect time to write.

Think about making small changes to your day that will open up a bit of extra time to write. All of us can spend less time on social media. So, use the time you spend scrolling through Facebook to compose a few paragraphs.

Keeping a daily writing schedule will trigger your brain to dump all of those ideas you’ve been holding in. And before you know it, your work count will soar!

My New Children’s Book

My New Children’s Book

Poppy and the Play DateToday is an incredible day. It is the culmination of two years of planning, hoping for, working on, and strategizing a dream. Let me give you a brief back story…..

In September 2014 my children and I sat at our dining room table completing their homework assignments. I looked up from my computer and said to them, “Yall, I want to write a children’s book.” They didn’t pay much attention to me because they’ve become accustomed to their mother having grandiose ideas and creating goals myself.

I continued, “What can the book be about?” This question opened the flood gates of their minds and by the end of the night, we had the skeleton for what would turn out to be a full blown children’s book.

I knew in that moment that this story had to be published. Its publication wouldn’t be for my benefit, but for theirs. I wanted to show my children how an inkling of an idea can turn into something real.

So, two years later, after much thinking, planning and organizing I now have a tangible product as an example to my children that they can, indeed, do anything they set their minds to.

This book brings me an incredible amount of pride and satisfaction. I hope it serves as an inspiration to all the little children sitting criss cross apple sauce on their classroom carpets listening to their teachers read. I hope that this book make a child’s night time routine a little calmer. I hope this book makes you smile.

Happy reading, friends.

Wednesday Writing Tip- Keep a Journal

Wednesday Writing Tip- Keep a Journal
Image provided by Target.com

Image provided by Target.com

Document your thoughts. It’s a must! Many writers have a million thoughts running around in their heads at the same time. And if you’re like me, those thoughts go into overdrive at night, when everything is quiet and you’re trying to go to sleep.

In years past, I’d come up with some amazing story lines just as I was about to drift off into sleep. I’d tell myself ‘first thing in the morning, I’m going to write this down’. And what happens? First thing the next morning, my mind is blank. free. clear. empty. All of those beautiful, precious, thoughts had disappeared into oblivion.

These days, I’ve become accustomed to carrying a small journal with me in order to preserve those ideas. As a matter of fact, I have many journals strewn about my home, car, and work space. When an idea comes to me, I quickly write it down in one of my journals.

Once I sit down at my writing desk, I review what I’ve written. Only then am I able to organize those thoughts and create meaningful content for my blog post or manuscript.

Maintaining a journal or notebook is a great way to keep your thoughts in one centralized place until you are ready to give your ideas the time they deserve.

Thinking About Sending a Manuscript?

Thinking About Sending a Manuscript?

first draftSince becoming a published author I’ve been contacted by aspiring writers who are hoping to get feedback on their manuscripts. Editing can be a painstaking task. It is truly the bane of my existence. I don’t like doing it for myself, and I don’t like doing it for others.

But, if you ARE going to send a manuscript off for critique there are a few basic principals you should follow to make the reader’s job easier. So, here are some tips that I’ve found useful…

  1. All documents should be double spaced, left justified with 1 inch margins. It is incredibly difficult to read something that is single spaced. Also, use Times New Roman font. Always.
  2. When writing it’s not necessary to tell the reader every. single. detail. Give them a chance to develop their own imaginations about your story. Each action does not deserve a sentence.
  3. Editing can often times take longer to complete than writing the book. And you are never REALLY finished editing. It is a process You can edit a document a thousand times and still find something to improve upon. So, look at editing as a marathon, not a sprint.
  4. There is a difference between editing and revising. A big difference.
  5. Read as many books as you can in a wide variety of genres. Read. Read. Read.

I hope this bit of information has helped. Is there anything I left off the list? Let me know in the comments!

9 Must Haves For A Book Signing

9 Must Haves For A Book Signing

Krystal Grant booksRecently, I attended a book event with nearly 50 authors. It was interesting to be in a place filled with so many like-minded people.  I enjoyed meeting new writers and discussing the publishing industry with the.  I even collected a pile of marketing paraphernalia from each table I visited.

And even though I was not one of the showcased authors (I attended as a mere guest) I couldn't help but reflect on the event and compare it with my own book events.  So, I've compiled a list of MY must have items for any book event, book signing, book launch, etc. that I'm a part of.

  1. A "covered' table. Oftentimes, the organizers of the event will provide some type of cloth covering. But I'm always prepared with one just in case.  My coverings usually come from a party supply store.  I use a plastic table skirt that can adhere to the edges of the table I'm using.
  2. Signage. I have a fantastic sign guy that always produces high-quality signs/posters for me.  Signs come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Whatever you choose, make sure it's highly mobile.  My signs usually sit on a tripod beside my table.
  3. Mobile phone and camera. IN this day and age, a camera is a must.  You ALWAYS want to have  photographs of your events.  This will serve as great promotional material  A phone is necessary because you want to be able to post those pictures to your social media channels.  *It is also incredibly helpful if your fans would take pics of them at your event and post them to their social media friends.Also, create a hashtag for your event. Ex: #KrystalGrantBooks  Krystal Grant books
  4. An electronic payment device and cashbox. Nobody writes checks anymore and people seldom carry cash.  But EVERYONE has a debit card on them.  So...if you want to make money, you MUST have a square, PayPal reader or other forms of electronic payment devices.  And for those few people who will carry cash, be sure to have a cash box to hold the money AND be able to provide them with change if needed.
  5. Sharpie markers.  As a writer, you should always want your autograph to look professional and you want it o last.  As a rule, I only sign my books with a black Sharpie marker.  Always. (But there is an author I k now who signs her books with a pink Sharpie. I may start doing that. LOL)
  6. Bookmarks and book stands. I don't use business cards. For my marketing purposes, I have bookmarks.  They are functional and effective.  Bookmarks market your work long after a book event is over.  I also use a small book stands at my table. These can be purchased at Hobby Lobby, WalMart or Michaels. I do not stack my books on a table. Passers-by have an easier way to view my product when the books are standing upright.Krystal Grant books
  7. Post-It Notes. These are useful if there is a large crowd and a long line at your event. You don't want to ask every single person to spell their name. So, your assistant can get each person in line to legibly write his name on a Post-It Note and stick it to the inside of the book they've purchased. This moves the line along quickly and prevents any misspellings.
  8. A sign-up sheet. you have fans. They love your work and want to read more of it. Create an e mail list so your readers can receive your newsletter (You DO send out a regular newsletter, don't you?)
  9. Breath mints and water bottles. It's a long event. You're talking to lots of people. PLEASE have mints as not to offend anyone. No gum is allowed. It's unprofessional and not good for pictures.Krystal Grant books

**Regardless of the type of event you are participating in, it would be great if you had two assistants 1)Someone to take pics and  post to your social media 2) Someone to collect money. You should not collect any money at your own event. Focus on meeting your fans and signing books.

If you found this post helpful be sure to like it and share it over your social media channels. Did I forget anything? Add your own must-haves in the comments below!

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