Planning a Successful Author Event

How does one create a successful author event–you know, the book launch, the coming out party, the please buy my book fair?

Back in 2011, I drove to Chateau LaMair in Granite Bay to find out.

author eventFormer senior editor at Random House and co-author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Published, Jennifer Basye Sander, and certified special event professional, Ingrid Lundquist, were “sharing the secrets writers need to know about how to best move books, get publicity, and enjoy face-to-face success with readers.”

Jennifer started with a pronouncement.  “No one cares about your book.”

No surprise there.  After fifteen years of writing and revising four novels and five years of inducting myself into the world of social media, I’d pretty much figured that one out on my own. My books are about as useful as lemons until they’re made into lemonade and served on a scorching hot day.

“Great,” Jennifer said, “you wrote a book. Wow, now you’ve published it. Next step is to have a book signing, right?”

Well, yeah, isn’t that how things work?

“Wrong,” she said.  “Announcing to your friends and the rest of the world that you are having an author signing to sell your book is the worst way to create excitement and produce sales.”

There goes the lemonade stand.

The hard reality is that after publication, and even before, the difficult job of book marketing begins. It’s time to MOVE the treasure that demanded so much of your hard work, time, and love.

Fortunately, the class was limited to eight, because, as I soon discovered, one size does not fit all when it comes to an author event.

Setting Goals for An Author Event

For starters, authors must … Continue reading

The Scabbard and the Sword Part II – guest post by Marian A. Lee  

Part II: The Purer Archetype and the Warrior King

The second part of this blog explores the warrior king as the Jungian purer archetype with regard to the Qabalistic understanding of the scabbard and sword and its political application.

King_arthur__KarrMost of us know King Arthur as the courageous “once and future king” destined to unite Great Britain and establish the peaceful kingdom of Camelot by creating the Knights of the Round Table. However by examining his shallow understanding of the scabbard and sword, it is clear that he personifies the Jungian archetype of the Purer, and that this more than anything else shapes his destiny. The Purer is the quintessential “innocent” eternal male-child who acts in the world without thoughtful consideration often possessed of an early realization of deeper spiritual truths which are treated in a casual manner without mature judgment and value. Since Arthur chooses the importance of the sword over the scabbard, he acts like the quintessential Purer, unable to relate to the world with mature self-regulation. The Purer has an overly-developed fantasy life; layers of illusion cover the reality of his situation which is perhaps why he is unable to at first realize Morgan’s trickery in switching Excalibur and its scabbard for those of unequal value. According to Kime, the sword serves the psychological function as the “…main means of communication with the material world”. The end result is the misappropriation of the use of the sword.

The sacred task which Arthur must accomplish is to learn how to use the sword and more importantly when to use it. Discrimination comes with maturity, which the Purer never obtains. … Continue reading

The Scabbard and the Sword Part I – guest post by Marian A. Lee

Part I: The Sacred Warrior King

The first part of this blog discusses Arthur, the sacred warrior king, as the archetypal hero of British legend and his relationship within the Celtic mythological narrative.

More than any other works of fiction, except for fairy tales and mythological narratives, Visionary Fiction makes use of spiritual and psychological archetypes, as well as material symbolism to work on the subconscious in an attempt to bring realization of spiritual truths to the level of consciousness. For my generation (60+) of spiritual travelers it is tempting to think, “Ah, I have it now,” and then tell younger generations what they need to know of this special wisdom in order to “get it”. I would rather approach the wisdom of the scabbard and sword with an attitude of, “I’ve got a piece of the puzzle that I want to share”. Then it’s up to future generations to expand and develop it further to fit their needs and times.

Very little of this world has the staying power of mythology. This is due to its archetypal nature, which is found, as Jung points out, in the collective unconscious of humanity, and is therefore salient to all cultures. Archetypes are primal, such as the great mother/father, warrior, hero, fool, and purer (the eternal male child). Primal archetypes are reinvented and cast in different cultural stories throughout the ages. In western mythology, none is arguably more powerful and pervasive than … Continue reading

Spiritual Stagnation, a Temporary Layover

Campbell

By Eleni Papanou

One major facet of writing visionary fiction is that the author  spiritually grows during the writing process. There are periods where I have to put my work aside, either when I’m in spiritual stagnation or not feeling worthy enough to write because of a personal challenge that I have yet to overcome. Only after I sort through whatever issue is troubling me can I proceed. Each book’s conclusion connects me to the lessons learned by the characters, whose interior growth mirrors my own. What I find most revealing is that my characters ascend to a higher level than me; however, they take me one step further on my own path. They inspire me to become a better person.

I posed the question to some of my fellow authors of how they handle spiritual stagnation during the writing process and got some insightful responses.

Bob Fahey, author of Entertaining Naked People says “understanding the situation can only help so much. I know from long experience that these last for a few days while something marinates within me and then suddenly bursts free in unbelievable spouts of inspiration. And yet I still go through funks. I am just this morning coming out of a three day one. I call these being human. I can’t seem to connect with my guides in meditation; can’t feel healing energies flowing through me for those at a distance; have no ideas for whatever books I may be writing at the time. I am merely human for a while and I don’t like that. But I also realize the masters have better things … Continue reading

5 Ways to Shape Your Success as a Writer

Success as a WriterWhile reading an article by Kathleen McCleary titled “5 Ways To Get Luckier,” it hit me that the very same strategies she listed for shaping the good fortune in your life could also be used to shape your success as a writer.

Take, for instance, McCleary’s first way to open yourself to good luck and serendipity.

Pay Attention

Bet you’ve heard that one before. Writers need to take in life’s details as though peering through the lens of an optical microscope at ten times magnification. Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but observe we must. And one way to do so is to turn off that smart phone, step away from the computer, and look around. Who knows what opportunities might arise—yes, from out of nowhere, when we least expect them—while we’re paying attention.

I’ve finally reached the point where I understand the value of descriptive details in making my writing come alive. And in order to add descriptive detail to my writing, I’ve learned to focus on everyday objects and occurrences, zero in on the seemingly unimportant details, and write them down.

Open Your Calendar

Success as a WriterMcCleary’s second way to make it more likely for serendipity to strike in your life is to open your calendar to down time.

Down time? There aren’t enough hours in a day to complete our “must dos,” let alone make time for our “want to dos.” Right?

Funny thing is, serendipitous moments, those instances of happenstance when we make fortunate discoveries by accident and find something valuable or delightful when not looking for … Continue reading

What is the Difference between Visionary Fiction and Speculative Fiction and Why Should I Care? – guest post by Lee Jordan

Lee Jordan imageWell, to answer the last part of the question, writers need to care where their books fit on bookstore shelves, and in our case the virtual bookshelf. Gary and I, writing together as Phoenix, are genre rebels, writing what we want to write, but when it comes to having people find our stuff, well then we are forced into labeling our work (we hate that).

The key to speculative fiction lies in the root word: speculate. Think of this in terms of “what if” and you’ll see it. So now you might ask, but doesn’t that make all fiction speculative? What if the Wicked Witch really has monkeys that can fly? What if aliens really exist on Earth? What if we could be like Superman and leap tall buildings? And what if there was a separate world for regular folk and witches, where the witches attended an academy to learn their craft?

Does this not mean that fantasy, science fiction, and horror, are Visionary as well as Speculative? Does it exclude romance, science fiction and horror?

Fiction, by definition, is untrue, so all of it involves some degree of speculation. The difference is in what’s being speculated upon. My opinion is that Visionary Fiction is a genre that was created to specify a goal, not a genre. Romance, alternative history, weird tales, dystopian, apocalyptic, time travel, (think of time traveling World War II nurses, moving through time to Medieval Scotland), past lives, superheroes, all sorts of supernatural elements – but with a difference.

The difference is that the goal of the story would be to uplift, illustrate, and … Continue reading

Visionary Fiction Part Three: Action Plan

Around the turn of the millennium, several of us authors-without-a-genre had a vision that we framed into words on the then-Yahoo Visionary Literature Forum. Continue reading

Visionary Fiction Part Two: What Goes into the Bucket?

Let’s suppose, as projected in Part 1 of this series, “The Bucket,” that Visionary Fiction has become as prominent a genre label as Science Fiction or Mystery. Now let’s consider the ingredients writers must put into a work to have it qualify for the Visionary Fiction bucket and what experiences or benefits readers can expect in a work pulled out of that bucket. Continue reading

Visionary Fiction Part One: The Bucket

By Victor E. Smith
“We tried mightily to get the retailing powers to start a visionary fiction shelf. We came close with Walden, but the suits at B&N, alas, took the position of ‘no one is coming into the store asking for visionary fiction’,” said editor Bob Friedman of the situation as he saw it at Hampton Roads Publishing some years ago. Continue reading

Sex and Spirituality Find a Home in Visionary Fiction – by Peggy Payne

Where sex and spirituality meet is in the experience of dropping boundaries, of feeling expansion, dissolution, limitlessness. In both, we can have the experience of dissolving into a larger existence, joining a great ocean of being.

Where sex-and-spirituality fits well is in the world of Visionary Fiction, which allows the reader to feel the experience vicariously and recognize a connection between these two areas of life so often kept severely separate.

That’s important, because where these two subjects are brought together there is often squirming discomfort, controversy and hot anger. People are so often offended—incensed, even —that the two could even be mentioned together. Many take the stance that something so animalistic and messy as bodily functions should not be allowed to sully the beautiful purity of religious/spiritual experience.

This dichotomy should not be. The two are inevitably intertwined; bodies and souls are, at least for the moment, joined. Sex is central to human life. And we can use stories —Visionary Fiction — to allow a reader to sense this or feel it more strongly.

 A Calling I Didn’t Request

 I seem to be making a career of focusing on this intersection, though I never meant to. I never intended to write about spiritual experience or about sex. In fact, I didn’t even plan to write fiction. I was for years a happy travel writer and freelance writer on other nonfiction subjects.

But then one day I returned to my office to write a news story about a government committee that, in my view, had done all the wrong things. I said to myself, “If I were going to write a novel, what would it be about?” Making up a story felt like taking charge, which I couldn’t do with North Carolina government (though I still wish I could.) Then … Continue reading