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MANGO DELIGHT’S publishing birthday was June 6th, 2017. Since then I’ve been introduced to the hardest part of being an author. Promotion! You’ve got to get out there and find ways to sell, sell, sell! Because what is the point of writing a book if no one reads it. The last thing you want is for your beautiful book to sit on a shelf collecting dust until it is sent back to the publisher or dumped in the $1 book bin.

So, for the last few months, I’ve been doing everything I can think of to get more eyes on MANGO DELIGHT. My publishing company set me up with several, what they call, “Mommy Blogs.” These are websites that supposedly attract a lot of moms looking for interesting things for their kids to read. Cool! Each blog had a different theme they wanted me to write about.

The Kick Butt Kid Lit Blog, by author, Casey Lyall, was fun. She sent a list of questions like; Where did you get the idea to write Mango Delight? Where were you when you found out Mango Delight was picked up by a publisher? That was a fun blog to write, because Casey seems like a really cool beans person and her books, HOWARD WALLACE, P.I. and the follow up, SHADOW OF A PUG, are very funny and worth the read! She writes them in a sort of hardball, gumshoe lingo, like Humphrey Bogart/Sam Spade detective movies. Really fun. You can catch up with Casey on Twitter @CKlyall.

The Unleashing Readers Blog wanted a essay on the topic of my choice. I think this blog was mostly for teachers. So, I wrote a post entitled, “Using Your Personal Real Estate To Create Characters, Setting and Conflict.” By “Personal Real Estate” I meant your experiences, things that happened to you in your life. Everything that has ever happened to you in your life, good, bad, horrific, funny, embarrassing, humiliating, enlightening, all of these things belong to you and no one else. As a writer, they are a gold mine, a treasure that you can cash in and spend any way you like. Yes, I think it’s a pretty good essay, if I do say so myself. Google the blog and check it out if you get the chance. …maybe I should just post these blogs here…hmmm. Thinking about it.

Another part of the #authorlife, is school visits. [See the slideshow above.] I had a few set up for me in South Carolina. I live in North Carolina, so the drives were not more than 3-4 hours. I did two days at Dutch Fork High School in Irmo, SC. At first I was so intimidated. The kids were huge! They drove cars! Walking down the crowded halls trying to find the main office brought back memories of my days in High School…and not the good ones.

My faculty hosts were very nice. I had prepared a PowerPoint presentation to talk about my career path, what it takes to be a writer and how to write a novel. I had 7 45 minute classes two days in a row. I tell you, I don’t know how teachers do it. BUT, it turns out I had nothing to fear. The students were great, and as the day went on, I found my groove and felt comfortable enough to joke with them, really talk to them and get them to talk to me. Both days were exhausting, but a great experience.

The third day of this trip, I was at Herbert A. Wood Elementary. This school presented a whole new problem. In the morning, I had 10-12 minutes with four fifth grade classes. In the hotel, I was worried. What was I supposed to do? How was I supposed to make any kind of impact on these kids in 10-12 minutes. I got an idea in the shower. (This happens often. I think it might have something to do with the warm water streaming down your body…anyway.)  Once I decided what I wanted my core take-a-way message to be, I made up a chant/rap to teach to each group. It went something like this:

I read, I read

‘cause that’s what I need

To learn to write, to write

And shine so bright!

This went over great with the kids and the teachers. It was a lot of fun. The sessions were very high energy and the kids were bursting with questions. In the afternoon, I had 30 minutes with two fourth grade classes, so I got to slow down and use more of my PowerPoint presentation. These kids were great and I taught them the chant, too.

Tired and wasted, I got in my car and headed home. About a half hour into my four hour drive, I got very sleepy. So, I pulled over to a gas station/store and bought my very first, sugar-free Red Bull. Let me tell you, those things work! I was anxious to get back home to my family and I made it safe and awake…or “woke” as they say now…stay woke!

The least fun, but necessary part of #authorlife is book signings. The people at Barnes & Noble set up a couple for me. One in Wilmington, NC where I live and one in Buffalo, New York. The thing about book signings is…the set you up at a table with a display of your books, and you stand or sit, smiling at customers as they walk by. Some stop and look at the book, some just smile, some have a conversation with you and if you are on your game, you get them to actually buy a book which you can then personally autograph to them. The feeling is quite humbling, especially when you’re basically an unknown entity. Maybe one day, I’ll reach John Grisham-like popularity, then I may grow to love signings. Thankfully, they only last about two hours and then you are free to flee!

Well, that’s enough about that. I’ve got a lot more stories from the road and this #authorlife journey, but I’ll save them for next time. I promise I won’t take so long to write a new post. Actually…I think I will post some of the Mommy Blogs here so they’re easier to find. Or at the very least, I’ll post the links.

In the mean time, let me hear from you! Make this #authorlife a little less lonely.

Best,

Cas

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