With the release on April 15 of my latest book, Triple Burn, I know well the giddiness and sense of accomplishment that accompanies "The End" on a book manuscript. It never grows old.
There's a momentary lapse when the author heaves a big sigh and says, "It's finished." But it isn't really finished, and the savvy author knows that. Editing and revision and formatting have yet to come.
Many people get the same heady sense of relief and accomplishment when completing a project, whether it's related to writing or not. For instance, a carpenter can stand back and admire the beauty of the chest of drawers he finished. An electrician can flip a switch and feel satisfaction that everything hooked up operates as it should. A gardener harvests the fruits and vegetables of his labors.
"The End" is only just the beginning, whether that beginning is another phase of the project or another project entirely.
Sometimes, "The End" means the severance of a relationship. The tension and anxiety leading up to that severance cause lost sleep, indigestion, worry, and other problems. I've been going through that lately with a client. There's fault to be found on both sides, but the problem remains that I find it increasingly difficult to work for this client. Whether I finished the project or terminate the contract, I will feel relief once I can affix "The End" to it.
"The End" also pertains to the feeling that things are crashing down about one's ears and the subsequent crush and humiliation of failure will force me into doing what I absolutely, positively do not want to do or force me to quit doing what I love to do and what I believe excel at doing. "The End" doesn't necessarily translate to "happily ever after," but might be the harbinger of personal tragedy.
"The End." Those two small words convey enormous meaning and emotion.
A lengthy and increasingly unnerving interview lands Ursula a job as the event planner at a foreign embassy. Not until the government hustles her off to a different planet does she realize just how foreign that embassy is. When the U.S. ambassador hands over one of her coworkers during her first event as collateral to seal a trade agreement, Ursula breaks out of the embassy, determined to find a way back home before she, too, can be used as a bargaining chip in this world desperate for females.
What she doesn’t know as she navigates the unfamiliar streets of a totally alien culture and climate, is that she already caught the attention of a native warrior triad in a land where women are coddled and kept, yet prized above all else. They take her, elated to have obtained their collective heart's desire.
What they don’t know is how fiercely independent a woman from Earth can be. Disoriented, confused, and not a little angry at the way these three overbearing, dominant, sexy warriors take over her life, she wants to go home, but soon discovers this job was a one-way ticket courtesy of the United States government. If she can’t go back, she must go forward. Can she retain her identify and adapt to life on this new world with the three warriors who’ve claimed her as their mate? Is compromise possible between a woman used to controlling her own life and three warriors steeped in a culture that forbids it?
“Do you have family back home?” She pursed her lips against a giggle, because saying “back on Earth” felt absurd.
“No, ma’am. I’m an orphan. All military personnel stationed here are.”
“What about those who aren’t military?”
“The government prefers orphans, ma’am, for this posting.”
She sighed at his stiff formality. “Do you think you could call me something other than ma’am? It makes me feel old.”
A smile twitched at the corners of Corporal Logan’s mouth before he answered, “It’s against regulations, ma’am.”
“Of course, it is.”
The guard paused and stood at attention. “Enter here, ma’am.”
The door slid open.
“Thank you, Corporal.”
He nodded. Ursula wondered whether it was against regulations or protocol to salute a civilian. “I’ll fetch you in sixty minutes, ma’am.”
“What if I’m finished eating before then?”
“Then please wait for me, ma’am.”
She nodded and entered the room. Of the dozen people in the room, about half looked up, three smiled, and one rose from his chair and approached. Hand outstretched, he bared all his teeth and greeted her. The silver at his temples shined under the overhead lights.
“You’re recovered from your journey, Miss Cartwright. We’re so glad to see you up and about.” He clasped the hand she extended in polite response to his overture. “You might not remember me: I’m Ambassador Hamilton. You were a little woozy when we first met. Welcome to Uribern!”
He gave her hand a brief shake accompanied by a tight squeeze that made Ursula want to flinch. She maintained a pleasant expression, murmured a noncommittal response, and endured the momentary pain of the bully for whom she’d be working. She also ignored the way his gaze raked over her.
First, the compliments.
The event was well-organized with an interesting mix of vendors. Maybe half of the 30 vendors were authors, while the other half included dealers for Norwex, Thirty-One, Perfectly Posh, and Color Street as well as people who hawked their handmade goods. I didn't seen any artists there, at least not in the way I think of artists. I have to give credit where credit's due: HGBM did attempt to take advantage of a wider range of potential attendees by offering a wider range of vendor types.
The event was held in Building 50 of Clark State Community College. The size of the room served the needs of the vendors, being neither too large nor too crowded. The table arrangement made good use of the available space with scattered distribution of authors and vendors, preventing any one category from being clustered together.
As an additional benefit, the weather cooperated Saturday afternoon. The sun shined. Temperatures were mild. This contrasts with the utterly miserable, cold downpour at the HGBM event in December--a nice improvement.
Now, the critique.
The broader range of vendor types should have brought in a wider range of attendees and potential customers. The 3-hour event had fewer than a dozen attendees, including children accompanying parents. Once again, I find my formula for success verified: go where the people are. Few people will wander into a meeting room in a building on a college campus. At only three hours in duration, the event hardly had time to attract a crowd. I wasn't the only vendor to clear my table early and head out. When it comes to events like this, there's little worse than vendors stuck in a conference room all trying to sell to each other. I was glad I brought my Kindle.
One of the other authors and I really don't fit the tenor of the HGBM or the other authors. He and I write romance, oftentimes explicit romance. Except for the two of us and one table filled with children's literature, the other authors wrote inspirational and motivational literature.
I saw several inquiries by HGBM to local businesses if they would post fliers advertising the event. Several agreed to do so. However, social media marketing remained nonexistent. I found the Facebook announcement and shared that last week, but the organizer's website had little information. Assuming that I received everything all the other vendors did, then the event had no updates for vendors to spread through their social media networks, no individual or group promotions, nothing.
Marketing is important.
Because circumstances went against HGBM's December author event, I decided to give them another try, a second chance. I dislike to report that the second chance bore as little fruit as the first.
This time we have two lessons learned (one a repeat):
- Hold events like this where people like to go and that already draw a crowd.
- Make sure my genre's a good fit for the event.
Hen House Publishing and Mother Stewart's Brewing Company have a third book fair scheduled for Saturday, August 17, from 12:00 to 7:00 PM. That's the weekend before school starts. The brewery already draws a crowd, so we're going where the people are--and we hope to bring in additional people to the brewery. Win-win. Author registration opens on Wednesday, May 1.
#HenHousePublishing #HollyBargoBooks #SpringfieldOHBookFair
Hard boiled, scrambled, over easy, and sunny side up: eggs are the musings of Holly Bargo, the pseudonym for the author.
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Looking for a place to swap blogs? Holly Bargo at Hen House Publishing is happy to reciprocate Blog Swaps in 2019.
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