Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Monday, November 9, 2009

Weekend Wrap-Up/Guest Blogger coming soon

Saturday was the day I participated in a book and craft fair in a suburb of Albuquerque nicknamed "Little New York" because during the 1950's hordes of New Yorkers purchased land in Rio Rancho and moved there. Now it resembles Long Island, with patches of housing sub-divisions and strip malls.

The book fair was held at the Inn of Rio Rancho. The room was jammed with local New Mexico writers and a few craft booths, so competition was fierce for book sales. I was situated between a fantasy and a mystery writer, both of whom were consummate sales people. I am not.
If someone came near the table, they would stand up, reach their arm across the table, introduce themselves and say, "I am a fantasy/mystery writer...." I could only watch in awe. I did stand up and introduce myself if someone stopped at my table. I did have chocolate and book marks available. Isn't that enough?

I had been dreading the event, imagining sitting there from 10 to 4 with not one person stopping by and not one book sale. That was not the case, however. People did come and chat, and at the end of the day I'd sold three books. Not bad for a memoir in the midst of mysteries, fantasy and childrens' books, all very popular genres.

There were other reasons to be grateful I participated. One of the women who purchased my book, as she was skimming it right there in front of me, looked up and said, "You are an amazing writer." When I asked her what she meant, she said, "You've taken a very difficult subject, a heavy one, and made it readable. That's a real gift."

Needless to say, that made my day, even if she hadn't bought the book. Then I connected with another writer, one from Santa Fe. I bought her book; she bought mine. Towards the end of the day, a woman who runs a book club asked if I'd consider talking at their club. Duh! Love to, I said.

Lessons learned: It's not just about book sales. It's about connecting. It's about getting the name of your book out there, even if people don't buy in the moment. Networking is key as well.
The connecting is especially true for memoir because it's so darn personal.

But I did tell my hubby, who, by the way, came with me and sat there all day, that I was considering switching to murder mysteries. My table partner sold 25 books!

And now for a cool announcement:

I wanted to let you know that Julie Lomoe will be posting a guest blog right here on Following the Whispers on Wednesday, 11/11. She'll be writing about dogs she's known, both real and fictional. She thinks she'll call it Truth can be stranger than fiction: the tragic saga of Lucky, her golden retriever. Julie is a fabulous writer and her blog posts are always interesting and well thought out. Please stop by on Wednesday to see what Julie has to say.



The Old Silly said...

These weekend wrap up posts are a good idea, and you do it well. I had a pretty eventful and fun WE myself. I'm also hoting Julie this month - will look forward to your feature post, Karen. :)

Marvin D Wilson

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I'm glad it worked out! 3 books is a good selling day, in my arts/craft show experience. And you got to meet some nice folks, too!

Mystery Writing is Murder

Joanne said...

I'm so glad you went, there's always something to be gained from our experiences. It sounds like you had fun and made some really worthwhile connections, very valuable indeed!

Crystal Clear Proofing said...

What an excellent example of how sometimes we get something completely different out of a situation than we even considered!

Look at what was gained from this experience! Not only book sales, but a wonderful compliment and an invitation to speak for a club! Great job Karen! I'm so thrilled for you!

Helen Ginger said...

Congratulations on surviving a signing and on making sales!

You could write mystery. The protag is a memoir writer. One of the peripheral characters in her memoir-in-progress comes back to life and begins stalking her and killing off other still-alive people in the memoir. She'll either have to stop writing the memoir or figure out what's going on.

Straight From Hel

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I find that even when I don't sell many books, I still have a fun time at these events because of the people I meet. By the way, I consider selling three books a good day, throw in a compliment and a speaking offer - that's like icing on the cake. Way to go!

Sharon Lippincott said...

Way to go Karen. I feel warm and fuzzy just reading that compliment. How wonderful that you shared it instead of being shy and "humble" with it. We all got a shot of your Joy Juice.

Connection, energy, I feel it in your account of the day. and a chance to speak = more sales. Yay!

BTW, your hubby is a saint to go sit there all day.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Julie is visiting my blog today!

Don't be afraid to talk to others about your book! And it's not being agressive to talk to everyone who passes - it's being enthusiastic. It's talking with passion about your work.
I wouldn't have even been on my side of the table - I'd been in the thick of the crowd, handing out bookmarks. I'm not always on target with my enthusiasm (even the Spunky droops some days) but I am NOT afraid to talk to everybody!

Karen, if I ever make it back to ABQ, we WILL do a signing together and I'll entice some spunk out of you!

Elspeth Antonelli said...

Good for you! How lovely to have someone compliment your writing. Take those good feelings, wrap them up and drape them like a warm shawl around your shoulders as you start your new project!


Jody Hedlund said...

Thank you for sharing about your experience, Karen! I too can't imagine sitting at a book signing event like that! It sounds so intimidating, but I like your perspective about interacting with others. If we look at it as a time to meet people rather than sell books, then we end up richer because of the relationships, don't we?

Connie Arnold said...

That sounds like a great experience, Karen! Connecting with people is always good, and the very positive feedback you received is priceless!

Anonymous said...

Sound like a good weekend, and experience. What a great compliment you got.

Jen Chandler said...

Hooray! I'm so glad your weekend went well. Good for you for sticking it out and facing your fear :)

Thank you for your encouraging words on my blog post from Friday. "Take action and let go of the results". You're so right! All I can do is what I can do, do my best, and let go!

Have a wonderful week!

N A Sharpe said...

Congratulations - sounds like a nice (and successful) day! Its always nice to get out and make a connection with a reader. The sales pitch and small talk do not come easily to me either, but these events can be a lot of fun. Your table mate sold 25 books?!?! Wow!!!

Nancy, from Realms of Thought…

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