Just finished up with my first Facebook Release Party celebrating my new series, Ladd Springs. It was a lot of fun, but it was my first and what I consider, a “work in progress.”
Hosted 5 days of online festivities, beginning on release day (Wed-Sun). Not sure if days of the week matter, but I wanted to make sure busy working women could stop by and post.
My series is set in Tennessee, so I posted Tennessee trivia questions each and every day for visitors to guess. It was sort of my way to get into the “region” of the story.
I posted personal pictures from Tennessee, specifically the property that inspired the series. This was to give readers a visual for some of my scenes in the books, then encouraged them to post their own pics of TN.
“Name that horse” was a post on day two, giving readers a chance to name a foal in an upcoming book. Visitors posted their favorite horse names which I collected and plan to post on my website and offer up for a vote via Poll Daddy. Name with the most votes wins and credit will be noted in the acknowledgements.
“Name that southern comfort food” was another day, giving readers a chance to name–you guessed it–a character’s favorite comfort food in an upcoming book. But I’ll also use this food item on my recipe cards (SWAG) that I create for each and every release.
During the entire event, my street team (Bloomin’ Warriors) were given the chance to win the entire Ladd Springs series if they posted a picture of themselves wearing their bloomin’ warrior T-shirt (included in their sign up package) on my Facebook event page during the party. I had 10 show up in their garb!
Of course there were prizes throughout. Each and every comment entered visitors into a drawing for adorable gift boxes filled with flower seeds and garden to-do note pads. I cross-market between my garden blog and romance writing so garden gifts abound!
What I learned:
Facebook parties are fun! Really fun when everyone is on and commenting in real-time, though I had to continually refresh my page to keep current. Unlike Twitter, Facebook doesn’t do that for me. And I learned how to make a bunch of new FB symbol/icons to add in my comments! Link is here.
Readers loved the trivia questions and enjoyed the camaraderie with other readers. They also seemed to enjoy the giveaway prizes!
I also learned that a lot of people don’t understand what a “facebook party” is quite yet. Several people thought it was going to be held at a physical location, others weren’t sure how to interact. Perhaps I’m more technologically advanced than my kids think! Anyway, a better, more thorough explanation up front may have helped with that angle.
So that’s my story. I’d love to hear about your experiences, both writers and readers alike! What makes a great online party? Facebook? Twitter? Something new and improved?
Creative people are a different breed. And I should know. I “is” one. We don’t think like regular people. Our brains don’t operate in linear fashion. Well, I take that back. Creative engineer types make think in linear paths, but I’m no engineer. I’m a writer. An artist.
From creative stories to pencil drawings, I’ve always had a penchant to craft, create, make up stories… Over the years, I’ve won awards, earned recognition for my efforts. I won the fourth grade writing contest. The high school drawing contest. It’s a natural gift that has come in handy–one I’m especially reminded of after a few hours spent reminiscing with my brothers .
“Remember the time we told mom…”
Yes, well, it’s been fun, nurturing this creative streak of mine. And I love nurturing it full-time as an author. While not always grammatically correct, my voice is my own. It’s unique. Like a finger print, you can read my work and hear me tell you a story, one I hope you’ll enjoy. But as a self-pubbed author, I find my talents can be “stretched” at times. Currently at work on creating the covers for my 2013 Ladd Springs series, I find honing the vision can be difficult to translate into words.
And when I say I’m creating the covers, mind you, I speak loosely. Very loosely. I have one of the most fabulous artists designing the covers for me–namely one Jax Cassidy–and she’s simply amazing. She has a great eye for covers, for color. She sees things I don’t, comes up with ideas I’d never even think of, yet she allows me input into the process.
Therein lies the problem–or thrill! Depending on which side of the conversation you’re operating from. Like anything else, cover design is a process. It’s small changes that make a big difference. It’s an overall vision that must run consistent with your story, your characters, your fictional world. Your readers must be able to relate.
For me, it’s a fun process. Until my perfectionist brain cells kick in and my real life brain cells have to shut them down, that is. Then, like the tiny weeds in my garden, I have to ignore the impulse to say, “One more 1/16th of an inch and by George, I think we’ve got it!”
Sort of like when friends visit my 400 ft. X 100 ft. garden. They don’t notice the teeny-weeny weeds. They’re taking in the entire effect, the overall beauty and grandeur. Aesthetically pleasing, the leaves and fruits and vegetables appeal to a part of their brain that doesn’t even know what a weed is–can’t even compute the image.
There are days in writing and cover design when it behooves me to remember this little fact of life. Give readers the “pop” of imagery, the overall emotions of your story–and then trust them. They’ll open the book, move past the cover and lose themselves between the pages.
Anyone else know what I mean? For a preview of my upcoming Ladd Springs series, go here.
Okay, we survived vacation. Hip, hip, hooray! Though my son was lucky to make it home alive, what with his sassy tone and grumpy disposition at being awakened to leave at the crack fo dawn for our return departure. Sheesh, there’s no pleasing kids these days! Grumpy to rise, bored the second a minute passes without fun-filled action and distraction. I couldn’t have entertained them better if I tried. We went tubing and fishing, hiking and horse-back riding–we even stopped at Stone Mountain Ga on the way up for a break in the drive.
A beautiful place that is, especially when you arrive post thunderstorm and the park is cleared of clouds and people upon your arrival. LOVE that. While there we treated ourselves to a few Southern gourmet delights like fried okra and catfish, collards and corn bread, chicken and dumplings and of course no meal would be complete without a pint or two of sweet tea! Mmm…that was some good food. Bad for you, but mighty tasty!
We also visited the Chattanooga Aquarium for a change of scenery. Very cool place that I’d highly recommend visiting if you’re in the area. Not only neat marine life-like these upside down jellyfish, but it’s located on the river and the weekend we visited, their infamous River Bend concert series was gearing up to begin a week-long celebration of music and fun.
Next up was a stop at Ruby Falls. Deep in the limestone below Chattanooga, lights lit up the falls to our delight. It was a half hour in and a half hour out (which I wished I knew ahead of time–comfort value and all) traveling caverns lined with stalactites, stalagmites, helictites and more. All sounded Greek to me, but it sure did look interesting. We also included a brief jaunt through Rock City, much to my kids’ delight. This is the one place they did not want to leave!
My friend relayed a story from when she visited with her family as a child. Seems while walking through one of the more narrow passageways in the rock garden, her father became stuck. Yes, stuck, much to her mother’s horror and embarrassment. For an hour he couldn’t move forward or back. She doesn’t recall how he ultimately freed himself (probably blocked it out, repression and all), but he did.
This is the scene of the crime, affectionately referred to by the park as “Fat Man’s Squeeze.” Needless to say, I passed through with extra caution, not entirely trusting my feminine curves to the clutches of these vicious rocks.
Yep. You guessed it. it’s that time of year again and I’m taking the kids on summer vacation, this one sans husband. We have another planned with him. Look out Florida Keys, here we come!
But that’s later. This week the kids and I head to my girlfriend’s cabin in the mountains, good ole Tennessee. We’ll stop at Stone Mountain along the way to break up the trip, listening to Gone with the Wind on audio. Woohoo – can’t wait! Gorgeous mountain woods, babbling brooks, quiet wooded paths…
I look forward to the R & R. The kids? Not so much.
No problem. My friend has horses. Kids love horses, right? Well if you call running into tree branches a good time, then sure–this one’s for you. But not us. Last summer, my daughter (the older child, mind you) refused to ride alone on a horse so being the agreeable mother that I am, I allowed her to ride in front of me on my horse. Easy does it, big fella. We’re all friends here.
All was well until we came upon a large tree branch hanging in our path. No problem, right? My son ducked. We’ll duck.
Wrong. My daughter acted like she never saw a tree branch in her life and froze. Panicked–screamed as she grabbed hold of said branch and whisked herself right off the horse. In an attempt to ease her to the ground–as opposed to dump–I too grabbed hold of the branch currently in my way but with the horse still in motion, the dang thing took half the skin off my forearm! Grrrr…
Needless to say, this year we’ll be saying hello to the horses, but we won’t be mounting them. Maybe the river is a better idea. Wading through shallow water, floating around in tubes… Yes, I can feel it now–ahhhhhhh.
“This water is too cold!”
“I lost my tube!”
How about a nice hike? We can trek up to the falls and back. The adventurous type myself, I like to jump from a high, down into the pool of crystal cool mountain water. Makes me feel young again. The kids? You guessed it. Not so much.
Hmph. Maybe this vacationing with the kids stuff isn’t such a great idea. Perhaps that’s why they invented summer camp?
Just a thought! How about you? Care to share any family vacation stories? I could use the “pep talk: right about now! Knowing I’m not the only one should help.