It’s been quiet around here, which means things are bustling in the background. I have much to share, but one of the highlights of last week was a Little Kunoichi event. It was my last scheduled event and was held at a beautiful Japanese gift shop/gallery called KOBO. There may be some more events in the future, but that particular book reading capped what I considered the launch season. My book has been out for almost five months, can you believe it? I just found out that someone’s seen it in Madagascar!!! What??
At any rate, I’ve learned some notable tidbits from doing these events:
1. I am the worst promoter ever – I actually ran into some friends right before the event and didn’t even invite them because I was so timid about it. I’ve been tsk-tsking myself for days.
2. And when you don’t promote your own events, not many people show up (average number of attendees: 5, not including my own family members). Cozy and intimate events, these are. I was all gung ho and invited everyone and their distant second cousins to the launch party back in May, and about 100 people showed up for that event — just goes to show you that I can do it if I set my mind to it.
3. And when not many people show up, you don’t sell very many books.
I’m going to have to work on this. I’m much more comfortable in front of people now, which has been a lovely side bonus from the series of book readings I’ve done, and I’ve really beefed up my illustrating-on-the-fly skills (I offered custom illos for some of the events). I can whip up a watercolor dolphin in five minutes flat. I really love creating little paintings, especially for kids.
I’ve also been including a fun presentation about how the book came to fruition, and the part that seems to make people perk up is the cover options we went through. I’ve collaged together the versions that I presented up there, and the one of the lower left corner was the winner, but with a caveat: the colors needed to be brighter. The background and ninja uniform then went through various hue iterations, and it was fascinating to see the business side of developing a cover. It is, despite the general pleas to never judge a book by its cover, the most important element. Everyone took it very seriously. Which is pretty funny when talking about ninja girls and pet bunnies.
Alright, must go focus on the elusive sorcery that is book-making. Will be back some time next week!!
How do these weeks zoom?
Could’ve sworn it was Monday
but no, weekend time…
Happy Friday, and happy weekend to all!
12 thoughts on “Happy Friday + Randomness”
These covers are all beautiful in their own way. The one that you use is perfect. Have a fun weekend.
Thank you, Greta! After taking several polls, most people like the cover we ended up with too :-). Hope you had a lovely weekend!
I love all those covers! I absolutely love watercolor paintings. There’s just nothing else like them.
Thanks Kelly! Did you know, except for the final cover (on the lower right), all the covers were done digitally! For the initial presentation I created everything in Photoshop with the intention of re-doing it with actual watercolor, which is what I did for the cover we ended up with. I did use digital brushes that mimic watercolor, so it’s nice that it looks like the real deal. 🙂 Thank you!
I like your observations about the business process and the book covers. And I can understand perfectly about the promotion part. I can’t talk to more than a couple of strangers at a time without blushing and sweating profusely (God knows what my wife’s family must have thought when I first met them), much less 100, so selling yourself is rough work. I would have liked to have seen that presentation you gave to 100 people!
In my case I also had an ex who would always read me her poetry. I’m a philistine who can’t even appreciate good poetry, let alone the stream of consciousness that she would read me – just a tsunami of random thoughts from a highly creative but manic-depressive woman. I was a lot more compassionate back then, and I would sit there like a dutiful boyfriend with a thoughtful look on my face, saying how profound it was, and vowing inside that I would never make someone else feel as uncomfortable as I felt at that moment. So now I’m much more comfortable performing for the rough audience of the internet than I am for friends and family. Even if I wrote ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, I would have a tough time telling anyone I knew.
Anyway, if you’ve overcome all that to the point where you can bust out Bob Ross impersonations upon request, that says a lot. I think the self promotion and speaking in front of others is the hardest part of the process. So you might mock yourself, but you’ve taken some big, big steps!
By the way, that is a weird coincidence about the name. My mail is my real name. But my name is more common than you’d think, and the only connection I have with East LA is that I witnessed that awful plane crash they had there in 1986. I was more of a Santa Monica guy.
I miss the West Coast sometimes 🙁
You’ll have to send me a link to your site some time, Paul! And isn’t that a funny coincidence about your name? I remember the boy standing out amid the sea of Mexican children – he had sandy brown hair and was very shy.
I didn’t know who Bob Ross was, so I looked him up — that’s awesome!! Yes, I’ve come a long way in terms of public speaking since I’m definitely like you and prefer one-on-one or two people at most for my interactions.
Finally, Santa Monica was my old stomping ground when I was in college and grad school (and post-college for a spell when I worked on the Promenade at an ad agency). Such a great place! Thanks, Paul!
We had so much fun at your book reading! The kids love their dolphin and lion illustrations, and are displaying them over their beds:) I love the idea of practice, practice, practice in the book, which was made even more real by watching you paint. Thank you for the lovely afternoon at KOBO!
It was fantastic meeting you and your kids, Megan!! Thank you so much for stopping by, and I loved painting the fawn, dolphin and “Aslan” :-).
How fun it is to see the various book covers under consideration! I also really like the one above the “winning” cover – the one of Little Kunoichi hiding under her leaf umbrella:) Besides being adorable, it also evokes a PNW flair:) I wish that I lived close enough to attend one of your book presentations – I’m confident that you would be an eloquent, delightful speaker! Hard for an introvert to put oneself “out there” – so proud of all that you’ve accomplished this past year!
Oh, that cover with the leaves was a popular one, Lucinda! Thank you :-). I’m actually starting to enjoy the presentations, which is very unexpected. I just got contacted by a teacher at a homeschooling school (how interesting is that? I guess a group of homeschooling parents have a building now where they meet regularly) to conduct an art class, so I’m looking forward to that!
Lovely covers, and it’s really fun to get to see them all together like that! Have you ever thought of doing author presentations at local elementary schools? When I was a teacher, having authors come to speak was a highlight for the kids. The idea that authors are real people is something that many kids never think of! And they would usually read one of their books, and also talk about the process of how they wrote it, or how they cam up with the idea, or how they did the artwork, or something like that. It’s great exposure for the authors, and it’s really great for the kids. And especially for girls to see that women are authors, too.
Hi Loren! I’ve done a few school events, and have received some requests for the upcoming months. They’re a lot of fun, and I am definitely open to doing a lot more of them! 🙂 Thank you!