Thursday, October 4, 2018

Making yourself known by Patricia Lee

I’d finally done it.

After several years of writing, editing, and submitting manuscripts, a publisher had offered me a contract. Forgotten in the moment were the tears I’d shed over a rejection, or the nail biting while I polished my story, or the weariness I’d endured attending one writing conference after another.

I had arrived. Nothing could stop me now.

Except for one small problem. Nobody knew me.

Oh, I had all the social media accounts in place. I had a website. I blogged. I twittered with the best of them. Would that be enough? I doubted it would be.

A bigger hurdle loomed. How would I make myself known in the community where my books would be sold? Do bookstores automatically put my books on their shelves?

My first reality check. No. They don’t.  I would have to introduce myself.

I started small. I took bookmarks and business cards with me as I visited local venues. I always left my contact information and asked for the name of the manager. When I didn’t hear anything, I returned a week later to meet him (or her) and to ask if he’d order my book. One prominent bookseller agreed. Ecstatic, I offered to sign copies. Sure, he said—all two of them.

Yep. Two.  That ought to boost me to the Best Seller’s list—posthumously.

Here’s where my social media kicked in. I let my Facebook family know those books were there. And they sold.  So the  manager ordered two more. They sold. Then five more. Progress! When he ordered fifteen, I was ready to ask him for a book signing date.

He agreed—any time.

Now I’m not stupid. I knew advertising a book signing for little-old-me might interest my family and maybe one true friend. But to get enough people to make a splash, I needed a strategy.

I thought about concerts I’d attended. The main attraction always came with opening acts to entertain the crowd until the headliner group was ready. Those opening acts were usually a group no one had ever heard of, but because they were billed alongside the main attraction they were getting exposure.


I decided to do the same. I would be like the concert’s opening act. After I’d prayed about who to ask, I invited two other published authors to join me for the book signing. Would they suggest another? One did—a well-known author who lived two and a half hours away. I doubted she would make the trip, but I asked anyway.

This is where God gets in the picture. James 4:2 tells us we have not because we ask not. I asked.

The author said she would ALREADY be in my city mid-September (isn’t God wonderful?). If she could do the book signing the day before or a day after she’d be happy to come. All of us were excited.

I scheduled the event with the bookstore and prepared posters. Each author sent   ISBN numbers to the manager. Orders were placed. Store publicity posted. The newspaper printed a full page spread about the well-known author and her attendance at the event. But my name was there, too, along with the other two panelists—exposure I might not have gotten otherwise. The radio aired news information spots—again with ALL our names.. Prayers were sent up—not for numbers, but for impact. Our community needed inspirational authors.   

The night of the panel, people arrived thirty minutes early. The bookstore manager set up all his chairs. Still they came. He emptied the coffee shop of seats. Still they came. At the meeting’s opening, every chair was filled and a standing room only crowd stood at the back. Ideas were discussed, laughter shared, books sold for all of us.

I had successfully launched my book. I made a name for myself. I’d gained a friend in the bookstore manager. I’d debuted as a new author.

New York Times, here I come!

Well, I can dream, can’t I?
A Kite on the Wind 
Is love strong enough to overcome the walls they hide behind?
Left waiting at the altar, Claire Simpson has buried her past and moved on, carving out a life for herself as a teacher on the Oregon coast. When her former fiance appears, he threatens to unravel the peaceful independence she has worked so hard to achieve after their relationship failed. 
Montgomery Chandler has moved to NOAA headquarters in Newport, Oregon to make new, happier memories for his children after his wife died of a lingering illness. Their home in Seattle held nothing but the whispers of their earlier lives. Starting over will help all of them heal, but Monty is resolved not to risk love again. 
When the handsome widower enrolls his hurting children at the school where Claire teaches, her resolve to remain uninvolved vanishes at the whim of a snowstorm. This family needs her expertise. Can she help them without losing her heart again?
Patricia Lee is a published author, having written since she first learned what words could do at the age of six. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Oregon. Articles to her credit have appeared in Moody Monthly, Power for Living, Expecting and Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse as well as in two anthologies— Cup of Comfort Bible Promises and In the Company of Angels. She is part of a team of bloggers who submit short devotionals for

Patricia is a member of the Oregon Christian Writers and of American Christian Fiction Writers. She and her husband have two adult children and live in the Pacific Northwest with two sleepy cats.

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