Thursday, July 31, 2014

Guest Author: Bonnie Schroeder

Bonnie Schroeder and I became friends when we were in the same writers group. This wasn't the kind of group that read and critiqued each others' work. We met to share our progress and our process. Here's Bonnie, to share what happens next:



SPEAKING OUT...IN PUBLIC

When my novel, Mending Dreams, was published, I realized I would be expected to go out into the world and talk about the book.

Oh, the horror!

I once read that people fear public speaking more than death. We'd rather die than give a speech in public.

One of the first things I did, and the smartest, was to join a Toastmasters club that focuses on writers. What a find! These people can make public speaking fun. Seriously.

My first chance to put those new skills to work came when Flintridge Bookstore & Coffeehouse offered to host my book launch. I joined their Brown Bag Book Club years ago, but I never anticipated that my book would be on their radar!

So, how do you do a book launch, especially when you don't have the resources of a big publishing house? You do it with a lot of help, a lot of luck, and a visit to Costco.

My cousin Marilyn is a former event planner, and she jumped into this project and recruited her daughter-in-law Morgan to help. They advised me on the refreshment menu (simple things that guests could easily manage: cheese, crackers, white wine—so spills don't show up on the carpet—and of course plenty of water). The night of the launch, they set up the refreshment table and served up the food so I could be free to mingle and enjoy.

My pal Jayne is an accomplished photographer, and she signed on to photo-document the launch. The end result: a treasure trove of photos to savor—and to post on social media.

I promoted the launch shamelessly, handing out flyers everywhere. I posted it on my website, Facebook and Goodreads. I invited everyone I know: friends and family, members of my Tai Chi class and my dog club, my neighbors. I sent press releases to local newspapers, emphasizing the "local author" angle.

Then I drove myself nuts practicing my "speech," and finding just the right piece of the novel to read, then timing it all. I started to stress out, until this thought occurred: the people coming would be friends, even if I didn't know them. They'd be folks who like to read and would know or want to know about me and my book.

The launch itself was a crazy collision of all my different worlds, and I had the best time ever! I put my inner control freak on hold and looked out at all my friends in the audience. Then I took a deep breath and started talking about why I wrote the book, the challenges I overcame, my writing process.

I heard laughter and applause at the right places, and you know what? It was so much fun that I'm working like crazy to get another book published so I can do it all over again.

Bonnie signs my copy of Mending Dreams.

19 comments:

Lori Webster said...

I know it was probably a crazy process, Bonnie, but you make it sound like fun! Can't wait to read your book....

GBPool said...

Your practicing sure paid off. You were as professional as any great author and your book is a marvel.

Petrea Burchard said...

I love our local authors and am always finding more! The San Gabriel Valley is prolific with pundits.

LOLfromPasa said...

Enjoyed reading about Bonnie and her story.

M.M. Gornell said...

Way to go, Bonnie! Looking forward to your next one. See ya soon, I hope. Madeline

BonnieS said...

Thank you all so much. I'm glad you enjoyed my post and let me share my exhilarating experience with you. You are all part of my dream come true!

Petrea Burchard said...

I love hosting guest authors. What could be better?

Nathalie Beaumes said...

I too joined a Toastmasters Club when I lived in Australia and I can speak highly enough of the benefits I drew from it. Congratulations on your achievements, both in writing the book and getting it out in the world!

Petrea Burchard said...

I may have to check out Toastmasters. I've never had any trouble being in front of a crowd, but it looks interesting.

Anne-Rene Kelley said...

So happy for you, Bonnie! I loved it when I was involved in Toastmasters and am so glad you found one that focused on authors and you gained value from participating in the club. You go girl!

BonnieS said...

Thank you, Nathalie and Rene! Yes, Toastmasters is great, and the membership has been so supportive of my book, too. Petrea, if you ever want to check it out, let me know and I'll give you the details.

Petrea Burchard said...

Thanks, Bonnie. Your link is useful as well.

Desiree said...

YAY Bonnie!

Margaret said...

This book is on the stack of books on y bedside table. Can't wait to read it.

Petrea Burchard said...

I have such a huge stack of books to read it's both daunting and thrilling.

BonnieS said...

Thanks, Desiree and Margaret! Petrea, I wonder which of us has the tallest stack of reading to do? I can hardly keep up with books written by my friends--how cool is that!!

Petrea Burchard said...

I won't bother to compete, someone will have more to read than I do. But I feel a crunch sometimes when the stack gets too high.

TheChieftess said...

No stack of books...but a couple of big bedside table drawers filled to the brim...and a shelf or two as well!!!

BonnieS said...

Readers rule, Chieftess! We'll get to all those books eventually.