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2017 Indie Author Day Gears Up

My table at the 2016 Indie Author Day October 8, 2016 Anaheim Main Library, Anaheim, CA



Thanks to my friend Melissa Guzzetta, author of Private Lucky,​ for notifying me of the Indie Author Day webinar , Evidence for Indies, presented on Tuesday, January 31, 2017. Somehow I missed seeing the announcement, but thankfully I jumped on just as it was starting.

The panel of four was made up of the following:

  • Kiera Parrott, reviews director for ​School Library Journal and ​Library Journal and a former children’s librarian
  • Carla Sarratt, Virtual Services Librarian with New Hanover County Public Library
  • Carl Pritzkat, president of ​BookLife.com​, Publishers Weekly’s website dedicated to indie authors
  • K. S. Brooks, an award-winning author and photographer administrator for the superblog IndiesUnlimited.com and member of the Indie Author Day advisory boardRead more about the panel from their biographies on the pdf EvidenceforIndiesWebinar-Bios

The second annual Indie Author Day has been set for Saturday, October 14, 2017, and a few libraries are already making plans.  The organizers plan to have other webinars and encourage libraries to host events throughout the year to help indie authors learn and follow best practices for indie publishing.

While they confessed that libraries have been not always been open to self-published books, the attitude has changed as indie authors are becoming more professional. It also helps that highly successful best-selling indie authors such as Hugh Howell and JA Konrath  have freely shared their journeys and advocated for authors. Check out their websites of these two successful authors for loads of encouragement and guidance.

The speakers encouraged indie authors to approach your local library, but be sure you’re talking to the decision maker. They reminded us that a library’s decision to invest in a book are based on many things, but they strongly rely on reviews from respected third party sources.

I’m not sure the Evidence for Indies webinar was recorded, but they provided a download of the slideshow. Download it here Evidence for Indies Slideshow

Visit http://indieauthorday.com/ to learn more about what’s shaping up for 2017. They will need our support and involvement, so please offer your ideas as they request on the site, and by all means, approach your local library to encourage them to participate.

In the meantime, read the post below to see what authors from last year’s Indie Author Day had to say about their participation.

Indie Authors Have More to Love at the Library: Transformation

Five Unique Alternatives to Making New Year’s Resolutions

Making promises at the start of the year to improve ourselves has a long and colorful history dating back 4,000 years to the ancient Babylonians. They were typically reaffirming loyalty to the reigning king or promising to pay debts or return borrowed items.

In spite of the fact that most of us are unable to keep our resolutions, we can’t seem to resist making them when a new year holds the promise of a new start. Perhaps taking a different approach will help us be more successful. Here are five unique alternatives to making New Year’s resolutions.


Do One Big Thing Each Day

Making to-do lists, completing planners, and setting priorties aren’t new, but Nick Burka a developer based in Montréal, Canada made this app for himself that simplifies this process. It’s free. Since I tend to spread myself too thin trying to do too much in a day, this approach appealed to me. You can do other smaller things, of course, but your main daily goal is just one thing. If you insist on themes and stickers, you can upgrade to a paid version.  What kind of developer would he be if he didn’t give you that option?


Create a Want List

Jennifer Mattern says ask yourself what you really want for your life, what will make you happy. Then write it all down. Avoid setting deadlines or creating SMART GOALS that may begin to feel like putting pressure on yourself. The things on your want list are not time-sensitive. Some may take more than a day or a year to achieve.  You can do tiny things to move toward your wants, but you also can change your mind when you discover that you don't REALLY want an item anymore.



Take a Trip of a Lifetime

Suzy Strutner, Associate Lifestyle Editor, The Huffington Post lists 12 types of trips you should take in your lifetime. Forget about setting loads of resolutions, and take one amazing trip instead. As much as I travel, I discovered I've only taken four of the types she recommends. How about you? Check out her list and share in Speak Your Mind which of these you've taken.



Set an Intention with One Word

Zoe Saldana and her sisters explain in the video below



Make a Commitment to Someone Other Than Yourself


Who says resolutions have to be about fixing what you see as wrong with yourself or going after achievements. Instead, how about donating time to a cause you care about. Or visiting a friend or relative who can no longer get around as they once did. Or supporting a fellow author or entrepreneur at  book signing or other event. These commitments do not have to be long-term or forced. Last year I committed to spend the day with an 80 year old friend once each month of the summer. I also attended book signings to support fellow authors, helped set up an auction for one of my favorite charities, and volunteered as a mentor at my alma mater.

Give your presence. It means a lot.


Tell us in Speak Your Mind which idea resonates with you or suggest another alternative to making New Year's resolutions.


Fun, Functional, and Unique Gifts for Writers and Authors


Are you looking for great holiday gifts for the writers and authors in your life? Here are some fun, functional, and unique gift ideas for not only the holidays,  but also for birthdays and other special occasions all year round.

1. Favorite Snacks

Writers have rituals that include munching on their favorite snacks to keep up their energy and momentum while they work.  F. Scott Fitzgerald loved canned meat and apples, Nora Ephron could down three Krispy Kreme doughnuts in one sitting, and Julia Child’s favored red meat and gin. What’s your writer’s favorite snack? Give the writer in your life a supply of their favorite munchies or a gift certificate for the store that carries them. They’ll enjoy fond memories of you every time they indulge.

2. Writing Inspiration


Aqua Notes

Many writers and other creatives get some of their best ideas in the shower. Now this waterproof notepad, the writer can capture thoughts or sketch ideas while in the shower.


Writer with a Day Job

This is the perfect gift for the writer working full time and writing their books on the side. This book offers advice, skill-building techniques, prompts, and exercises on how to keep writing while holding down a day job. It includes setting goals, creating a schedule, finding inspiration and more.



Writer Emergency Pack

This deck of 26 illustrated idea cards help restore writers’ creativity when it slumps.




The Writer’s Coloring Book

“Whether you are a Plotter, a Pantser or hybrid Plantster, you will love this book. A unique writing guide for novelists, screenwriters, and playwrights that provides a visual playground for both sides of a writer’s brain: the passionate dreamer and the rational organizer. The tools in this unique “how to write” book help you create complex, multi-faceted characters in engaging, stay-with-you-forever stories. “Amazon product description


3. Cool Tools

Agatha Christie said, “All I needed was a steady table and a typewriter. A marble topped bedroom washstand table made a good place; the dining room table between meals was also suitable.”

Modern readers may need a bit more. Here are a few ideas.


LED Pen, The Pilot’s Pen, Night Writer – Set of 2 LED Powered Ink Penlights

Dancing in the dark is one thing. But writing in the dark takes a special tool, like this Night Writer pen.


Sofia + Sam Multi Tasking Memory Foam Lap Desk with USB Light (Wood Top) | Supports Laptops Up To 15 Inches

This is more than just a lap desk, it’s a work station that goes wherever the writer wants to go. Includes mouse deck and slot for tablet or smartphone.



4. Stress Relief

Since writers spend many hours working in one position, carpal tunnel, neck, and body cramps are occupational hazards. If you’re skilled enough, give the writer in your life a personal massage. If not, invest in a gift certificate from the local massage school or parlor in the area. Groupon may even have a great deal available in your writer’s area http://www.groupon.com/local/massage

5. Smart New Tool–Book Planner–Plans The Entire Book Publishing Process

250x250Joel Friedlander and his team have helped hundreds of authors through the publishing process. They know the rush you get when you finish your first draft. And they also know all the questions that spring up, too: “What do I do now? When do I have to do it?”

Book publishing can be fun and efficient, when you eliminate the confusion.

The power of Book Planner for both first-time authors and seasoned publishing veterans, is in building a customized book plan to meet your schedule and your specific project. The subscriber just picks from the list of book plans based on the time they have to complete their project.

Book Planner is accessible from a PC, MAC, tablet or smartphone, It will automatically generate a workable and realistic schedule that will show the writer exactly what they can accomplish within the time they have available. It’s that easy. Subscriptions are 9.99 per month or $99.99  for the annual plan.

6.  60 Free Book Promotion Ideas in 60 Minutes (an audio program)

60-free-book-promotion-ideas-in-60-minutesOne thing every author must do is promote their book. Give your writer friend this priceless gift where she will join Sandy Beckwith, noted publicity expert, for an idea-packed session that will re-energize her book marketing and leave her buzzing with ideas! $19.00


7. Unique Literary Clothing Makes Great Gift Holiday Gifts





Out of Print spreads the joy of reading through the teeshirts and accessories celebrating the world’s great stories and featuring iconic and sometimes out of print book covers. Because they realize that some parts of the world have no access to books at all, for each product they sell, they donate a book to community in need through their partner Books for Africa.



50 banned books are identified on this one tote bag. 

Some books have become as famous for being banned as they were for being read, You’ll find some of your favorites on this list: James and the Giant Peach, The Heart of Darkness, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, The Call of the Wild, and more.



8. This Tee Shirt Helps Promote Authors’ Books

bookpromo-woman bookpromo-man

9. Postertext




Posters are made with the entire text of a classic and some contemporary novels.


This Benjamin Franklin poster, for example, is made from the entire text of The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.



10. Fun and Functional Gift Ideas

Shakespearean Insults Coffee Mug

“From all reports, William Shakespeare was a decent guy. He was generous, funny, and could drink with the best of them. But one thing you didn’t want to do is piss him off. Shakespeare was the Don Rickles of Elizabethan England. His brilliantly crafted insults and witty barbs could bring the fiercest soldier to tears. The Shakespeare Insults mug is covered with the Bard’s funniest and most biting insults from his plays.”Amazon product description


Novel Teas tagged with Literary Quotes


Novel Teas contains 25 teabags individually tagged with literary quotes from the world over, made with the finest English Breakfast tea.  This gift will help keep a writer hydrated through many drafts.



642 Things to Write About

“This collection of 642 outrageous and witty writing prompts will get the creative juices flowing in no time. From crafting your own obituary to penning an ode to an onion, each page of this playful journal invites inspiration and provides plenty of space to write. Brimming with entertaining exercises from the literary minds of the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto, this is the ultimate gift for scribes of every stripe.” Amazon product description


Reading Journal: For Book Lovers

“With checklists of award-winning novels and recommended reading for every genre (spy novels, romance, sci-fi, humor), this classic reading journal also includes plenty of pages for keeping track of all the books you’ve read and want to consume next.” Amazon product description.


Oriental Rug Book Marks–a set of four

  • Rugged urethane core layer practically impossible to tear, washable, will last many years.
  • Culturally significant classic images, many licensed from world famous museums. Amazon product description

Surprise your favorite writers or treat yourself to one of these not-so-typical gifts now or any time of year.

Please note: Most of the products listed above are affiliate links from which I get a commission if you make a purchase.

Which of these will you add to your holiday gift-giving list? Tell us in Speak Your Mind below.


Nonfiction Authors, This Master Course is for You

woman-1733891_1280When I retired after twenty years of teaching critical thinking, I decided to write my book of happiness advice and inspiration. I had already successfully published two language arts series for major publishers, and curriculum material, guides, and articles for a variety of publications. I also had my fill of clashing with traditional publishers over control of my book in exchange for meager royalties, so this time I decided to self-publish.

It was 2007. It only took me a few days of research to get overwhelmed when I realized all the work and decisions that self-publishing a quality nonfiction book would take in those days. I quickly switched my search from finding out how to self-publish to finding a coach and experienced guidance through the self-publishing journey.

Fortunately, times have advanced tremendously and you don’t have to comb the internet for knowledgeable help.

You are spared the scary thought of going it alone since you can gain ready access to know-how that wasn’t available to me when I began.

If you are an aspiring nonfiction author ready to learn successful strategies to write, self-publish, and market your book to turn your readers into ongoing customers, take the Nonfiction Master Course,  October 25th-27th.

In this a one-of-a kind course you learn from ten experts live and get your questions answered all from the comfort of your home or office.

Or if you prefer,  listen to the recordings later to suit your schedule.

Access  over 10 hours of dedicated and focused instruction from experts like Judy Cullins, Michele DeFilippo, Joel Friedlander, Nina Amir, Sandra Beckwith, and more.

It’s easy and convenient.

Sign up now for the Nonfiction Master Course

You are guaranteed to reap benefits from the skills, experience and knowledge shared on the live or audio presentations or get your money back,  hassle-free. Click here to view the details and learn about the money-back guarantee deadline. 

Oh, and when you register, you will get five instant eBook downloads. ‘

Still haven’t registered? Here’s that link again here. 

(Disclosure: I’m a proud affiliate of the Nonfiction Master Course.)

Indie Authors Have More to Love at the Library: Transformation

If librarians were honest, they would say, No one spends time here without being changed.“Joseph Mills

Public libraries have always been more than just keepers of knowledge and havens from the cold.

Growing up in segregated St. Louis, MO in the 1950’s, I could always count on my neighborhood library as a place where I was welcomed and encouraged. It was a place of wonder and joy where I could browse freely, and  leave with as many dreams as my arms could hold.

Joseph Mills, pictured just below, was not in attendance at any Indie Author Day celebration to my knowledge, but his belief in the transforming power of libraries was shared by all the independent authors across the nation who participated in this historic day on October 8, 2016.  (Do yourself a favor and read the full poem, “If Librarians Were Honest,” in his 2012 book Sending Christmas Cards to Huck and Hamlet.)

Joseph Mills

Joseph Mills, author, poet, and lover of books and libraries

Joseph Mills, author, poet, and lover of books and libraries

Sending Christmas Cards to Huck and Hamlet

Self-published authors, now preferring indie (independent) authors, have worked hard during the last few decades to turn out high quality books that will reach the hearts of new readers and win space on the coveted shelves of the public library.  The first Indie Author Day is the result of the work of strong local community groups, active online groups,  and dedicated industry support groups online and across the globe.

Now providing equal access to all includes indie authors, as the American Library Association rolls out its multi-year public awareness campaign: Libraries Transform.


It’s my pleasure to share the responses of a few of my fellow authors who participated in Indie Author Day across the nation. I asked them to share what worked well, what they would do differently next time, what inspiration they’d offer other authors, and what suggestions they would offer the libraries for a more successful celebration.

The libraries where authors participated is listed under their photo. All of the book titles and book covers are clickable, so you can purchase any book of your choice.


Lynette Smith
How to Write Heartfelt Letters to Treasure



Anaheim Central Library

As to my own sales, I sold one book (“80 Common Layout Errors”), and that was to a non-author who knew someone who could use it. All that beautiful “gratitude” and “letter writing” themed display, plus telling people inspirational stories about writing letters and how our son presented us with that letter and how truly moving that was and still is—and still nobody bought anything related to letter writing, although one person asked if my main book was available on Amazon. (I responded that it was, but it wouldn’t be signed or inscribed by the author, and it would probably end up costing, after shipping, about the same as what I was selling my book for that day. It didn’t seem to sway her.)

On the other hand, I did distribute a lot of how-to bookmarks, which I’m happy about; and my fellow author, Judy Brizendine, took about 10 to share with friends also.

I received a lot of compliments about my “Be Gratitude” shirt. I also received several positive comments about the good approach I had in splitting the main book into themed guides, to help appeal to prospective buyers who might otherwise feel intimidated by a half-inch thick reference book. And I received a couple of compliments about how nice the display looked, and one of those shared that she liked the branding that clearly came across.

To increase book sales, next time I will focus on benefits rather than features.



Anaheim Central Library

Matthew Arnold Stern
Mastering Table Topics


A few things I learned:
1. Have a credit card reader (such as Square and PayPal). You can miss out on sales if you don’t take credit cards.
2. Do as much of your own advance promotion to encourage readers to see you.
3. Network with other writers. Build connections and learn from each other.
4. Bring candy.


Kathleen Pooler
Ever Faithful to His Lead


The Amsterdam Free Library, Amsterdam, NY





First of all, I found myself hoping that other indie authors were having as much fun as I was! We had a panel discussion of five local authors to discuss writing and our journeys to publication.

What to do differently?

Our librarian was very responsive to participating and several of us met with her a few times to orient her to the event and get her support. I think for next year, we should have a committee dedicated to the marketing aspect, maybe do a radio interview to discuss what it is and why it is so important.

Many people were away for Columbus Day weekend so we only had a few people in the audience. Even though the number was small, they were enthusiastic and asked a lot of questions.  Our librarian advertised in the local newspaper and on the library FB page. We could be more aggressive about it next year now that we’ve been inaugurated.

We did not have the official Indie Author posters or other display materials which I think might have sparked some interest in the event ahead of time and during the event.

Overall, it was a success and will serve as a template for next year’s event. Our libraries are our community treasures and supporting Indie Author Day helps preserve that treasure while facilitating collaboration between libraries and indie authors. A win-win for all!



Lillian Nader
Theep and Thorpe: Adventures in Space



Anaheim Central Library

I sold and signed six books and had a blast networking with other indie authors. It was a lovely surprise when another author of novels for young readers, Patti Palermo, purchased my book, Theep and Thorpe: Adventures in Space. The other books were purchased by friends  who found out about the event from my email blast, Facebook posts, or event fliers prepared by the library.

I found it helpful to publicize the event in advance. It was also helpful to have a sign up sheet to add people to my email list, a table sign, candy, bookmarks, and business cards to give to interested parties.

The Square device  was available to accept credit card payments, but everyone paid cash for the books purchased. I also had $100 in tens and fives to make change if necessary.

My beautiful assistant, Leticia Montiel, was extremely helpful in setting up the display on my table and assisting with sales and photo ops.

My author friend, Heather Rivera, shared her tablecloth with me at our table.  Next time, I will bring my own tablecloth.  In addition, I wish I had taken more pictures.

It was kind of the library to provide water and snacks for writers and assistants as well as lovely name tagswith our names and book cover photos. The organizers were approachable and enthusiastic.

The best of all these benefits is the thrill of having my book available for check-out at the library, fulfilling one of my goals as a published indie author.

Shirley George Frazier
Marketing Strategies for the Home-based Business


Wayne Public Library, Wayne, New Jersey.






Adding colorful tote bags with complementary tissue paper acted as a beacon to my exhibit table.

I noticed that other authors brought pens, buttons, and photographs to display and give away on their tables.

Networking was extraordinary between all invited authors, and that activity let us learn which types of marketing were key to each other’s success.

The one thing I could not control was the number of patrons attending the event. Even though I contacted local newspapers numerous times, those publications are not obligated to promote the event, and I doubt they did. Library traffic was very light, and it may also have been hampered by rain. Still, I believe the event was meant to bring the authors (12 of us) together for a “meet and greet” and extended relationship for those of us who reach out each other.


Melissa Guzzetta
Private Lucky


Anaheim Central Library


Alhambra Public Library











I managed to squeeze in two events, and they were a little bit different from each other.

I liked the Alhambra event a bit better, partly because the authors had an opportunity to speak and they treated the authors very respectfully.  More on that later.

What I can do to improve:  My display could use back-end height with pictures.  But, I thought my display looked better than some of the others.

What really works for me…to be able to speak about my book.   Also, one thing a little different I did was to have a PowerPoint presentation running to draw people’s attention.

Comments about the events:

Anaheim:  Didn’t like that the event was in the basement, and there was poor signage pointing out the event that day.

I felt the event was confusing…was it geared only towards authors? Or the public to get to know local authors?  It felt like an event that was geared only towards authors. Anyone from the public who walked in were greeted with the streaming event discussing topics of interest to self-publishers.  I also felt that streaming feed went a little bit too long.

That said, the good news is I sold two books after the streaming feed.  And, the library has the book on their shelf!

Alhambra:  They did not do the streaming event. Instead, they did a live panel of authors. They asked the authors questions, the questions varied depending on which panel it was. I was on a panel titled “The Writing Process”, so a moderator asked the question and all the authors on that panel got a turn to answer.  An example question was along the lines of “Do you know how  your story is going to end from the start?”  At the end, the audience got a chance to ask a few questions.   Each panel lasted about an hour, with a twenty minute break in between so attendees had a chance to go around and talk to authors and look at their book.

They had a separate room off of the main room for authors that had a spread of food – which was nice. And they gave each author a swag bag with some cool stuff.  My table space at Alhambra was bigger as well.   The room where it was held was on the first/main floor of the library, which was nice, but signage was poor here as well.  Alhambra had several volunteers with badges working the event to keep things running smoothly and help reduce confusion.

Despite all these good points, I only sold one book, but had several people take a card saying they were going to look it up online. Alhambra did not take a book to have on the shelf at the library.   I think the turnout was slightly higher compared to Anaheim.


Sheri Fink, The Little Seahorse

Alhambra Public Library

Alhambra Public Library

Here’s my advice for authors:

1. Promote your upcoming appearance on your website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram so your Fans will know where to come see you. Tag the library/venue in your posts so they can share it again.

2. Bring bookmarks that Fans can take home with them including a photo of you, your book cover(s), and where to find you online (including your website, Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram accounts)

3. Always seek to add value by speaking on a panel, answering questions during your signing, taking photos with Fans, etc.

4. Support other authors by getting to know them, connecting with them and supporting them on social media, and buying their books for yourself or as gifts

5. Accept credit cards as well as cash by getting a Square payment device that transforms your phone into a credit card reader (www.SquareUp.com)

6. Make the experience of meeting you special for each Fan. Valuing your readers and having fun is far more important than book sales.

Sheri FinkInspirational Speaker, #1 Best-selling, Award-winning Author, and President of “The Whimsical World of Sheri Fink” Brand (www.SheriFink.com)

Social Media Accounts:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SheriFinkFan

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Sheri_Fink

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/Sheri_Fink

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sherifink

Flora Morris Brown
Color Your Life Happy: Create Your Unique Path and Claim the Joy You Deserve

Anaheim Central Library

I was very excited to participate in the first Indie Author Day with 25 local authors. It was fun to go around and meet as many as I could before the event began and wish them well.

There is no formula to guarantee sales. I was pleased to have sold 8 books by the end of the day, but having participated in many book fairs and events over the years, this doesn’t always happen for a non-celebrity.  There have been other events where I didn’t sell a single book. When attendees have lots of choices, they are very selective about how they spend their money.

Here are some things I think helped boost sales:

  1. Made my table highly visible with balloons and books elevated on a display rack.
  2. Got a good night’s sleep so I was energetic and able to engage with every attendee who came to my table.
  3. Stood in front of the table instead of behind it .
  4. Greeted every one who came close to my table and put a book in their hands as I regaled them with stories from the book.
  5. Invited a friend (Thanks Mayra Cortez) to assist me by taking care of the payments, freeing me to talk to attendees and autograph books.
  6. Accepted credit cards using the PayPal reader.
  7. Gave everyone who came by something. If they strolled by without stopping to learn about my book, they got a buttercream mint. Those who engaged in conversation about my book, got a microwave popcorn packet with a customized wrapper. Those sho bought a book got all of that and a customized gift bag.

Here are tips for my fellow authors:

  1. Show gratitude to the library for hosting the event.
  2. Come prepared to network with and encourage your fellow authors.
  3. Give attendees with your contact information since some people may want to buy ebooks later or to just think before they buy.
  4. Suggest your book as a gift, not just a purchase for the buyer.
  5. Weeks before the event, promote your appearance and the event among your social media fans; put flyers in the places you patronize: coffee shop, restaurant, gym, church, etc.

Here are some things the library did that were great:

1. Graciously agreed to host this inaugural event. They were the only library in Orange County that did.
2. Welcomed us warmly with bags of treats and water to sustain us through the event.
3. Asked for our feedback so they can plan for next year.

What could have gone better?

  1. Hold the event on the street level of the library, making it easier for folks to find it.
  2. Present a program where authors can engage with the audience as panelists or speakers rather than run the live streaming program which seemed directed at indie authors rather than readers.
  3. Allow authors a full hour to set up so there is also time to greet each other before the event begins.
  4. Encourage local vendors in your area to contribute something of value to the swag bag.
  5. Invite local media.
  6. Hire a photographer to chronicle the event.

Did you attend Indie Author Day in your town? Describe your experience in Speak Your Mind.