Continuing from where we left off in yesterday’s blog, we checked into the Best Western in Apache Junction and spent five days visiting with Terry’s parents and sisters and touching base with some book publishing contacts.
One of them was Scarlett Braden, the author of the popular Providence in Ecuador series. I first met Scarlett online through a mutual friend and fellow author, Donna McNicol, who writes the excellent Klondike mystery series, as well as the C’Mon Inn mystery trilogy. They first got together when they were living as ex-pats in Ecuador. Scarlett and her husband Ron also operate SAS Author Services, providing things like editing, book formatting, and websites for authors.
Something I learned very early in my business career a lifetime ago is that you should focus on the things you are good at and let somebody else do the things that they can do better, freeing you up to do your thing. That is why Scarlett formats my books for me and does an excellent job with them. We discussed several projects we have in the works, including revamping my author’s website, http://www.nickrussellbooks.com/
I also spent some time visiting some bookstores in the Phoenix area, leaving samples and hoping to convince them to stock some of my titles. That didn’t work out as well as I had hoped, because if you’re an independent author like myself and don’t have a traditional publishing house behind you, a lot of bookstores don’t want to talk to you. Even independent bookstores who are proud they are not shackled to some big corporation. I guess they don’t see the irony in that.
We also managed to fit in visits to a few antique shops, where I picked up some nice badges for my collection. When I do seminars on self-publishing, I always tell prospective authors that writing the book is the easy part of our job, the real work begins when the book is finished and you have to promote it. I am always marketing, and one of the things I do is pass out a lot of my business cards. At one antique shop, I gave the owner one of my cards, and he asked where he could purchase the first Big Lake book. Striking while the iron was hot, I went out to the van and got a copy for him and happily took his money. A few days later I got an email from him saying that he was hooked on the series and had already ordered the next three books. Marketing. That’s what it’s all about.
Something else I am a big believer in is doing the research necessary to get the facts right in a story. So I spent some time talking to a friend who is a police officer up in the White Mountains, the setting for my Big Lake books. I picked his brain about things like interagency mutual support agreements, threw some hypothetical situations at him to ask how the police would respond to them, and learned quite a bit that I plan to incorporate in future books.
The last day of our stay in Apache Junction. my daughter Tiffany and her family drove down from our old hometown of Show Low to visit us. It was great to see everybody and have a chance to love on the grandkids. In this picture we have Brittany, Destiny, and Travis in the first row, and in the back row is Tiffany’s husband Kenny, Tiffany, me, Hailey, and Miss Terry. Kenny is somewhere around 11 feet tall, so he had to bend over to fit in the picture without getting his head cut off.
We got together with them again on Saturday morning for breakfast before we left town. I made the mistake of ordering the stuffed French toast from IHOP, something I won’t do again. I only managed to eat about half of it, but I think I blew at least six weeks of dieting in the process.
In tomorrow’s blog I will tell you about our return trip to Florida. It wasn’t quite as hectic as our rushed drive to Arizona, and we got to see some special people along the way.
Thought For The Day – Boobs are to men what laser pointers are to cats.