The editors at Chicken Soup for the Soul have informed me that they have just started a series of inspirational podcasts to promote their books. Chicken Soup for the Soul’s publisher, Amy Newmark, will discuss a different Chicken Soup for the Soul book each day and highlight one story that appears in that book.
My essay, “Short Distance Romance,” which was published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dating Game has been chosen to play a role. My story is on the website now under “Wow Wednesday,” and will continue to be available on the Podbean app—which is available for free from the app store—once it airs. It was neat hearing Ms. Newmark talk about me and my story. The podcasts are six or seven minutes long and provide entertaining stories as well as great advice and easy-to-implement tips for improving your life.
For writers, podcasting is fast becoming another medium for storytelling and bringing attention to published works. It can drive traffic to your website. There is tremendous power in being in a listener’s ear as well as before their eyes with the written word. It is also a way to introduce your writing to people who aren’t avid readers. They can listen to you while they’re driving, exercising, doing housework. They can listen to you while they’re multitasking.
We’ve all heard that creating videos is important for writers to grow their online presence—book trailers and author interviews are examples. For writers who don’t feel comfortable on camera, podcasting can be the right avenue. I understand that podcasting equipment is affordable and simple to use. The newer line of USB microphones and software are inexpensive.
Podcasting does require content production and a commitment of time in order to be successful. For writers, it could be worth pursuing.
I spent Sunday afternoon with the ladies of the Greater Boston Section of NCNW. They held their annual membership tea at The Jonathan Belcher House in Randolph, Massachusetts, a lovely building on the National Register of Historic Places, which is available to the public for meetings, wedding receptions, birthday parties and other occasions. The ladies showcased my good friend Bithyah Israel, the founder of City Strings United, an organization that enriches the lives of young people through cello lessons. She sang a solo, “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” They also had me read my story, “Short Distance Romance” from Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dating Game. Greater Boston Section of NCNW is a voluntary nonprofit membership organization helping to improve the quality of life for women, their families and communities. One of the board members paid me a beautiful compliment after my reading. She said the reading was special because it was the first time she’d been read to since she was a child.
I was looking forward to reading my monthly e-newsletter from Bestsellers Café, the bookstore/coffee shop in Medford, Massachusetts. I always like to see what books they recommend and the listing of upcoming author and live music events. However, I was saddened to see that the latest email was a good-bye letter. Bestsellers Café will be closing down at the end of January because of “unfavorable terms of a lease agreement.” I am so sorry to hear this. Bestsellers Café showcases the work of rising authors and has a section devoted to books published by local authors and independent presses. A couple of months ago they invited me in to speak about the essay I got published in the Chicken Soup for the Soul anthology. The manager gave me a lovely introduction before I gave my talk. Only a handful of copies of the book were sold, but I was invited to come back the next time I have something published.
Writers who are trying to get established depend on this country’s privately owned and independent bookstores like Bestsellers Café for support. You’d have to be a highly successful commercial author before Barnes and Noble would consider hosting an event for you. There’s nothing to be done about the closing of Bestsellers Café, but let it be a reminder to all of us of the importance of supporting locally owned bookstores. Because if we don’t, they will cease to exist.
Visiting Chino Hills, California this week for my goddaughter, Heather’s high school graduation, we decided to stop in Barnes and Noble in one of the malls. I’m happy to report that Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dating Game was on the shelf. Heather took a peek inside at my story, “Short Distance Romance.” She was tickled to see godmommy’s name in print.
Next Saturday, May 3rd, I’ll be signing books from 1 to 3 p.m. at Frugal Bookstore, in the Roxbury section of Boston at 306 Martin Luther King Boulevard. The bookstore is located in The Mall of Roxbury. I spoke to co-owner Clarrissa a couple of days ago to confirm all of the arrangements. I’ll be at a tabe in front of the bookstore with my pen ready to sign copies of Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dating Game. She said the mall tends to be heavily trafficked in the early afternoon hours, so I should expect to sign quite a few books. As it turns out, another author will be signing in front of the store at the same time. I understand she’s flying in from Maryland, so between the two of us we should be able to draw a lot of customers. If you’re in the Boston area, I look forward to seeing you there!
The mission of Frugal Bookstore in the Roxbury section of Boston, Massachusetts, is “Changing Minds One Book at a Time.” I like that objective. Books have opened my mind to so many ideas and possibilities over the years. That’s why I was pleased when the owners agreed to schedule a book signing for me on Saturday, May 3, 2014. I’ll be signing copies of Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dating Game.
Owners Clarrissa and Leonard are dedicated to not only building a business, but building a community. Frugal Bookstore offers Boston’s largest selection of books by African American authors, along with African art, children’s books, greeting cards, and gifts. The bookstore is located in a shopping mall. Clarrissa and Leonard plan to set up a table for me in front of the bookstore so that not only people in the bookstore but mall shoppers will know that I’m there.
My place of employment hosts a program called “Coffee Time.” Employees get to address their co-workers in a public forum over coffee about a hobby or work-related topic.
On a recent afternoon, I chose to be a “Coffee Time” presenter and spoke about my adventures in writing.
I displayed copies of literary journals that have published my short stories and essays. I shared with them what inspired me to write my stories and handed out copies of my work so people could see the finished product.
Also, in a drawing I gave away a copy of Chicken Soup for The Soul: The Dating Game, in which one of my stories–“Short Distance Romance”– was published.
“Coffee Time” offered a great opportunity to let more people know about my writing and get more practice for future book events.
I’ve been a member of Boston Women Communicators for several years. The organization supports women in communications and helps them advance in their careers. Jane Breschard Wilson, the founder, agreed to let me conduct a book signing at a recent monthly meeting held at the College Club of Boston. On the table set aside for me I arranged copies of Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dating Game, in which I have an essay, a copy of an article about me that was published recently in the Weymouth News that I had laminated and mounted with a small easel at Fedex Office, pens that I pre-tested to make sure they worked properly and copies of my business card with my blog address.
I only sold two copies of the book but I had a delightful time chatting with the members and getting good practice for future events. I got a good sense of what people like to talk about when they come to an author book signing. A number of people took business cards which I know led to more traffic on my blog based on my stats in the days following the meeting. I came up with a stock phrase to use when I signed the books so I could write and chat at the same time. So while not getting my essay into the hands of many readers, it was worth the time and effort.