It’s been nearly a year since Penguin Random House published The Mango Bride, but I refuse to let my book wither on the vine. After hitting writer’s block on the second novel, I decided to work with what I had — you know what they say about a bird in hand versus two in the bush. Folks had told me I had a pretty good novel: the trick was getting more folks to read it. The only problem was that I’d already asked friends all over the country to set up book parties and I had no idea what more could be done. It was pure serendipity that a pack of industry professionals arrived right around that time to help out.
Back in January, book lover and seasoned event planner Susan E. McBeth decided to pour decades of professional knowhow into classes for her newly formed So Cal Author’s Academy http://www.adventuresbythebook.com/author-academy/socal-author-academy-presentations-part/#. She kicked off the program with a free informational session at the Downtown Library. Thank goodness I decided to get out there that Wednesday night.
KPBS’s Kathi Diamant, author of Kafka’s Last Love: The Mystery of Dora Diamant and moving force behind the Kafka Project http://www.kathidiamant.com was among the instructors speaking on the panel that evening. Of the many things I wanted to know, only one question mattered: My book’s been out for nearly a year and it’s no longer news. How long can I keep beating a dead horse?
I’ve been beating my dead horse for over ten years! Kathi declared.
A week later I signed up for the classes.
The two sessions I’ve attended at The SoCal Authors Academy have been packed with advice on everything from planning book events, to improving one’s presentation skills, and fielding interview questions – even hostile ones. Having survived a year-long DIY largely self-funded book tour I thought I’d heard it all and done it all. This experience just proves that it’s never too late to learn a new trick…or ten.
Serendipity played another card: Kathi’s presentation skills class happened to be scheduled the day before my latest book event. This enabled me to employ pretty much everything Kathi and Susan had taught us the day before: talk about instant gratification! I strode into the Rancho Bernardo library excited but serene, a fresh graduate of Susan McBeth’s Finishing School for Authors. Throughout the event, Kathi’s exhortations thrummed somewhere in the backstage of my brain. I smiled.
I made eye contact.
…But dammit I forgot to bring a camera!
And that’s when Serendipity dealt her third and final card. Susan attended the event and composed a little video of it on Animoto.com. You can view it by clicking on the link below.