Saturday, May 26, 2012

Embracing Your Inner Douche

At the Writers' Union AGM for a talk on Promoting You Book-Tricks of the Trade,  here's Dorris Heffron and Richard Scrimger reading his bio together, she forgot her glasses.  The pearl of wisdom he shared?  Embrace your inner douche, be that guy you hate who says "Hey, buy my book."

Margriet Ruurs suggested that we think of all the markets for our books, non-traditional ones too, for example she sent her chicken picture book to the egg marketing board and encouraged them to host contests and give her books away.

Zoe Grams, publicist from Douglas McIntyre, shared some basic premises of a marketing platform. "Find the benefit for others."  What specific value does your book offer?

The workshop was entertaining as well as informative.  Hey writers, you all should have come to Vancouver this weekend!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

crush.candy.corpse Draw Courtroom Scene Contest

Okay, this image answers the question do you illustrate your own books.

But photographs are not allowed in a trial so newspapers often use sketches.  Who would do the sketch for me? Photocopying one from a paper would violate copyright and besides there is no sketch that would give my details. I illustrated this one myself.

Now I'm asking my talented readers.  Submit a drawing of this scene (I recommend you read the first chapter to cue you, scroll down to an older post and you can read it here) and send me it postmarked no later that June 10th.  Address:  Sylvia  McNicoll 2646 Cavendish Drive, Burlington, Ontario, L7P 3V7.

You could win an autographed crush.candy.corpse if I use your drawing to replace my own in my presentation.  Make sure you give me your address so I can send your prize to you.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dream Readings at North Vancouver Library

All hail to Canada Council for funding these terrific opportunities for me to meet young readers at Lynn Valley Mail Library  and Parkgate Branch
Perhaps there was one dark and scary moment when I reached into my bag and found the connector to my old laptop instead of the one for my MacBook Air.  One moment when I thought oh great, no powerpoint to guide me through my talk.  Am I ever going to have to wing this presentation.  But then I took a breath and rummaged some more.  Of course I had packed the new connector too.
Explaining the concept of your brain as a toaster, what you put in will come out in your writing.  Note the spare brain in my hand.
Everything else about the  readings went perfectly.One of my new favourite librarians Alison Campbell gave me a fabulous intro and Ross Road ( I kept hearing students say Across the Road)  grade 6 and 7 students were so attentive and enthusiastic, the visit felt like a text book author visit, that shining example you hope for each time you step into a library, gym or auditorium.  I handing out parting gifts to the kids who volunteered, autographed postcards of the cover of crush. candy.corpse., suggesting they could sell them on Ebay.  During Q & A period, one enterprising young writer asked how much I thought they would go for.  I answered that if he could hold out till I won the Governor General Award or died, he could probably get more for it. He seemed to consider this answer seriously.  Another question had to do with my crow/legal clerk, eagle/judge and raven/lawyer simile in the courtroom scene opening. I had previously said that a brain was like a toaster.  See the image above.  The young writer asked me if I had drawn my similes from Edgar Allen Poe and told me he had compared lawyers to ravens and judges to eagles.  Wow.  I haven't read Poe since I was 19, maybe it had finally popped out of my brain like over toasted bread.

Using your passions in writing or perhaps the agony of the Q & A
Next we enjoyed a delicious lunch at The Bistro.  "We" included Norma Charles, author of many fine books most recently Run Marco Run, had driven me to the readings, taken these great photos.
New fans, I hope.  Note at least two male writers in the photo.
Afterwards we headed for Capilano Public Library with another 60 or so attendants.

Creating similes and metaphors using feathers, or just tickling yourself.
Again extremely attentive students, wildly enthusiastic volunteers--no one asked for quotes on Ebay prices for my autograph.  Who were some of the famous people I'd met? With seconds left, the final question was:  Who was my favourite author?  And the answer was...
Conducting my paint chip and feather simile orchestra.

New fans, great writing questions.

Norma Charles!  Thanks again to Canada Council.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Chapters Pointe Claire Signing

Thirty to forty books, that's what Deb Aubin says authors who do any kind of promotion usually sell at her high travel Pointe Claire Chapters.  In Ontario 20, I'm told, is a good figure. The gauntlet is laid.  
The glove thrown down.
I become obnoxious on Facebook and Twitter.  I post on my high school page. On CANSCAIP's group page.  On Montreal OuiCANSCAIP.  I send my old friends in Montreal emails. I make Mars Bars Squares.  At the very least you can eat your lonely sorrows away if it turns out no one shows.
No worries.

Monique Polak breezed in like paparazzi, snapping photos and interviewing everyone, creating a nice buzz.  As usual, I met great kids and other readers. A high school teacher who will share with colleagues from another three high schools. One of my best friends from high school, Rose Alyanakan came with her mom and daughter.  (It was Mother's Day)  I hadn't seen her since I was 16. I felt lonely for my own mother for a few moments. Other high school friends came.  Best friends from my previous corporate job visited.  A business writer stopped to chat about creating with words and intrigued bought a book herself.    The winning blockbuster figure? Twenty-nine.

Oh!  So close!  Happily every author knows that numbers don't tell the real story.  It was a complete success.

Montreal Trip-Kahnawake Survival School

When I heard about my high school reunion in Montreal, like most broke authors with a new book, the question that occurred to me was how can I make this trip tax deductible.  I'd always wanted to do a signing in the Pointe Claire Chapters so I called Deb Aubin at that branch and she was amazing.  Within a couple of days the event was up on the Chapters Blog set for Mother's Day.  Then I began cold calling schools.    Oh so many librarians and teachers seemed so excited for a couple of emails.  And then they realized their funding was gone, there were track meets and exams and they were too busy. etc.etc.   The calls still achieved contact and I hope the teachers will buy copies of crush.candy.corpse for their libraries. And perhaps next year with fun fair money in hand, they will also think of hosting a visit.  One of my favourite schools committed immediately.  I love the name of it .  Here it is:
I survived Survival School.

This is a Mohawk High School.  And as you can see below the building is beautiful, new, bright and airy.Some of the students have attended a Mohawk Immersion program which means their English writing skills might not be at a regular level, whatever regular means.

The large windows allow plenty of light in.
I loved visiting with these kids.  But I will be honest.  They challenge me and keep me humble.  One young man questioned my intent when I asked them to create a "tent" with a recycled manuscript paper
and print their names on in large letters.  "Why don't you just ask us for our names?"

Gee I thought I was doing just that.  But I think the student wanted to just orally story tell even beginning with his name.

If they write out them out visibly for me, I have half a chance of pronouncing and/or remembering them.  Plus as I schemed, they were flipping the paper and reading drafts of my work.  I told him flat out I couldn't remember names.  He stared at me, emotionless, or did he think I was lame?  With names at author visits I tend to be.

I handed out feathers as a simile/metaphor creating exercise.  Students seemed to like letting them drift down not so much describing the colour and texture. Or thinking of any of the symbolism behind feathers.

I paired them off to create scripts.  They weren't keen to act them out.  Shy or did they need more
Hopefully the kids learned at least one thing.coaxing?

Sometimes you do your best and then just walk away, pondering.  Next visit for sure I'll come up with something that will magically turn them into writers.