Thursday, September 17, 2015

Oh, The Places You’ll Go!



“So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.”
Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You'll Go!

TM & copyright © by Dr Seuss Enterprises, L.P. 1960, copyright renewed 1988.

Ninety-eight and three-quarter percent guaranteed? That’s pretty good odds, and this is how I approach author visits. With great anticipation. In the past few weeks I’ve had a string of events, many for CBCA Book Week, 2015.

For Book Week, I went touring in the Western Downs to libraries and schools: always fun. Workshops, author visits and signings were squeezed around work days, and then there was another event in Brisbane. Good travel week, that! Last week I also got to visit a group of students who’ve been reading my YA novel Integrate as part of their English studies. All in all, I’ve been privileged to meet some amazing young people through these opportunities.

But as you’d know, not every event goes swimmingly. One must not overlook that one-and-a-quarter percent exception.

Over the past year there have been signings and events where I’ve sold a reasonable number of books. Other times I’ve sold none. (Not much compensation for hours of travel and overnight accommodation ...) There have been events where the group has been wonderfully interactive and attentive. I have also had the experience where a portion of attendees simply weren’t interested in what I’ve had to say or sell. Frustrating, but thankfully, rare.

This is the roller-coaster of an ‘unknown’ author. And even for better known writers, it seems it can be hard to draw a crowd, which can be disappointing. Does this mean we authors are foolish to persist engaging in this way? It's a lot of hard work and certainly doesn’t pay a great deal.

Just remember the 98 and ¾ component.

For this reason it is all the more meaningful when people actually make the effort to come and, even more so, purchase one (or more) of your novels. And when the audience at a workshop or speaking engagement are leaning in, interactive and enthusiastic, it makes any preparation and travel time worthwhile. It’s also great motivation to ensure our social media efforts are strategic, and this is something we can only grow and develop over time. It's also a great reminder of just how important it is to support each other as writers and 'spread the word' as we each work towards building a solid author platform.

All in all, I believe author visits are a wonderful experience. Not only does it raise the profile of local writers and publishers, even when the event doesn't yield much in the way of sales, but I’ve engaged with some remarkable individuals through such opportunities. Further, I’ve been honoured to invest in the writing journey of future authors, and have been able to introduce my novel to attendees' TBR list.
So ...


“You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So... get on your way!”
Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You'll Go!



Adele Jones lives in Queensland, Australia. She writes young adult and historical novels, poetry and short works. Her first YA novel Integrate was awarded the 2013 CALEB Prize for unpublished manuscript, with the sequel Replicate being released in October 2015. Her writing is inspired by a passion for family, faith, friends, music and science – and her broad ranging imagination. To find out more visit www.adelejonesauthor.com or email contact@adelejonesauthor.com

25 comments:

  1. Those one-off interactions can have consequences for a lifetime - what a great way to plant a seed in someone's life. Our young people need hope.
    With the Great Philosopher on your side, you will change lives, Adele.

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    1. That's very true, Pamela, and a great perspective to have when approaching such opportunities. I think we can all name particular moments where our trajectory in life has been altered by a positive connection or experience. It's a remarkable thing to consider. Appreciate your encouragement.

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  2. Thanks for sharing your experiences Adele and good on you for getting out and about, especially to some of those regional areas where they wouldn't get many author visits. It's easy to get discouraged when there's not a lot of tangible fruit (e.g. book sales), but we can never underestimate the ripple effect. If even one or two students are motivated to start writing or take their writing more seriously, it can have a big impact down the track. But you're also right about the importance of supporting each other and being strategic. It can take a while to go from 'unknown' author to 'popular author with fan base', but each step along the way helps. Thanks for sharing. And see you at the next book launch :)

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    1. I like that idea, Nola - the ripple effect. :) And I think it was Jo-Anne Berthelsen who recently blogged about a 'years later' type of follow on with one of her books. Those long term outcomes are difficult to measure, but something to be mindful of. And as you say, making ourselves, as authors, available for such opportunities is a good place to start.

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  3. Thanks for the great post Adele. Wow, what a whirlwind tour. Who knows what the long-term results will be but you can be sure you have touched people's lives with your fiction, encouragement and vision. As Nola puts it - 'the ripple effect'. I, for one, are looking forward to reading your next book :)

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    1. It was quite heady, Jeanette. Took me a couple of weeks to bounce back, actually. But definitely a worthwhile endeavour. It was also great learning, too. There were things I hadn't considered in advance of the tour that I will definitely note for the future, and by running similar workshops with different groups, I got to see what worked best and what I might change if I do those sessions again. Thanks for your support regarding Replicate. I hope you enjoy it. :)

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  4. Yes, it's definitely a life of ups and downs! :-)

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    1. It sure can be a bit of everything, Lynne. I was reminded during the CBCA visits how different each group of students can be. It's been a couple of years now since I've done a lot of student engagement with that particular age group and you certainly get a wide range of personalities and responses. Yes, there were some challenging moments, but overall I was really impressed with the students who attended. In fact, in one session the challenge was an abundance of volunteers all keen to be involved, which is a great 'problem' to have! :)

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  5. Thanks Adele. I enjoyed your post. I still miss the Olden Days when the publishers did it all! but I do enjoy interacting. Am thinking I need to re-evaluate all this after I have moved house etc and have a few spare brain cells.

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    1. The Olden Days? Isn't that back when everything was black and white? ;-) (I've heard some younger children say that. :) ) Sounds like you have a lot to think about right now, Jeanette, and it does take a bit of planning and mental organisation. Once you've given those brain cells a rest and get a plan together, I look forward to hearing about your adventures.

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  6. Good work. So inspiring to hear of young people's interest. That is not an easy task today, but sounds as if you've go the 'know-how,' Adele.

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    1. Thanks, Rita, but I was fortunate (blessed :) ) to have some great groups for the most part. There's nothing better than having enthusiastic attendees. The challenge comes when not everyone wants to be in that moment. And it happens at times. Largely I've found most students are keen to learn and engage in such circumstances, which is great to see. The downside to all this gadding about is I've not been able to get a good reading stint in on your novel. And I'm itching to discover what happens next! Page-by-page, if necessary, I will get to the end. Soon! :)

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  7. You are courageous and tenacious Adele. Gave 'Replicate' a plug yesterday to Greg Otto who was very interested. Thanks for this post Adele, very useful info.

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    1. Thanks, Rachel. Appreciate you spreading the 'release pending' news. Pleased you found the post valuable. And great work on your own blogging, too! :)

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  8. It is wonderful to see you reaching people that, just a year ago were strangers. And you will reach many more strangers in the future, in person and through your books, creating new friends and allies. Loved your post, Adele. It encourages me to persevere.

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    1. What a lovely way to describe such encounters, Mazzy. :) I'll take that thought with me as I venture out again. Thanks for your positive feedback on the post and so pleased you've been encouraged to persevere. It can be challenging, but don't ever give up - there are stories waiting for you to pen them to completion! :)

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  9. Well done Adele. Sounds like a busy year. I've always been a believer that every individual matters. So every interaction you've had, every book you've got out there matters. Loved your Dr Seuss quotes. Priceless. And yep! 98 3/4 percent it is. Keep going Adele. One day I will be saying that I knew the famous Adele when she was just starting out and will blush with immense pride. :)

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    1. You're so encouraging, Anusha. Thank you. It has been a very busy year, but I agree, each individual matters. That makes the effort worthwhile. And I couldn't go past those quotes. (They're great, right?) Love Dr Seuss. :)

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  10. Good on you, Adele, for undertaking that recent busy tour of yours. I think as authors we have to try everything and see what does and doesn't work for us. I have had so many interesting adventures doing all sorts of things to promote my books since 2007--I often threaten to write a book about it all, but it might get me into BIG trouble!

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    1. Now that's a book I'd read, Jo :)

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    2. Me, too! I'll keep an eye out for that 'tell all' book in your up and coming releases, Jo. ;-) Seriously, I'd love to hear some of your stories. I'm sure there would be much learning for me and a giggle or three along the way. I'm sure you wouldn't cause trouble - not you, Jo. :) Appreciate your comments.

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  11. It's a roller coaster ride for sure. Good on you for your energy and enthusiasm.

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    1. Thanks, Paula. I think some good coffee also helped. ;-) Actually, it's really encouraging when you find yourself surrounded by positive and supportive hosts. This is what I encountered throughout my visits. And when the local staff are engaged, it transfers through to what you do as a visiting presenter. I'm sure you, like Jo, would have some great author visit stories to tell. :)

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  12. Well done for getting out there and being seen! "Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen." Brené Brown

    Being seen is the part of being an author a lot of us find difficult. It's time, money and effort as you've described in your blog, but also the uncertainty of how you will be received. You are sowing seeds and will reap rewards. Again, well done!

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    1. Thanks, Elaine. (Love Brene's work! :) )That's so true - the investment is not just financial, but energy and time, too. I guess my willingness to 'put myself out there' is something I gained from my former (quite diverse) role at a tertiary education institute. My colleagues and I often had to jump in to fill a gap or step up for an event, even when it felt a little beyond our depth. It's always much easier to stay where it's comfortable, especially when putting yourself in a vulnerable position in front of strangers, but in hindsight I value the experiences I gained through those opportunities. I think there are always new challenges, though, no matter how prepared you think you are, and I was reminded of this at times in my touring. Overall it's been a great experience.

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