Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Big E Book Sales!!

I recently had the honor and opportunity to spend three wonderful days in Springfield Massachusetts at the Big E the weekend of 9/19-9/21/08 and all I can say is what an absolute, totally WHIRLWIND weekend it was!! I'm still flying from it and am sure I will be for a while. I talked to so many people (readers, parents, teachers, etc), sold SO many books (although I did come home with some of each, which is a good thing because I've got some events coming up in the next few weeks that I'll need books for ... but the whole Big E event was just a wonderful experience!

My son was there with me part of that weekend, helping to move books etc as I needed to (THANK YOU, MIC!!!), and as we were heading out to the car at the end of my third day there, I looked at him and said, "I feel like I'm leaving my kids behind". He looked at me kind of funny and I explained that after selling as many books as I did, talking to teachers and librarians and parents about promoting reading, visiting schools, etc etc etc, and spending nearly 12 hours every day for THREE days straight just trying to make a difference..... I felt like I was leaving something really important behind (and if you think about it, I really was). Honestly I feel like my total experience at the Big E was one of THE most rewarding and accomplished things I've done since I started writing!!! And what's even cooler than that is even after three 12-hour days of go go go, talk talk talk, sell sell sell, I didn't want to leave. I wanted to go right back in there and just keep doing it!!! It's exhausting and very overwhelming at times, but damn, I just didn't want to leave!!!!

Debbie and Mike Kilday were two of our staple contributors & organizers of this year's event, and I want to just send a MUCH deserved shout-out to them both!!!! Debbie has been there every day since the beginning of the Big E and WILL be there every day until it's done, and her husband Mike has been there almost every day. After dealing with arranging books, logging the sales, etc during the day, they then go home and tally up all the sales from the day. Debbie is our full time cashier, which was ABSOLUTELY AWESOME!!!! I told her (and Mike) over and over again that the booth is BEAUTIFUL this year and having HER for the full-time cashier really makes it easier for the featured authors to talk to the public, make the sale, and move on to the next reader without having to worry about dealing with the $$.

At the halfway point for the Big E (around day 8), the book sales in our booth had surpassed how much we made last year total!!! Our readers ROCK!!!! I worked with Doreen Tango Hampton and Elaine Alexander on Saturday and we stayed very busy nearly all day. I worked again with Doreen on Sunday and we had an absolutely WONDERFUL time working together sharing many laughs, ideas, and just having a great time together.... thank you ladies!!!

We had a near record-breaking number of people who came to the Big E on Saturday, 9/20 - the weather was beautiful, the sun was shining, it wasn't too hot .. it was just a GREAT day!!!

As it turns out, I had a record-breaking weekend for my OWN sales as well! According to what I was able to keep track of (and I'm sure it was actually more but I'm not sure how much), I believe I sold 250 books between this weekend and the sales from books last week that were in the booth before I got there!!!


I had new readers who bought the set of three books in my series as well as readers who were looking just for book three, Dragon's Tear. I had anywhere from 8-year olds to retired grandparents buying books ... and all I can say is thank you to my readers, the parents, teachers, librarians, etc that I talked to this weekend!!! You guys ALL made my weekend one of the most memorable experiences of my life!!!

As I look back, all I can think of is what an experience it was!! I'm still flying after talking to a woman who said that the books are very hot in her school right now - (she was actually very surprised when she realized I was the author lol.) I asked her where her school was and she said ALBANY, NEW YORK!!!! I told her that I've never been there and she said, "Well, your books are there and the kids LOVE them.".....

WoooooooooooooooooooooHooooooooooooooooooo!!!! And to quote my good friend C.L. Freire.....


A funny thing from this weekend .. I spoke to a woman and her husband yesterday who said their daughter was really disappointed that she couldn't be there to meet me, but she wanted to buy my books for her. I asked her how her daughter knew me or heard of me and she said she works at BORDERS IN SIMSBURY, CT (which I've been to about 4-5 times doing book signings LOL) and she's been wanting to meet me but always has to work or something else gets in the way ... so they bought her a set and I signed them for her ...


At 6 pm on 9/21 it was the end of mine and Doreen's shifts and two new authors came in to be the featured authors. I decided to sign more books to leave since they'd been such a hit, and I was standing in the back of the booth. As I looked around every so often, I would notice someone looking at my books on the shelf and of course the marketing/selling side of me MADE me go talk to them (LOL) to let them know I was the author and which was book 1, book 2, etc. I was thrilled when I actually sold a copy of book 1 (Dragon's Blood) to one lady when she saw her 10-year old wanted it and then she said she would get the other two from me but had to wait for him to wander off to the lego place before she could. I told her if she didn't get the chance, here is my business card with my info on it and she can always call/email me and I'd be happy to sign them and mail them directly to her. Now that I think about it, I did that a LOT while I was up there ... :)

If you look in my pictures here on MySpace (, I created a Big E 2008 photo album where I've put some pictures from yesterday when it finally slowed down for five minutes. My books were on the top of the brown bookshelf as soon as you walk into the booth. Indiana Jones was COMPLETELY made out of legos .. and I just had to get a picture of him. He was really amazing!!! I can't imagine how much time and legos it took to make him!!!! Kudos go out to the lego builders, too!!!

Well, the weekend is gone and today I have to go back to work. I just wanted to share my Big E experiences with you and tell you that if you're an author out there struggling to get your books out there, you CAN make a difference and it CAN be done!!!! Do everything you can to get your name out there!! If you'd like info about our CAPA group, visit the CAPA website at or email me at and I'll be happy to share anything I know. My next blog will have some info in it about what I do to get my books "out there"... so stay tuned for that!!
I actually got to go back to the Big E one more day .. 9/27/08 .. and managed to sell another 93+ books!!! So that brings my total to close to 400 books sold over a 17 day period (I was only there 4 of those days) and I believe I'm going to end up being THE TOP SELLER for the duration of the Big E!! If I didn't make the top seller, I will be very surprised ... and am sure I made the top three. What a wonderful feeling it is, to finally see the books that I've put my heart, soul and years of my life into finally getting "out there"!!! Mega thank you's go to those of you who took the time to stop and talk to me, and of course to those of you who actually bought one or more of the books!!! THANK YOU!!!

Also, infinite kudos to Debbie & Mike Kilday, the ENTIRE Capa BIG E Committee, and all those wonderful Connecticut Authors who are participating in the EXCELLENT and HUGELY SUCCESSFUL event this year!!!

Today is the first day of fall, so get out there and enjoy the cooler weather, make sure you ALWAYS have a book with you, and as always,

Hugs from me to all of you,

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Support CT Authors at the Big E!!!

Hi everyone!

I've been incredibly busy the past few months and decided now was the time to update you on a few things happening in my life...

First of all, if you are anywhere near the BIG E in New England make sure you stop by the CT Building and check out the CAPA (Connecticut Authors and Publishers) Bookstore! This year there are over 100 titles in the bookstore from various genres, written exclusively by Connecticut authors! For more information about CAPA, visit The Big E runs for 17 days and this year the dates are Sept 12th - Sept 28th, so the clock's-a-tickin'!! If you'd like more information, check out their website at

If you love to read or know someone who does, an autographed book signed by the author makes a GREAT gift! You can't tell me that a book lover wouldn't just be thrilled to get a book signed by the author! In some cases, someone who DOESN'T like to read becomes a reader because they were given an autographed copy!

I will be one of the featured authors this coming weekend with all three of my books, so please, if you're anywhere in the area, come out and support not just myself but the many wonderful and talented Connecticut authors!

Here's my schedule for this weekend:

Friday 9/19 - 10am-9pm
Saturday 9/20 - 10am-9pm
Sunday 9/21 - 10am-6pm

You can't miss the booth - as you go into the CT building from the front, it's on the right hand side!

In other news, I'm not working on book 4 yet (*cringe* .. I know .. I'm hearing complaints all the time coming from the various peanut galleries in my life lol), but I will start to work on it soon, I promise. Over the past few months, my oldest son joined the Navy last year so he's out of the nest, but my two younger children who still live with me went to Italy this summer to visit their father (this was a major event for me as they've never flown anywhere without me, not to mention INTERNATIONALLY!!). I've recently changed jobs and went from working Mon-Fri from 8a-4p to working Sun-Thurs from 12p-9p, so I'm adjusting to a new job AND a new shift.

As a side note, I must say that I really like working swing shift because I am NOT a morning person .. I love sleeping in late and getting home at night when the world is much quieter, the house is much quieter (it won't be long before I start writing during those quiet hours).

Another development over the summer (just a few weeks ago, as a matter of fact) is that my good friend Angelina, whom I've known for almost 20 years, got married! This was a milestone for her and I couldn't be happier for her, her three girls, and her new husband Chris. She asked me to be her Matron of Honor, which I was (visit, go to pics, then view the album "Close to My Heart"), and for that honor, Angie, I will be forever grateful!!

As an author, one constant in my life among all these events is I'm constantly trying to find ways to market my books. As a result, I've been doing book signings at various Borders stores as well as participating in different events around the state (Fish Tales, Tugs & Sails; I Am Festival; Celts & Currachs to name a few). My life is very full and I feel like I'm always on the go, but I wouldn't change a thing ... well, maybe I would take more vacations where I would guiltlessly enjoy some much-needed down time, but I'm a working single mother and my kids are healthy... we have a roof over our heads and food in the house, so I won't push it...

When I start writing book four I'll update you again on how things are going... I'm sure I will start working on it in the next few months. I'm getting that writing itch!!

Household chores await me, so I'm gonna get moving. If you're anywhere near the Big E this weekend, please stop by the CAPA Bookstore and say hi! Hope to see you all there and as always,


Hugs, MJ