Monday, June 20, 2016

Have an Unpublished Novel Waiting to be Discovered?

The Effective Author: Getting the Support You Need

As an author, you often spend time in solitude, with your laptop or other tools. Most authors are introverts and prefer being in solitude. That makes sense; you’re alone, and you need that time away from other people, so you can concentrate. But even if you’re an introvert, don’t you some-times feel like you’re floating Out There, disconnected?

Perhaps you even feel lonely. Many authors feel intellectually lonely. They’re missing trusted souls with whom to toss around ideas, not just for plots, characters, themes and points, but for book promotion ideas and tips on the latest in social media.

So how would you find such people? How do you develop connections? Especially if you just hate socializing? Here are five ways, ranked from least challenging to most challenging, for an introvert.

1. Go to signings, talks or classes and just observe from the back. Start by reading this newsletter. Really read it, looking for announcements of events the members of this Association offer, and events the organization itself offers (See #2). There is an incredible array of knowledge and talent in this organization. Pick a short event to start, like a signing or a morning talk at a library. You don’t have to chat with anyone. Just get some new ideas, listen to the questions and answers. Start thinking of questions you would like to ask: authors’ writing schedules, traditional publishers versus independent publishing, illustrating, niche areas for writers, copyrights and trademarks, development of characters, use of colorful language, setting scenes. The possibilities are endless. Make a lot of notes on areas in which you would like to connect with more information and/or some support.
Book signing at the Glendale Chocolate Affaire (Romance)

2. Visit a writers’ club. The Arizona Authors’ Association has different kinds of gatherings from time to time, including table sharing at some book festivals. Other writers’ groups may have speakers at dinner meetings. At any of these events, you can enrich your knowledge of writing, publishing, and marketing. And you can smile at the people on either side of you, if you like. When you feel comfortable, start asking your questions. Authors are generally kind and helpful. You may be surprised at the ease you begin to feel.

3. Find a Meetup. Go to and search for writers’ groups and book clubs. Take as long as you like to look over the programs they’ve been having and the location, level and nature of each group. Some are more like classes and some are open-format. You might like to start with a book club, simply to meet nice people who like books. Look around for groups in your area. Sleep on it. Then pick something and try it out. You may find kindred souls and friends for a lifetime, through reading the same book or sharing ideas. Smile when you feel good. Smiles connect people.

4. Make friends at book festivals. Book festivals require no commitment on your part, as an attendee. It’s fun to wander through, listening to each writer’s stories and their passions about their books. If you’re already published, be brave and sign up to sell or share a sales table. Ask your table mate or a nearby author to take quick photos of you and your display. Study their display, ask about it, and offer to take photos for them. Find out what got them started in writing and in writing their present book or series. You may find you’ve not only met a delightful new friend, but you’ve also found another form of writing you would like to explore. If the book festival has speakers, take in as many of those as you can. The people sitting near you will have interests similar to yours, and trading comments may lead to laughs, coffee, and possible future connections. You will enjoy seeing them again at other book events. Find out what events or classes they enjoy. Which would you also enjoy?
Tucson Festival of Books (annual event in March)

5. Join or start a critique group. Whatever your niche, it’s very mind-opening to have a critique group made up of writers with projects totally unlike yours. The very fact that these people cannot be your competitors may make you more comfortable with them and their observations. Give the group at least 6 months. Remember, it isn’t simply the critiquing you’re there for. It’s the mixing and mutual support. It’s the stimulation and learning. By now, you may be finding you’re offering advice and even mentoring others.

Feel your smile dancing across your face as you enjoy the ride of authorship more and more. And notice your productivity rising as you realize you now are getting the stimulation, connection, and support you need. To connect, try some events. See how fun and varied the world of writing is. Realize how interesting and often witty the other authors can be.

Kebba Buckley Button is a stress management expert. She also has a natural healing practice and is an ordained minister. She is the author of the award-winning book, Discover The Secret Energized You plus the 2013 book, Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core, Second Edition. Her newest book is Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine. Both that book and Peace Within are available through her office. Email

Monday, June 13, 2016

Phoenix Comicon 2016 - by Vijaya Schartz

If you like Sci-fi, you are probably a geek, and you are not alone. On June 2-5, over 90,000 people braved the 115-degree heat to attend the 2016 Phoenix Comicon, and discover their inner geek. And it was worth it. The city had to close some roads for the block parties, and the heavy construction on 7th Street made traffic a nightmare, but that did not stop the fans.

I attended as an exhibitor, signing my novels at a small table with my author friend in geekdom, Linda Andrews. This was our third Phoenix Comicon together, and it has been the best so far. We were ensconced between two booths with tall displays of graphic art, with the artist selling on one side, and another drawing your caricatures as your favorite character. For four days, we watched the crowd, many in full costumes, cruise by our modest display. Many of the vendors sold costumes, wigs, light sabers, and all the geeky paraphernalia you can only find in specialized shops and at Comicon. And among all these convention goers, there were readers. Some only stopped to admire the covers, but others actually liked to read good sci-fi or fantasy books.

Many other Arizona authors exhibited and signed their books at this popular convention, and if you were there, you probably met them, as it's a favorite spot for writers of science fiction, comic books, and fantasy.

You meet some interesting characters, some funny, and some scary. I particularly liked these two:

Fans could take selfies with their favorite DC character in authentic costume, there were contests for the largest group of the same character Cosplay. Fans attended panels with their favorite sci-fi movie stars. Everyone had a blast. This is heaven for gamers, artists, writers, and fans.

I was honored to be singled out by a famous Cosplay character, the best in his trade, a local celebrity in full costume, impersonating "Ex Excessive." I love the concept as well as the costume. Who wouldn't fall for these gorgeous black wings. He is local, his name is Trevor Gahona, and he gave me one of his roses. You can see it as a red dot of color on my table. Here is one of his official pictures in costume taken at the convention. What did I tell you?

In other words, I had a fantastic Phoenix Comicon, and I'll be back next year for sure. This event is a highlight of the year. I loved it. Hope to see you there next year.

Vijaya Schartz, author
Blasters, Swords, Romance with a Kick