Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Born On June 25th, 2013 --- Finally!

After nearly about 30 year of dreaming and writing and more dreaming, and five years of hard work and high hopes with a few doubts and frustrations and heart-break thrown in for good measure, The Raven's Gift is legitimately home. Today is PUB day for the novel here in the US with Penguin and Pintail Books.

And I have so many people to thank for this amazing honor, and --- quite honestly --- absolute dream come true. I really would like to list off all those folks I owe such a huge debt of gratitude too, but for fear of leaving just one fine soul out, I'll just slather a huge blanket of thanks to all those involved in helping me get the book home and to all those who believed in the story. From the folks who paid such crazy prices for the bootlegged copies from Canada to the people who signed petitions and mailed them to American publishers and everyone in between. There has literally been a village of people involved in helping me make this dream a reality. You all know who you are and you all better damned well know that I love you and won't ever forget all you've done for me.

This is but a brief post, but today is a special moment
for me, not to mention a gorgeous Alaskan summer day, so I'm getting outside to enjoy the sunshine. Thanks again for all your support!


Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Magic of an Anonymous Donor

This week marks a pretty important milestone for me, publication of my novel here in my own country on the 25th and an awesome combo book launch and fundraiser for the Alaska Red Cross's Disaster Relief fund for this spring's devastating floods in rural Alaska. I didn't really anticipate the possibility of anything more amazing happening this week --- why should I? --- and then I awake today to an email in my inbox notifying me of that an anonymous donor gave a $1000 to the campaign for Galena on CrowdRise!

Until today, I'd never really given too much thought about the magic of an anonymous donor and a donation. I often give this way myself, usually playing with the moniker, "Anony-moose," but never with that many zeroes! What strikes me about such a generous anonymous donation is that it leaves folks wondering just who did it. Who was so kind and caring they could give so much? And better yet is that once that name, "Anonymous" is placed the donor could be anyone and everyone. Such acts of are beyond heart-warming, they force us to reconsider what we do and why we do it. They make us look into the faces of complete strangers and ask ourselves, "Could it be her?" These acts also force  us to look in the mirror and wonder how we might be able to have such an impact as well.

I did not expect to wake up this morning with a totally different outlook on the week, moreover on the world. I want to thank Anonymous personally. I want hug him or her. Share my thoughts on such kindness. Say how grateful I am. Assure that the donation will help folks who are desperately in need in Galena and surrounding villages. So if you're reading this Anonymous --- quyana-cakneq, to you, Yup'ik for "Many thanks." Your generosity will be spread throughout this week and beyond by myself and others --- as I discover once again how The Raven's Gift gives not just to my readers, but also to myself as I learn more about the lengths real human beings will go to help one another.



Friday, June 21, 2013

Flying High with Raven's Brew & Raven's Gift

Raven's Brew Logo of a Raven flying up out of a cup with a grizzly bear and another raven

I'm excited to announce a cool partnership with Raven's Brew Coffee! The kind folks there loved The Raven's Gift and will be providing some great door prizes at the book's launch on June 27th at Tap Root, in Anchorage.

Today we've got a giveaway on their Face Book page! Click your way there, like their page, and comment on the section where you see the cover of my novel and you'll have a chance to win a signed copy of The Raven's Gift! And while you're at it, try some of their delicious coffee!

Four more days until The Raven's Gift comes out in the US, and while I wait for that high, I'll be enjoying a cup of Raven's Brew!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Good News about the June 27th Launch!

The news just keeps getting better, friends!

I'm extremely excited to announce that we've not only got Fireside Books lined up to sell books and donate some of the proceeds to the Red Cross Alaska fund for the flood victims at the launch next week, but we'll also have a Red Cross representative on hand to speak briefly about the on-going efforts to help those impacted by the historic spring flooding on the Yukon and surrounding tributaries.

If you haven't read Kyle Hopkins incredible reporting for Anchorage Daily News on the flooding, please check out his stories here.

For those who can't attend the launch, but would still like to help the flood victims, I've joined a local team for some on-line fund-raising and will have some prizes announced soon for those who can donate!  You can check that out here! 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Party, Booklaunch, & Now a Fundraiser for Galena!

John "Hannibal" Smith from the A-Team pretty much said it best with, "I love it when a plan comes together."  And the plan, my friends is shaping up nicely. Good fun will be had at Anchorage's Tap Root the June 27th launch of The Raven's Gift, but more importantly good will also be accomplished that evening.

As many of you know, this novel is about a horrific catastrophe striking rural Alaska --- and no one from the outside comes to help. Well --- we can't let that be the case in the real life tragedy that has struck the village of Galena, recently destroyed by an unprecedented flood.  The state and federal government's response has been slow, but outside organizations and surrounding villages are doing all they can to help. And now we can offer our help as well and have a good time for a good cause.

More info will be coming shortly about the fund-raising efforts, and the fun is already in place with great music acts by Bethel's Kevin Morgan, Homer's blue grass trio Burnt Down House, Steve Blanchett from Pamyua, and Anchorage's Jonathan Bower. Our MC for the evening will be the one and only Eskimo Bob.

The overly generous David Cheezem, owner of Fireside Books, will be donating a percent of the book sales from the launch to the fund for the people of Galena! So when you buy a copy at the launch you'll be helping Alaskans in need! 

This is a family event, so bring the kids and the grand parents. There will be plenty of door prizes, including some sweet swag from Raven's Brew Coffee!

Mark your calender -- June 27th, 6-9pm. Tap Root. Anchorage. If you can't make it, or live out of town, stay tuned. You may be able to join us streaming and/or help the folks in Galena with one of my giveaways and win some cool stuff online!

More info or RSVP here!  And if you're into it "Like" The Raven's Gift FB page while you're at it!



Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Book Launch 101 --- A Kick Ass Planning Guide

I'm about to launch my debut novel The Raven's Gift in the US. It's a long story, that I'll tell somewhere else, but this will be my second time throwing a book party for the novel here in Alaska. Let's just say I was so happy when the novel came out in Canada a few years back that I threw a giant party to celebrate publication.  What I'm going to share with you here is what I did then, and what I am planning to do now, so that if you are so fortunate as to have a party of your own, you can hopefully get a few ideas and learn a little about what I did.

First let me tell you that the first party was successful.  What I mean by successful is this: when the party was over I'd sold all the books (over 100), people thanked me for the good time, and I had several press write-ups about the party within the week. I can't guarantee the same results for you if you follow the steps below, nor can I guarantee the same steps will work for me in a few weeks, but a little event planning and forethought will go a long ways; however, I can guarantee you one thing in today's publishing paradigm, the party is on you. Don't expect your publisher to foot the bill or plan your launch. Sure, if you name is Dan Brown or Grisham --- then maybe someone will do the work for you, but don't count on it.

Here's the plan:

  1. Write out what your idea scenario for the launch will be. What are you expecting or hoping for? What will be a successful event? What do you think a launch will do for your book sales? 
  2. Find a venue. Choose a place that fits your vision for a launch. Are you looking for a casual setting or something more raucous. Think outside the box. I held my first launch in a brewery pub that had a large theater. This killed two birds with one stone --- good beer and a performance area. This suited my vision for the launch. I was hoping for an eclectic mix of music and literary performances from my gifted Alaskan friends. (More on having gifted friends below.) Don't break the bank. Find a place that will benefit from your patronage. See if they'll donate space or give you a break on the usual rate. It doesn't hurt to ask. I didn't and later felt stupid for not doing so because I know the venue made a great deal of money from the bar, not to mention the appetizers I'd purchased for those in attendance. 
  3. Set a Date. This seems obvious, but also should be something you've thought out. The date needs to fit with your book's publication date, but should also work for your venue and your friends, family, and fans. Check local event calenders so that you're not competing with other cool events. Think about work schedules and holidays. Then set the date and get the date posted on those same local calendars. Most of those are free and often lead to publication in local papers.
  4. Talent. What is this? Talent? Yes. Ideally you are signing books. People want to see you and hear you, but they also want some face time with you. The best way to cover this is to have cool artists, remember those gifted friends I mentioned earlier? This is the time to call them and invite them to your event and ask if they'd sing a song or two, tell a joke, read a poem, or ride a unicycle around the stage. Seriously. The best thing I ever did for my launch was to make it enjoyable for the audience and for myself. I'm lucky that I do have talented friends. I had amazing poets read, like Joan Kane and Jeremy Pataky. I had a crazy gifted musicians play, guitarist and singer song-writer Kevin Morgan. I had the Blanchet brothers sing, both members of the world famous indigenous group Pamyua. And to tie it all together I had "Eskimo Bob" from Eskimo Bob Lives as the funny and at times painful roast-master MC the whole thing. While you don't need such a smorgasbord of talent, you should think of someone to at least MC besides yourself. The more time you can have others on stage, entertaining the more time you get to spend enjoying yourself, celebrating your special occasion really, and more importantly conversing with the people who will become a part of your marketing and publicity machine --- those friends, family, fans, journalists, and dignitaries you've invited. 
  5. Invite list and press release. Make your party public and free. Use social media to invite everyone you can. Send a press release to local media outlets. Invite politicians and anyone related thematically to your book. You've written a book about zombies? Make a special effort to invite zombies and those who hunt them. 
  6. Tie in or theme? Is there something clever and inexpensive you can do to make the party more memorable? For my first launch I purchased giant cans of fruit and a few cases of Spam as centerpieces on the tables. This fit with the survivalist theme of the novel and those cans served as hilarious and cheap door prizes. And let me tell you, people were damn excited to win a gallon can of pears! For my book launch in a few weeks I've managed to get some cool companies to sponsor the giveaways --- more on that in the coming days, but the tie-ins fit thematically with the novel and are killer.  Remember, people like free stuff and if you can do a few door prizes and offer some actual quality prizes to go with the fun or funny stuff more folks will leave happy and talking about your book. 
  7. Leave them wanting more. Plan for a fun event. Research what others have done and what has worked and have fun. If you have fun, the people who attend probably will to. Oddly this party really isn't about you or for you, or at least it shouldn't be. This isn't really even about you selling all the books you bring. The book launch is to do just that --- launch your book into the world. No single person ever launched a rocket-ship successfully, right? It takes a team. So too does launching a book. You need the help of friends and family. You need your community. Celebrate those people you love and who love you and let them share in your publication. If you have a good party you'll leave them wanting more, and perhaps, if you're lucky, you'll be planning a second launch like I am!
[More to come on Launch planning, including what I have in store for the US debut of The Raven's Gift and what not to do and/or lessons learned.]

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

T-Minus 14 Days...The Raven's Gift is coming...

The French Edition --- comes out June 13
In fourteen days my novel The Raven's Gift will finally be available in the United States. After a slight detour through Canada in 20122 with Penguin Canada, then a brief jaunt Down Under in Australia and then New Zealand with Text Publishing, and one final little touch down June 13th for some great dining and wine in France with Fleuve Noir --- then this little award-winning, world traveling suspense thriller will be available in the actual country the book and story originated.

Sure there were bootlegged copies, smuggled across international bordered by mules. Sure folks were sneaking over to Canada for hockey and poutine and uploading the book on their Kindles ---but finally, the fine citizenry of this great country will be able to enjoy the story legally and without fear of the library police!

Stay tuned for the next couple weeks as I roll out some incredible giveaways and fun. And be sure to join us for the celebration on June 27th in Anchorage if you're in town at the Tap Root for the launch. More on that later, too!