Looking forward to two events on Saturday. First, at noon, there's the regular GSHW meeting at the Monmouth County Library (HQ), in Manalapan, where a panel of slush readers from Space And Time Magazine will pass on the secrets to getting out of the slush pile and into print, It finishes at about 1:00pm. That'll be great, but what I'm really excited about takes place at the same venue, an hour later at 2:00pm, when I host the first ever New Jersey Authors' Network, multi-author book signing/Q&A.
I know, big deal, but I'm still stoked. The idea of a statewide network of authors came to me last year, when I was trying to think of ways to help sell the GSHW's latest anthology. The way I see it, lesser known - and by that I mean, not yet a household name - authors get little or no help from their publishers on the promotion front, so they have to do most of it themselves. Of course, some people are natural self-promoters, like those d-list celebrities who'd attend the opening of a cookie jar if they thought a camera crew would be present, but most of us mere mortals find it a painful experience. Worse than any discomfort caused by the thought of public-speaking, must surely be the long, drawn out humiliation that comes when the author is the only person to attend a book-signing event.
So I figured, why not dilute that pain? If a bunch of writers attend a signing together, it makes for a bigger event, which makes it a more attractive proposition for Joe (and Joanne), public, a safer bet for the host venue, and a far less terrifying prospect for the authors. So far, so what? Multi-author signings are nothing new. True enough, but where do you go to find other authors in your county with books to promote? That's where the NJAuthorsNetwork comes in. It's a free to join, free to use, online database for any New Jersey author with a book to sell. I set up the website and Yahoo group at the end of last year. My goal is to have a hundred new members by the end of 2009 (we have 26 so far).
Saturday's multi-author, Q&A panel/book signing marks the first of what I hope will be many similar events throughout New Jersey. The six authors are: Danielle Ackley-McPhail; Gary Frank; J.J.Lair; Brian Pedersen; Dr. Mike Rushnak and Cheryl Solimini.
As for that nagging worry that no one will turn up, my friend, Cole, from the Monmouth Creative Writer's Group has kindly offered to cover the event for their newsletter, The Monmouth Muse, so I know at least one seat will be taken.