I had a blast with my best friend, Sonja, at the Sky Room Event Center at the Country Club Lanes on Watt Avenue, Sacramento! The crowd, live entertainment, Hawaiian style buffet, raffles and silent auction, and giveaways were fantastic! I hope to be there again next year. :-)
Here are some kids with their books and snap jewelry.
Here's Robert who bought two books for his granddaughter, Jordan. I signed the book for Jordan, but I didn't get to meet her that night. Robert said he saw my book on Good Morning Sacramento. That was cool!
I woke up yesterday morning with an email from Tina Macuha. She wrote that she had shown my book on tv. OMG, I missed it! But I was over the moon to find out that she forwarded me the video link. I couldn't wait to share this on Facebook. lol
Please click the link below.
This is just a snap shot of the video.
If you want your book to be featured, email Tina Macuha at email@example.com to let her know you are interested. I gave a little info about my book, where to buy it, and then told her a book in the mail would follow shortly. I mailed her a copy of the book along with a printout of my email to the channel 31/CBS 13 studios. It was as easy as that! I was lucky that I mailed my book last Monday and it took less than a week for her to select it.
Here is the mailing address.
CBS13 Offices & Studios
2713 KOVR Drive
West Sacramento, CA 95605
Attn: Tina Macuha Weekend Book Club
If you are around the vicinity of Elk Grove, my books are now available at Gifts from the Heart of Elk Grove. It's located at 9685 Elk Grove Florin Road. While visiting the story yesterday, I met this little girl, my very first buyer. She is soooo cute!
Here is a bigger picture of my books on display. My book, Zoobooloo, is not included here because I ran out of it. I will be selling copies once I get my new box of orders.
Here are more photos of kids who had enjoyed my books published by Purple Cotton Candy Arts (PCCA). Thanks to grandmothers, aunts, and uncles who love encouraging kids to read!
Most of the buyers of my children's books are grandmothers. I say these grandmothers are wise because they strongly encourage children to enjoy reading. I met one grandmother that bought 5 book titles! She said that she'd rather have her grandkids read books than play games on the computer.
Speaking of grandmothers, one approached my booth at the Franklin Community Library Friends Craft Fair at Elk Grove and told me that she bought my book The Magic Paintbrush three years ago for her granddaughter. Her granddaughter happened to be with her so she introduced me. To my surprise, she was much taller than I expected! She was much taller than me! lol I was so thrilled when she agreed to have her picture taken while holding a copy of the book.
Fortunately, I bumped into her at the 2nd annual Craft Bazaar for Project R.I.D.E. at Elk Grove. I didn't know that she was still interested in reading my books until she asked her grandma to buy her a copy of Mud Spots and Candy Sprinkles. That made my day!
Here's another kid at the Franklin Library who was happy to go home with my book. Her mom also bought some lava bead bracelets from me, the very first ones that I had ever made.
These two sisters were at the Franklin Library selling crafts with their mom. They were excited to see me again at the Citrus Heights Lions Club Holiday Craft at Fountain Square because they had been wanting to own a snap bracelet. This is always a hit among kids!
Here are two more sisters enjoying their snap bracelets at the Rusch Park Community Center Arts and Craft Fair.
The Magic Paintbrush is still the number one bestseller! I met this girl at the Annual German Christmas Market.
The second top seller is Zoobooloo.
My snap bracelets sold like hotcakes at Land Park Breakfast with Santa and Craft Fair at the Holy Spirit School. Here's a photo of a girl showing off her new purchase!
This girl bought a red snap bracelet from me from a year ago. She walked by my booth to buy another one. These photos were taken at Breakfast with Santa at St. Ignatius Church.
Kids love playing with the snap buttons. They find it amazing how it snaps on the bracelet. You should see how their eyes lit up! Adults usually say that it's a clever idea. I wish I were the one that invented the snap bracelets lol But I am proud to say that I have made them possibly to be worn by kids and adults because I make the bracelets in different wrist sizes. These pictures were taken at the Antelope Lion Club Craft Fair.
The girl who photobombed the first picture found a way to convince her mom to get her own snap bracelet.
Last but not the least, this one is another highlight of my last year's holiday craft fair. For years, I have made children get excited about these hand painted shells. I hope I can find time to make some more.
Jeffrey is already in fifth grade but he still enjoyed reading Frankie Loves to Burp. I asked him what his favorite part was and he answered, "Every part!"
I was tickled pink to find out that Ayla's favorite book is The Magic Paintbrush. I am also thrilled that she started going to Kindergarten last month after enjoying her trip to Disneyland, a dream come true from the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
If I had a magic paintbrush like Alexa, one of my wishes would be to make her free of cancer. May she have many more years of laughter, fun, and adventures with her family and friends. If you want to follow Ayla's struggles and triumphs, here's her Facebook page - #Aylastrong https://www.facebook.com/groups/1559799374338373/
I feel happy whenever I see all these pictures put together in a collage.
My goddaughter, KC, is my #1 young reader fan. She has all my books!
She practically grew up reading my books. She can enumerate all of them. What a smart kid!
I enjoyed The Purple Cotton Candy Arts Book Party that I organized last July 28-29, 2017. I got to celebrate the completion of by 8 book titles with acquaintances, friends and family from different parts of the world--Philippines, India, New Zealand, Ireland, Sri Lanka, Canada, South Africa, Italy, USA and few other countries. Now the big news is out in the vast universe and it has reached a broader audience!
It wasn't a very huge success, though, in terms of the number of attendance, the guest participation, and the book sales. It paled in comparison to the Virtual Book Launch of The Bluebird's Cry last year. During the PCCA Book Party, I had interview segments, debut of my book trailers, book giveaways, book discounts, haiku contests, sharing of childhood photos and experiences, tidbits about the author, inspirational quotes, and a couple other interactive posts, but why did it seem like it failed in those categories? I wrote down all my theories below and thought of sharing them here for those who are thinking of having a virtual book party. Here are some things to keep in mind.
1. Invite your target audience. - I think the Virtual Book Launch of The Bluebird's Cry was a hit because most of my Facebook contacts are poets. Who would be interested in a poetry books but poet? I didn't have a big market for children's books on FB. That was why there were hardly any sales, only a big purchase from a relative.
2. Plan it on the a day when your audience is more likely to be on the internet. - Last time I did it on a Saturday and a Sunday. For the children's book party, I did it on a Friday and a Saturday. So which works better? I'm really not sure. I just held on two days so that the time frame is open to more people. But then, you might think that two days would be dragging. That depends if you can hold the attention of your audience with a variety of entertaining posts. During the Virtual Book Launch of the Bluebird's Cry, there were a lot of interaction between me and the guests. Perhaps, it's because the subject matter GRIEF was a topic that most of my guests could relate to.
3. Make sure you hold the attention of your guests. - During the book party, I posted all the things I mentioned above. There was only one thing I didn't do which was post a video of myself. I didn't have enough time to make a good one so I guess the virtual party didn't turn out as personal as my first book party.
4. Advertise your virtual book party way ahead of time and make your invitation an attention grabber. - I did advertise mine one week ahead with all the pictures of my books spread out and my puppy Haiku in the center. I thought that the puppy will attract more attention and I posted all the things to expect on that day. I think what worked last time was that I posted the book trailer of The Bluebird's Cry along with my invitation. That piqued the interest of many people! With 8 children's book titles to promote, I should have selected at least one book trailer and saved the rest for later. I saved it all on the party itself! Perhaps, posting one would have created a very interesting invitation.
5. Focus on one theme. - The focus of my virtual party was the celebration of my 8 book titles. Should I have celebrated it one at a time? I thought it would be a good idea to celebrate them all at the same at the same time so that guests had a variety of choices if they plan on purchasing. At craft fairs, I noticed that I had been selling more book because I had more book titles to sell. Also, I think could have picked a common message or theme from my book and worked around it. Sometimes I wonder if that would have worked better.
These are the only advice I can give right now based on my experiences. I will add some more as I learn along the way. If you want to know how to launch a non-virtual book party, read 12 Tips for Successful Book Launch Parties. I did one non-virtual book party to launch my book, The Magic Paintbrush. I threw a big party to celebrate and promote my book. You can check it out here.
Last year it was just a dream. I walked by the California Author's booth and took this picture. I told myself, one day I will be here.
I approached one of the authors and asked how I could participate in the next state fair. Fortunately, I introduced myself to Naida West, the author of the California Gold trilogy and the person who was at the helm of the Authors Booth. She advised me to send her one of my books in January 2017 for her approval.
I had a very strong feeling I was going to make my dream come true. The months went by while I kept on believing in this quote by Earl Nightingale--"Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality."
True enough, on July 25, 2017, I was at Cal Expo in Sacramento, CA as one of the authors. On my first day, I sold 17 books! I was ecstatic!
The second time I was there business was slow, but I was still smiling from ear to ear. Why not? I met a few indie authors who were friendly and accommodating. I was also invited to join a poetry group and was advised to join a book contest. I tried to absorb every new information I could to become a successful author. And that includes some ideas on how to advertise myself with displays (medals, awards, etc,) and other marketing tools (leaflets, sign-up sheets, bookmarks). Next year I will be more CREATIVE!
My last day was still a very exciting experience for me. I decided to ask parents who bought my books if I could take a photo of their kids. All of them responded positively.
Another highlight of my last day was having a booth side by side with Naida West. I couldn't resist having a picture with her. :-) I'm so grateful to her for giving me a chance to sell more books and to learn new things.
I’m Christine L. Villa, the creative explorer who eats, sleeps, and breathes everything creative from children’s books, Japanese short-form poetry, to arts and crafts.