SciFi Fantasy Day 2017 in Washington, NJ

SciFi Fantasy Day with the Mad Hatter and Queen of HeartsSo on May 20th, I rose with the sun and drove through the rain to Washington, NJ, for their SciFi Fantasy Day. This was my first SciFi Fantasy focused event, and I looked forward to seeing fellow authors Marie C. Collins and Kristina Garlick there.

The rain had me worried, however, as I had no tent (on my list of things to buy when I have money again). I DID have “emergency rain gear” (a sheet of plastic) and an umbrella. As I arrived, the time for the rain to stop was 10 AM, the official start time of the outdoor event. Waiting in the headquarters for the rain to let up, the time changed to around 1 PM. Was I going to have to simply turn around and head home?

Luck was with me. I set up a little before 10 AM under cloudy skies, outside Misty’s Pet Grooming & Boutique and Gaia’s Gifts . I utilized my emergency rain gear three times in the next two hours in the occasional light drizzle. The plastic did nothing to enhance my display, but the rain also meant that there were no customers browsing, so it worked out well!

After noon, the clouds stayed but the rain stopped. The crowd would have been larger with sunny weather, but the people who came had a good time. Positioned close to the tail end of the street due to getting my application in late, I could not see many of the activities going on, but I could hear the music and enjoyed hearing favorites like the Beatles echoing down the street.

I glimpsed elves and steampunk, storm troopers and knights errant, belly dancers and Darth Vader. Vendors included crystals, tapestries, geodes, chain mail, lightsabers, jewelry, games, plush Pokemon, and books. I did not have a chance to explore, but it seemed a vibrant mix of customers and vendors.

In spite of the damp start and the chill air, I enjoyed Washington’s SciFi Fantasy Day. I intend to apply for next year as well, and hope the weather is better.

SciFi Fantasy Day in Washington, NJ




River Reads Kicks Off the Next Marketing Wave

River Reads event informationThis weekend I will participate in a massive author event called River Reads. The brain-child of Brandi Megan Granett with organizational assistance from Marie C. Collins, this will be a gathering of 46 authors at the Prallsville Mill in Stockton, NJ.

The authors write for all ages and all genres—17 are children’s authors, which leaves 29 for the grown-ups. So there really is something for everyone at this event. And it’s not simply authors hawking their wares, either. We have author readings, crepes, wine, a scavenger hunt, and a raffle for gift cards!

I am very excited to be a part of this, but the question is, am I ready? The children’s authors (and many of the others) have agreed to set a Halloween-y tone, so I’m bringing some things I don’t normally bring to an event—as well as some things I do.

  • Books
  • Table cloth
  • Chair
  • Autographing pens
  • Credit card device/change for cash
  • Swag
  • Fliers
  • Crystal Ball
  • Scarecrows (for a book-related giveaway)
  • Raffle slips
  • Candy
  • Witch’s Hat

Think I’ve got everything? I hope so because I can’t fit more in my car!

The weather is supposed to be nice, which will be a change for me—my last 3 events it either rained or threatened to rain. It will likely also mean increased traffic for the event.

I really enjoy these author events. While there is some debate as to if you sell more or fewer books when you are “competing” with so many other authors for attention, the wonderful sense of camaraderie makes up for any lost sales. We’re all in the same boat, we all have war stories to tell, we all have advice to share and to listen to. I find that no matter how many or how few sales I have, these events are never a waste of my time.

River Reads has me jazzed, because has been a buzz about this event from the very beginning, which is a credit to Brandi and Marie’s hard work. Check back next week to see how it went (and find out what’s up next for me)!

River Reads kids activities




Collingswood Book Festival 2016

Collingswood Book Festival balloonsThe Collingswood Book Festival is a massive annual outdoor book fair held in Collingswood, NJ. Music, food, author panels, and a children’s area round out a street full of book sellers and authors. If you love books, it’s the place to be the first Saturday in October!

Weather is always a concern when you hold an outdoor event, but never fear! In case of rain, the Festival management has a plan—they move everyone inside the nearby high school/middle school. This year, a full week of rain showed no signs of letting up, so the managers moved us indoors.

This was my first year as a vendor. I’d been to the Festival a couple of times as a browser, and it was dizzying to see the vast array of books laid out across several blocks. As a vendor, the sight of tables packed into the gym—all with books piled high—created excitement.

Author Kerry Gans at the Collingswood Book Festival

The weather didn’t dampen the energy at the Festival. Maybe being indoors magnified it as it ricocheted around the gym, but the buzz began long before the first customer walked through the door. The camaraderie of fellow authors made the long day go by quickly, and the streams of book lovers that braved the weather to visit us brought smiles.

Halloween fun at the Collingswood Book FestivalAll in all, my first Collingswood Book Festival was a great experience. I met some other authors, networked with a few people holding other book festivals in the spring, sold some books, and chatted with people who get as enthused about books as I do. I’ll be back next year—but hopefully outdoors!

This Saturday, October 8th, I’ll be at the Vineland Library for their Indie Author Day celebration from 12-3 pm. If you’re in the area, stop by!

Vendors at the Collingswood Book Festival




Marketing Madness

This past Saturday kicked off my busy marketing season. My event schedule starts with three book events in a row.

eastampton-dayFirst was Eastampton Day, the yearly celebration of Eastampton Township. In spite of a cloudy start to the day, it didn’t rain, and the sun broke through the clouds around 1 pm. The pleasant day brought plenty of people to enjoy the bounce houses, carnival games, and dunk tank.

I had a good time chatting with my table neighbors and the people browsing the tables. I met one woman who runs a book club, who invited me to speak there, and several other customers excited about the book. All in all, a successful day!

My next two events are a little farther afield. Saturday is the Collingswood Book Festival in Collingswood, NJ. I have been there as a browser several times, but this is my first as a vendor. It’s usually a wonderful day if you’re a book lover. I’m hoping it doesn’t rain!

October 8th will see me in Vineland,  NJ, at the library’s Indie Author Day showcase. I have never been there before, but it promises to be a day of local authors showing their wares and talking books.

Although authors are often nervous about marketing events, I’m looking forward to both events and chatting with book lovers of all ages. If you’re in the area, stop by and say hello!



Marketing Flurry

After digging out of 20” of snow a week ago, this week found me hit with a marketing flurry. I have felt out of my depth since I hit the marketing side of publishing. Even though I’ve read a ton about it, when it came to actually making a plan the details overwhelmed and paralyzed me. So I’ve waded into the fray, rather than jumped.

This week started off with receiving my book trailer from Keith Strunk, who put it together for me. I had an unplanned public unveiling of the trailer at the Willow Grove Writers Coffeehouse, and people seemed to like it. I know I sure did!

So one thing I did this week was start a YouTube channel for myself. At the moment, however, the channel has no content, as I am having the dreaded “technical difficulties” loading the trailer to the channel.


Coming Soon to a Viewscreen Near You!

The next marketing task that surfaced was an interview I did with Linda C. Wisniewski for the Bucks County Women’s Journal. My first interview as a professional author!

The interview of course kicked off a round of social media posts announcing it—Facebook, Twitter, Google+. I also hopped onto my website and added the link to my News & Events page—which I managed to do without breaking the Internet!

Finally, because I felt the need to have some focused marketing help, I joined BadRedHead Media’s 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge. The amazing Rachel Thompson sends us one tip and how-to every day for 30 days, and we then implement them. We are 3 days in, and so far I have spruced up my Twitter bio and header, pinned a tweet to my feed, and begun Following people with a more targeted focus.

So my week has been filled with flurries—marketing flurries. It’s good, though, because I feel a little more settled in my marketing mindset. I may never be a marketing powerhouse, but I am moving forward—and that’s what counts.

How about you? Did you dive in the deep end with marketing, or wade in hesitantly?

The Best of The Goose’s Quill 2015

At the beginning of a new year, we typically look forward to the year ahead. Sometimes, though, it is helpful to look back in order to see how far you have come, and evaluate how you did in the past year. I examined my top 20 posts this past year and found that readers read a good mixture of craft and marketing, as well as some of my more personal writing-life posts. In case you missed any, here are the Best of The Goose’s Quill 2015. Enjoy!

  1. When The Hero Is Not The Protagonist
  1. What Big Question Do You Write To Answer?
  1. How To Measure Growth As A Writer
  1. Our Characters’ Other Lives
  1. Adventures In The Land of Zal
  1. Marketing: Doing The Things You Don’t Want To Do
  1. Book Trailer Beginnings
  1. The Truth About Your Productivity
  1. Anticipation Angst and Announcement
  1. The New To-Do List
  1. Introverts, Extroverts, and Social Pain
  1. The Insidious Persistence of Grief
  1. My Biggest Takeaway: 2015 Philadelphia Writers’ Conference
  1. Philadelphia Writers’ Conference: My Annual Oil Change
  1. Writing Longhand: A Generational Divide
  1. Working Vacation: Yes or No?
  1. Empathy: Curse or Blessing?
  1. Revising My Writing Process
  1. Marketing Bits and Pieces

And my #1 post of 2015:

  1. THE WITCH OF ZAL Cover Reveal and Surprise!


Thank you for reading in 2015—I hope you continue to join me in 2016!

Focus Forward

As 2015 draws to a close, I have a lot to be thankful for. My family is healthy and happy. I am comfortable in my life. And my first novel, THE WITCH OF ZAL, debuted from Evil Jester Press!


Now 2016 looms large ahead, and my focus is turning to the future. What do I want to accomplish in 2016? I decided to keep it simple and focus only on things I could control, because to do otherwise is an invitation to stress and frustration.

So what are these goals?

  1. Create and implement a new marketing plan for THE WITCH OF ZAL.
  1. Finish revising and polishing at least 2 of my works-in-progress.
    • THE CURSE OF THE PHARAOH’S STONE is close to finished—one more go over and sending it out for proofreading. So I should easily reach this goal.Pharaoh-Curse-640x1024
    • VERITAS. This WIP is in a monster revision right now, and I feel that I have been procrastinating because of the magnitude of the task. Once I begin, I will be able to chip away, and there is no reason I can see that I should not finish this by the end of 2016.Veritas-Cover-Art-791x1024
    • THE ORACLE OF DELPHI, KANSAS has been complete for a year or more, and has made the rounds of some agents. The feedback I received showed that I have some work to do on this book, but I have not yet looked to see how large a task fixing the issues would be. It is possible that this, too, can be done by the end of 2016, but I consider this a stretch goal.Oracle-Cover-Art-791x1024
  1. When one of the manuscripts above is ready, I will send it out to agents. With luck, I will find one that connects with my work.

And that’s it!

Three things.

I can do that.

What are you looking forward to in 2016?


The First of Many Firsts: Preparing for the NJASL Conference

On Sunday November 15th I will be attending my first ever conference as an author. The New Jersey Association of School Librarians has what they call Authors’ Alley where authors can get a table and speak to the many librarians who are there for the conference. I am so excited to be able to talk to so many librarians at once about my new book. However, I am also quite nervous. Luckily, friend and fellow author Donna Galanti will also be there—which will make the experience much more fun and less nerve-wracking.

Preparing for a conference as an author is no easy thing. I need to have many pieces in place. Such as:


The first thing I need to do is order books to have with me at the conference to sell or to show the librarians who are interested in the book. I did that today and they will be arriving sometime before the 15th. I can only imagine what it will feel like when I open my first box full of my own books and see all those wonderful covers looking up at me. 🙂


I would like to have bookmarks ready to give out to people who are interested in the book but may not wish to buy at this time. I also want to have flyers announcing my school visit topics and availability to give out. I’m thinking of getting new business cards to bring, if I have time to get the new card and if my pocketbook will stretch to that much expense. My old cards are certainly sufficient to allow people to get in touch with me on social media and my website. The only drawback is that the cards do not have the cover of my most recent book on them.


There are also business things that need to be taken care of prior to that and I have already completed those. I needed to get a federal tax ID number and register my business with the state of New Jersey so that I could collect sales tax on any books that I sell at the conference. I have also bought a Square credit card reader for my smartphone so people can pay me with a credit card. I tested it out and it works great!


I need some sort of display stand to put up a flyer on the table. I need to bring order forms in case there are people who wish to order the book later, so they can still get the special pricing I’m giving for the conference. I also need to remember to bring things such as my laptop a copy book for writing, and snacks and water so that I can make it through the day without fainting away.

I had hoped the have my book trailer available by this time but it simply will not be possible to get it done. However I do hope to have that finished by the end of the month. I had a lot of fun putting it together and I hope people will enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed making it!


Eventually all those items above will be checked off my list, and the only thing left to do will be to pack up the car and head out. Then my worry will be: Can I actually find the venue? Thankfully my smartphone has a GPS, so now I have a little bit more assurance that should I get lost I will actually be able to find my way to where I need to go.

With this conference I am officially launching my career as a published author. I’m on the path that I always dreamed about the time I was young. I cannot express to you how amazed I am that this dream is finally coming true.

Anyone have more tips for this conference newbie?

Book Trailer Beginnings

My marketing ramp-up continues! I have created a list of reviewers to contact about the book, but the contacting has not yet begun. I still have a few pieces to put in place before that can get started.

However, I HAVE started work on my book trailer!

Since I was a professional video editor, I figured I could do a passable trailer myself. The hard part always is getting good audio and good visuals. For me, the audio is the more difficult of the two. I often have some ideas of the visuals, but the audio is sort of “I’ll know it when I hear it.”

That doesn’t make searching for audio easy.

However, Keith Strunk (who had given book trailer pointers at the Liars Club Writers Coffeehouse last month) directed us to the music of Kevin MacLeod. Mr. MacLeod’s music is diverse, searchable by type or mood, and (in exchange for attribution) free! Because I was able to search by mood, I narrowed down my choices quickly, and found one that worked with only an hour or so of searching. I knew it when I heard it!

I had already compiled the visuals I wanted to use, since I have already created 12 quote memes for the book. When I chose background images for the quotes, I purposely chose ones I thought I could use in the trailer. I did some Photoshop work on a few of them, added some movement to the still pictures, and voila! A rough cut of the trailer.

Why is it a rough cut, not finished? For several reasons.

First, I am waiting on the cover to my novel. I am hoping to replace a couple of the current visuals with elements from the cover, and to use the same font for any text on the screen.

Second, I am still toying with using a voice over (VO), or simply text, or a combination. Text only is certainly less expensive, but a VO can carry emotion that text alone can’t. So I am mulling.

Finally, I of course need to run the trailer past my publisher and get input from them. Since we are coordinating marketing efforts, we need to know what the other is doing, and we should harmonize wording and blurbs and taglines when necessary.

I have enjoyed returning to my roots as a video editor for this project. It’s always a thrill when what you envision in your head comes to life on the screen.

Do you use book trailers in your marketing? Feel free to post trailers you like in the comments below.

Marketing: Doing The Things You Don’t Want To Do

For those who read my blog last week, you can see that I’ve done a lot of things to help with the marketing campaign for my book THE WITCH OF ZAL. If you look at the list, however, you will see a common thread—the majority of items did not involve interacting with people.

I am a classic introvert and I have an anxiety disorder that manifests mainly in social situations. So I tend to a hermit-like existence. As soon as I signed my book contract, my published friends told me to do two things: network with other writers in my genre and get to know the book bloggers in my genre. I put those two things on my To-Do List, and there they languished.

Why? I could tell you that since 18 months seemed like a long time until publication, I just let it float and lost track of it. I could say that the research involved in both of those things was overwhelming. Both of those things are true. But they are not the reason I kept putting them off.

I kept putting them off because they are hard and scary for me and my subconscious made every rationalization it could to avoid them.

Some of the things we do in marketing are not easy for us. But we have to do them anyway. I didn’t network with authors in my genre until very late in the game, so when it came time to ask for blurbs, I stressed. Luckily, I had other fantastic authors willing to blurb for me, so my procrastination was not as destructive as it might have been.

Now, I am seeking reviewers in my genre and once again it caught me by surprise, even though it should not have. I knew I had to do it, but my brain kept saying, “Tomorrow. Tomorrow.” And because my brain told me what I wanted to hear, I listened. So the Procrastination Pressure is on again! Once again, a fellow author gave me a huge boost in the right direction, and I am now on the road to reviewers.

My first point is this: my avoidance of the things I didn’t want to do could have seriously damaged my marketing efforts. We have to do the parts of marketing we dislike or that frighten us with the same diligence and planning as the parts we enjoy. I knew what I had to do, but allowed my inner demons to get the best of me anyway, causing a great deal of pressure and stress I didn’t need to go through.

My other point is: be grateful for the writer friends you have in your life. My writer friends caught me when I fell on my face. They have listened to me when I freaked out. They have been with me through this whole long process, and I could not have made it this far without them.

Marketing involves some things we are reluctant to do. Your list of uncomfortable marketing items will differ from mine. Do them anyway, when they need to be done. Save yourself the stress of waiting until the last minute.

And lean on your friends to help you through the hard parts. You can return the favor when it’s their turn.

Which part of marketing do you find the hardest? How do you motivate yourself to get it done?

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