Teaching from the novel

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Teaching from the novel

As someone who has been teaching classes and seminars for much of the past 15 years, it would seem a no-brainer for me to come up with an idea or two for a class I could link to my novel, Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World. And yet I scratch my head at the idea. Perhaps it’s because the novel still finds itself not quite done after 12+ years. Or perhaps it’s because fiction writing is not my native instinct – I majored in nonfiction writing for a reason!

Microsoft Word - Stan Finds Himself for TFOB

And nevertheless, I know there are things I could teach, based on this experience. One thing I might teach is the idea of adding a few graphics, here and there, to a novel. As I recall rarely seeing this – one example is Alain de Botton’s The Romantic Movement – perhaps it’s just not that popular. Or, more likely, perhaps no one’s really thought to do it.

Another topic is the idea of partnering with a nonprofit to promote your book. Because Stan visits so many off-the-beaten track locations, his trip is one that skips right over most of the typical world travel highlights. And in so doing, he encounters many new ideas and social justice causes that have real-life counterparts. Whether you’re writing a nonfiction instruction manual or a space opera, as the author, you have the latitude to incorporate aspects into your work that have a real-world tie-in to an existing cause or organization. Offer to profit share with that group in exchange for their help promoting your book, and you might be on the road to something spectacular.

I already teach marketing classes that touch on everything from book design to news releases and media kits to social justice to crowdfunding. Using my own novel as a case study for the success of such marketing endeavors is a natural fit.

Have no doubt – a class or two will be forthcoming!

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Read the FIRST 5 Chapters of Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World.

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LAURA ORSINI is an author and self-publishing consultant who works with other authors who want to LO picchange the world. From concept to publication to the first-time author’s book launch, her expertise will help you make a better book and find more readers. Friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and check out her pins on Pinterest.

Sketching out the details of an online treasure hunt app

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Sketching out the details of an online treasure hunt app

online-treasure-hunt

Contests are a great way for an author to inspire interest in their work, and social media couldn’t make it easier. But the kinds of contests one could hold are limitless. I met a gal in September who’s hosting a fan fiction contest around her book, Oubliette — A Forgotten Little Place. A few of the rules from the contest include:

  • Oubliette Fan Fiction must be based off the book Oubliette — A Forgotten Little Place by Vanta M. Black.
  • Any of the many story lines may be used for inspiration. At least one story line and/or one character from the book must be in the entry.
  • Entries must be at least 500 words and no more than 10,000.

Other contests I’ve seen require participants to take a photo of themselves holding a copy of the book and post the photos to a particular site. Trivia contests are also popular. Really, you are limited only by whatever your mind can imagine.

With regard to Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World, I am in the idea phase for a treasure hunt that will involve an app and visits to particular YouTube channels and websites for shops, venues, and places Stan visits on his world travels. Of course, the details are still sketchy – but I want prospective readers to see as much of the world as Stan sees, if only vicariously through the Internet.

Of course, I like the fan fiction idea a great deal – so maybe a contest where people create a new character from any of the 23 countries Stan and Isis visit.

In a previous post, I mention my idea for a cookbook – perhaps the contents of that cookbook are chosen via a contest. Hmmm … the wheels are turning!

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Read the FIRST 5 Chapters of Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World.

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LAURA ORSINI is an author and self-publishing consultant who works with other authors who want to LO picchange the world. From concept to publication to the first-time author’s book launch, her expertise will help you make a better book and find more readers. Friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and check out her pins on Pinterest.

Launching my travel novel – what better reason to see the world?

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Launching my travel novel what better reason to see the world?

modes-of-travel

One of the coolest book events I ever encountered was by chance, at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, where Carolyn Ahern, author of a children’s book series featuring Tino Turtle, was signing her book, Tino Turtle Travels to Paris, France. I described her signing in more detail on my Marcie Brock Book Marketing Maven blog. So when I think about a book launch for Stan, I’d like it to be in grand style of that sort.

I think I’m going to cheat a bit here and reference my previous blog post (on the same Marcie Brock blog) where I described my ideal book launch.

In spite of my big goal of signings in major U.S. cities with each of Stan’s primary means of travel: airports, train stations, and public piers, my first signing may be smallish. I’m thinking the Deer Valley Airport with dozens of my closest friends and local authors and artists. I recently encountered the amazing work of a local artist named Savannah Ashely – will definitely be reaching out to her regarding her globe art for the event.

savannah-ashley-globes

OTHER DETAILS

  • The menu will likely be determined by the venue’s catering options.
  • Favors will include old maps, globe keychains, and vintage airline wings, of course.
  • My own Jack Russell terrier is no longer with us – but I’m on the lookout for the perfect stuffed version.
  • A slide show with real images from people in the places Stan visits sounds about right.
  • Oh – and I’ll read something. A passage I’ve rehearsed … a lot.

That previous post says to look for this launch event in early 2016. So … that didn’t happen. Certainly by May 2017 it will, or I’ll eat a page of my latest ARC!

I would also like to travel to a few of the calmer areas Stan visits to do signings in those countries, too. More than likely will put together a crowdfunding campaign to help in that arena. In the interim, I’m focused on putting together a six-city train tour of the West Coast for Summer 2017, starting in San Diego, then heading north through LA, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and ending in Vancouver. That will be a group author event, so if you are an author or know one who’d like to join us, please be sure to drop me a line at phxazlaura@gmail.com.

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Read the FIRST 5 Chapters of Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World.

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LAURA ORSINI is an author and self-publishing consultant who works with other authors who want to LO picchange the world. From concept to publication to the first-time author’s book launch, her expertise will help you make a better book and find more readers. Friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and check out her pins on Pinterest.

Comparing and contrasting leads to great ideas and validation!

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Comparing and contrasting leads to great ideas and validation!

Seems I’ve been doing a lot of confessing over these last few blog posts. Today’s is that I’ve never paid much attention to travel fiction – or books, in general. Other than the Lonely Planet books I consulted when first drafting Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World. When I began writing this novel all the way back in 2004, the Internet was barely into its tweens – and there were no sites like TripAdvisor or Orbitz – and no shared economy platforms like Airbnb or Uber. I have subsequently used these sites for research, and they’ve even made an appearance in the novel because they are so ubiquitous in the life of a world traveler today.

So travel books, not a big thing for me. In putting my big toe into the water of comparison and contrast – checking to see what might be out there that’s at all like Stan – I find loads of travel books I should probably read, and authors’ sites to visit. Though not fiction, the best known contemporary work that perhaps rivals Stan a little, at least in terms of the motivation for the travel, is Elizabeth Gilbert’s runaway hit, Eat Pray Love. (That book has been published and celebrated its 10th anniversary in the time since I started writing Stan, just as a point of reference.)

Of course, there’s the classic Around the World in 80 Days, as well as Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail.

chris-pavone

When it comes to comparing websites and marketing efforts – there’s another big toe to be dipped. I’ve recently come across Chris Pavone’s site. He’s the NYT best-selling author of the new international thriller (I got that from said website), The Travelers. One thing I like about his site is the drop-down menu with subtopics: About the Book, Excerpt, and Itinerary. I could easily incorporate that into my author website, once that next book comes to fruition. It’s a story about a Foo Fighters tribute band, so the drop-down items could be: About the Book, Excerpt, and Playlist.

Oh – and a little more searching uncovered the one that seems most like Stan. It’s a book by Francois Lelord, titled Hector and the Search for Happiness: A Novel. From the Barnes and Nobel website:

Now a major motion picture starring Simon Pegg, Rosamund Pike, Toni Collette, and Christopher Plummer. The international bestseller with more than two million copies sold.

“Once upon a time there was a young psychiatrist called Hector who was not very satisfied with himself. … And so he decided to take a trip around the world, and everywhere he went he would try to understand what made people happy or unhappy.”

Hector travels from Paris to China to Africa to the United States, and along the way he keeps a list of observations about the people he meets. Combining the winsome appeal of The Little Prince with the inspiring philosophy of The Alchemist, Hector’s journey around the world and into the human soul is entertaining, empowering, and smile-inducing—as winning in its optimism as it is wise in its simplicity.

How excited am I to hear (a) it sold more than 2 million copies and (b) it became a major motion picture. Oh – and it’s book one in a series, something I never thought I’d do. The other titles are Hector and the Secrets of Love and Hector and the Search for Lost Time.

hector-series

I think I have some reading – and website visiting – to do!

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Read the FIRST 5 Chapters of Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World.

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LAURA ORSINI is an author and self-publishing consultant who works with other authors who want to LO picchange the world. From concept to publication to the first-time author’s book launch, her expertise will help you make a better book and find more readers. Friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and check out her pins on Pinterest.

Coloring books, cookbooks, and apps – oh, my!

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Coloring books, cookbooks, and apps – oh, my!

travel-diary

Readers want books – you know, with pages and words and stories and information. But bookstores want books and other things to accompany them. Products that will flush out a brand, not just a single title. Of course, perhaps the most famous is the Harry Potter series, which spun off so many products that there’s actually a website dedicated just to the merchandising: HarryPotterShop.com. Visit to buy everything from wax seals for your letter-writing needs to magical mugs to bedding, wands, games, and calendars. But ancillary products are not just for kids’ books. Inspirational author Sark has a whole collection of goodies for sale on her site, from blankets (I see a theme here) to books to card decks.

So how does this translate to my book, Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World? Well, lots of ways, actually.

  • One thing I had planned long before they came into vogue (have I mentioned I started writing this book in 2004?) was a coloring book with my cartoon version of Stan in scenes from the many cities he visits.
  • Another is a cookbook that offers one main dish, one drink, and one dessert from each of the same cities.
  • I’m also planning to create an app that integrates a treasure hunt of some sort (if Pokeman Go can do it, so can I!) with a tour of the places Stan visits.
  • Postcards seem a natural fit.
  • As does a travel diary.
  • And a Stan-styled postal bag, to be sure!
  • And a small gift book with the ways to say “hello” and “I love you” in all the languages of the countries passes through.
  • I’m not sure I’ll go with a plushie of Isis – although I’d never say never.

Whether or not they ever wind up in book stores or not, I can design them and sell them on my website and other travel sites that may have room for clever products.

What kind of toy or other product would entice you to jump on Stan’s travel bandwagon? Comments are encouraged and welcome below!

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Read the FIRST 5 Chapters of Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World.

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LAURA ORSINI is an author and self-publishing consultant who works with other authors who want to LO picchange the world. From concept to publication to the first-time author’s book launch, her expertise will help you make a better book and find more readers. Friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and check out her pins on Pinterest.

Brick-and-mortar vs online – which is the better non-bookstore venue?

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Brick-and-mortar vs online – which is the better non-bookstore venue?

wide-world-of-maps

The other day, my husband and I were astonished to see that a longtime map store is still in business in Phoenix. Maps – otherwise known as an origami-styled paper-folding craft, with big pictures of streets and lakes and mountain ranges painted on the paper. What with Waze being all the rage these days, even brand name GPS companies like Garmin are suffering. And yet I know someone who recently went and bought a paper map because she finds it easier to read than pulling out a magnifying glass to see all the details on a smartphone’s tiny screen.

Would a map store, such as the one referenced above, be willing to take a chance on a book about a guy who travels around the world? Maybe. I’ll definitely drop off a copy of Stan as soon as it’s ready to go. And make a list of the other map stores still standing – maybe approach them with a postcard campaign.

Art and investment banking also play big roles in the book, but those aren’t the kinds of things that lend themselves to storefronts. Stan does travel with his dog, though, so perhaps the right high-end indie pet shoppe would take an interest. Wheels are turning there, to be sure.

noblebeast

And, of course, I keep going back to online retailers – specialty shops in the international cities Stan visits. A glass blower in Sweden. A carpet maker in Turkey. Would they bite? I won’t know until I approach them. May have to find some translation partners before I email my pitch. It’s a wide world – and the Internet makes such connections possible.

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Read the FIRST 5 Chapters of Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World.

_______________

LAURA ORSINI is an author and self-publishing consultant who works with other authors who want to LO picchange the world. From concept to publication to the first-time author’s book launch, her expertise will help you make a better book and find more readers. Friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and check out her pins on Pinterest.

Travel Channel, here I come!

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Travel Channel, here I come!

I have a confession. I’ve never watched the Travel Channel and never felt particularly compelled to read the Sunday travel section of any newspaper (The New York Times, The Arizona Republic, and the Arizona Daily Star are the papers I’ve been most familiar with) unless it was an article about somewhere I really wanted to visit. Now, however, as the author of a book about a guy who travels around the world, I’m looking at such vehicles as potential marketing bonanzas, in terms of people who might have an interest in my little novel.

travel-channel

The idea even occurred to me to wonder how I might pitch Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World as a cartoon TV show. After all, once upon a time, Where in the World Is Carmen San Diego? was just someone’s idea, right?

So I feel like I’ve got some catching up to do, in terms of identifying potential experts who might be good ones to approach to write blurbs for my book – or have me as a guest on their show, or as an interviewee for their travel column. The household name who comes to mind is Anthony Bourdain.

anthony-bourdain

I’ve written about approaching Mr. Bourdain before – for the last blog challenge, when I posted all of my entries on my book marketing blog because Stan’s blog hadn’t yet really come into its own. Here’s an excerpt from that post:

Strangely, it took me longer than I’d have thought to come up with the right person to ask for an endorsement of Stan, but once I arrived there, I was sure I’d hit on the perfect person: Anthony Bourdain, chef, author, and host of CNN’s popular show, “Parts Unknown.” Will he be challenging to get to? Perhaps – but maybe someone who’s just two degrees of separation from him is reading this very post! Stranger things have most certainly happened.

One person I know quipped that Bourdain isn’t the most loquacious guy to go seeking a blurb from. No worries. Regardless of how tight-lipped or busy he may be, all I need for him to do is put his name behind three little words: “Read this book!”

So if anyone reading this lives next door to the college kid who babysits Bourdain’s daughter … ahem, I’d really, really, really appreciate an introduction.

Certainly there are others … and I’ll make a short list. But I’m going to put my intention behind this one and leave the rest up to the book marketing angels.

Time to get busy hitting up LinkedIn, checking my old Phoenix Film Festival Connections, and approaching the few Hollywood types I’ve met over the years to see what kind of apples might shake loose from those trees. It can’t hurt. The worse I’ll hear is no – and that leaves me exactly where I am right now.

As for the Travel Channel, as soon as this Blog Challenge is done, I’m going to pop a big bowl of popcorn and sit down and watch for a while.

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Read the FIRST 5 Chapters of Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World.

_______________

LAURA ORSINI is an author and self-publishing consultant who works with other authors who want to LO picchange the world. From concept to publication to the first-time author’s book launch, her expertise will help you make a better book and find more readers. Friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and check out her pins on Pinterest.