Ramble On Book Launch

Thank you again to everyone who played a part in the launch! It was by all accounts a wonderful afternoon (you can read Mayur’s account here) and there were many wholesome conversations about walking, mental health, and the importance of connecting with the outdoors.

The librarians were amazing. They made trees, stole borrowed pot plants, set up and packed down, made tea and coffee, and generally put a whole lot of energy and effort into the day. I look forward to working with them again!

Contributors to the book Mayur Wadhwani, Grace Penlain, and Anya Forest all spoke, reading some of their contribution, and we were treated to an awesome stop-motion video (below) by Theo Foyster.


Shout out to the goody bag sponsors: Auckland Transport, New Zealand Walking Magazine, Blants, and PhysioLogic; and to the spot prize sponsors: Louise de Varga, Keitha Smith, J. C. Hart, Erena Waho Thompson; and to the event sponsors: U Go Aloe, The Magic Brush, and Auckland Council. Thanks for making the day fantastic!


On bookselling: you get back what you give

I’ve been selling at events for a while now. The first was The Caretaker of Imagination book launch, then craft markets, and finally bigger events like New Zealand’s annual zinefests and the NZ Book Festival. Not being a salesperson at heart, I’ve learnt a lot.

Last year, the NZ Book Festival almost didn’t happen. It was only in it’s third year, though, so we pulled a team together and gave it a good shot.

On the day I made conversation with customers, shared my story about how I got into writing, and repeated my ‘elevator pitch’ for books people were interested in dozens of times throughout the day (with plenty of help from my niece – thanks, Angie!). My setup wasn’t great and I was feeling a bit flustered but I made my stall fee back, as well as a small profit on top of that. Besides sales, I launched the second annual NZ Young Writers Anthology, met some wonderful people, and got to catch up with a bunch of my author friends.

It surprised me then how many people complained about their lack of sales afterwards. An author friend, Kirsten McKenzie, wrote this brilliant post about the do’s and don’t’s of selling. Read it. While I certainly didn’t have the upbringing that Kirsten did, I’ve learnt what she’s learnt: engage with your customers, don’t sit down, smile, have a tablecloth, a table full of books, and don’t play on your cellphone the whole time.

At most events I’ve been to, I’ve done well. However, at Tauranga Zinefest last weekend I broke most of my rules. The problem was that all week, and the previous evening, I’d been working on two new stories. I was still in creative mode, and I just wasn’t in the mood to sell or engage with people. And guess what? It showed. The organisers of the zinefest did an amazing job, but because I didn’t bring my A-game to the event, I didn’t do nearly as well as I usually would.

It reminded me how important it is to bring myself fully to every event I attend. No matter what mood I’m in, I need to be there for the customer and engage with them, and make sure that my stock levels and signage are what they need to be. I’m going to take this lesson forward for the rest of my events – onwards and upwards x


Out and About: Hamilton Zinefest [gallery]

So last weekend I had the pleasure of participating in my very first zinefest in Hamilton, a couple hours’ south of where I live. I met up with some writer friends, old and new, bought lots of zines, and even sold a few.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by my table for a chat, and to everyone who purchased something from me, or offered me a trade.

Photos from the day, including me, Lizzi Tremayne & Paul Corrigan

Zines I bought!

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Out & About: Arts Fiesta and Book Launch

I didn’t have a market this weekend, and I’m glad because I really needed a day off!

So instead, I’m going to talk about three upcoming events that I am excited about. One is an art & craft fair, the other my own book launch, and the final is an author talk.

Orewa Boulevard Arts Fiesta

I’ve been to this (as a shopper) once before, when it coincided with the Gypsy Fair, and it was a fantastic event. Lots of craft, hippie-ness and, of course, art. This year, I get to be a part of it – yay!


Beyond the End of the World Book Launch

Launch Party: February 2016
Launch Party: February 2016

Once again, this launch is being run by ‘the Wardsworth sisters’ (Mary and Helen) who now own the Dorothy Butler Children’s Bookshop (and were kind enough to hire me). When I first started writing, they suggested having a launch party with them when the book was done.

I think I would’ve chickened out of having a launch party at all if it weren’t for them, so am grateful for their enthusiasm and support. Incidentally, Helen and Mary are strong supporters of self-published works, and do their best to give new books a chance.

This time, we’re getting the community involved with a giant colouring page (which I, uh, probably should be working on right now…). For more information visit Eventfinda or Facebook.

The Magic of Elizabeth Gilbert

I wasn’t a huge fan of Eat, Pray, Love (the usual complaints), but when a friend referred me to Gilbert’s talk on creativity, I began to love her ideas. When Big Magic was released, I bought it straight away and it helped me realise that I am good enough to be an artist, but it doesn’t actually matter whether I’m good enough anyway: what matters is that I am exploring this reality in a way that only I can, and expressing it how I see (or feel) fit.

Gilbert is giving a talk in Auckland in a couple weeks’ time, and I’m booked in and waiting (im)patiently! (Details of the event can be found on the Auckland Writers Festival website).

Monday Musings

Monday Musings (are back)

Because all I could think about for the last month was the NZ Book Fest, I decided not to do my Monday updates. I’m back to (my version of ) normal now, so they’re coming back!

I’ve been in a funny place lately, for several reasons, but mostly because being an indie author is hard yakka and I now have a very busy lifestyle. It’s fun hard, and it’s fun busy, but I do need to sleep, and eat, and rest, and be social.

But enough with complaining! I am extremely grateful that I have the opportunity to even consider being a writer and artist as a full time gig, and I have many people to look up to in this area – who are either doing their thing full time (artists, writers, musicians…) or are working towards it. Lots and lots of inspiration!

New stuff:

  • I’m working on a non-fiction book about my journey to becoming a writer. Nothing fancy, just me and my experiences.
  • My aim, once I get started, is to do 2-ish vlogs per week.
  • I’m also building an Indie Books site for NZ authors, to be launched during Book Week, (26 Oct-1 Nov). We’ll see how things go with this, but I was blown away by the level of work at the NZ Book Fest that I wanted to highlight our books.

Last week was the school holidays, so it was a bit topsy-turvy but did have lots of events:

  • The NZ Independent Book Festival
  • The New Lynn Night Market
  • The Mt Eden Village Craft Market
NZ Book Festival 2015
NZ Book Festival 2015

And this week there are some fun things, and some catch-up things:

  • Colour Your Own Adventure is a group exhibition (interactive) curated by ScribbleAKL as a part of ArtWeek Auckland. It’s my first ever exhibition so I’m chuffed to be a part of it! It’s in Chancery Square, Auckland, and opening times can be found on my Facebook page.
  • I’ll be at the Hospital Market this Thursday morning, teaming up with Crafts by Nicola and her awesome colouring pencil rolls.
  • I’m meeting with a couple of people about potential events / distribution – watch this space.
  • Catching up on bookkeeping. Fun times.
  • Also cleaning the office. More fun times.
  • Really truly vlog. I’m nervous which is causing procrastination, but I’ll get there 🙂