Hi All! Today I want to share with you the news that I will be attending two events in North Carolina next month in September. I haven’t done an event for some time now, and I am very much looking forward to sharing the news of Night Buddies Go Sky High’s release, and meeting as many readers as possible!
The first event I will be attending is the Bookmarks Books and Authors Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, from September 10-12. This is a very exciting event for children’s authors especially, and there will be a lot of fun activities for kids to enjoy! The program for this year’s festival describes the event as follows:
“Bookmarks is the Triad’s literary resource for connecting readers with authors. The Winston-Salem based nonprofit produces the Carolinas’ largest annual Festival of Books and Authors, an Authors in Schools program, and a series of Author Talks presenting bestselling and award-winning writers. In 2015, Bookmarks created a Summer Reading Program to encourage K-12 students across North Carolina to respond to books through written, visual, or video responses.”
This festival heavily promotes the idea of getting more kids to fall in love with reading, which is exactly the vision I had when I came up with the “Boys Who Read,” campaign. Encouraging a young generation of boys (and girls) to fall in love with books instead of only focusing on their iPads and video games is something I, and Bookmarks, believe will empower and strengthen them. The festival is completely free to attend (though some discussion panels require tickets, visit their website for more details) and will be an excellent opportunity for authors and readers to connect!
And if you weren’t already convinced to attend, David Baldacci is giving the opening keynote. Needless to say, this festival is going to be huge.
I am also going to be attending #SIBA15 in Raleigh, North Carolina from September 18-20! This is a tradeshow for southern independent booksellers to meet authors, and hopefully discover new, fresh books! The schedule of events for the weekend can be found here.
I can’t wait to get out there and meet other authors, booksellers, and readers this coming month. Let me know in the comments below, or on Twitter/Facebook if you are planning on making it out!
I was fortunate to be invited to do a live reading of my newest book, Night Buddies Go Sky High, at the store Books to be Red on Ocracoke Island, NC last week, and it was one of the best experiences I’ve had since the book released earlier this year. A close-knit, enthusiastic group of both children and parents came out to listen to my reading, and through that experience I had the opportunity to take on an entirely different perspective of my book.
Marketing a book seems to be all about the Internet these days. You have to do blog tours, keep up-to-date on Twitter and Facebook, send out e-mails, and all kinds of things that allow you to interact with readers—but Internet interaction can only take you so far. When you get the chance to hear someone laugh at a particularly funny scene or line, watch their eyes light up as you imitate character’s voices, and have the chance to answer their questions or talk about the characters face-to-face, that is when you really feel as though you’ve passed your book on from being your creation, to being something for other people to love.
As an independently published author, it can be more difficult to set up in-person readings, you’ll have to foot any travel expenses, and you might not get the giant crows showing up the way they do for best-selling authors—but let me tell you, doing a live reading is worth all of those difficulties. I’ve had the opportunity to read in schools, libraries, and independent bookstores like Books to be Red, and no matter how big or small the crowd, I always walk away glad to have gone through with it. Connecting with readers is one of the most rewarding parts of being an author, and no connection is more intimate than one established in a live reading.
If anyone who came to my reading on Ocracoke Island is reading this, thank you so much for taking the time to come listen to me read. If any other independent authors are reading this, look into setting up a live reading as soon as possible; you’ll have a chance to market your book the old-fashioned way, by connecting with individuals person-to-person, not computer-to-computer.
Have you ever attended a live reading? Tell me about your experience in the comments below!
It’s the day I’ve been looking forward to for awhile now. Yesterday, my third children’s book, Night Buddies Go Sky, was officially released!
In all the excitement leading up to this day, I thought I would share with you all exactly how the Night Buddies series came about. And if I’m being truthful, I have to give credit to my son John. We used to read together every night, but one night when it was late and he wanted the stories to continue I advised him to start making up his own adventures, and that’s how Crosley the red crocodile was born! We came up with Crosley stories all the time until he became a member of our family.
Once John was already grown, I realized that between Crosley and my son John, I had the makings of a book in my hands . . . and that began the long journey to where I am today. I had written short stories in college, and have been a long-time book addict, but deciding to write a children’s book was the biggest writing project I had ever taken on. It became clear to me early on, however, that there were only two, very basic things I needed to make the Crosley book a reality—always use more imagination than I first thought to use, and write the thing every day until it’s done. The combination of these two things has gotten me through three books so far!
In Night Buddies Go Sky High, our two Night Buddies John and Crosley fly over to the Pineapple Cheesecake Factory to top off Crosley’s supply. Once there, they find Big Foot Mae staring at a mysterious new dot in the sky . . . and it turns out Brother Crenwinkle has seen it too! They decide to investigate the thing, so they modify their racing blimp for extreme altitude and take off into the stratosphere. What they find will absolutely warp your mind!
In honor of the book’s release, I’m giving away five free books on Goodreads. All you have to do to enter the drawing is click on the link below and click “Enter to Win!” The giveaway will be open through April 16, so be sure to tell your friends to enter too!
Finally, I just want to say a thank you to all my readers. Your support has been instrumental in continuing to bring Crosley to life book after book, and we both hope you’ll enjoy this new adventure!
The big moment is here. We are finally announcing the Night Buddies Go Sky High official release date! Drum roll please . . .
The third installment of the Night Buddies series is going to be available for you all to read on March 16!
We over here at the Night Buddies Headquarters could not be more excited to share this next adventure with you, and we can’t wait for you to find out all that John and Crosley have been up to! To get you excited about this next book, we’re sharing with you some of the early reviews it has received so far.
“Lively and wildly imaginative. A wacky adventure. Crosley, the likable crocodile and his buddy John go on a zany nighttime romp through the stratosphere.” Randi Mrvos, Editor of Kid’s Imagination Train
“The Stratosphere’s the limit in this third Night Buddies adventure, as John Degraffenreidt and Crosley the red crocodile must go up up up to check out a mysterious roving dot in the sky that just might have it in for them. Their racing blimp may defy the laws of physics but it obeys the prime rule of storytelling: unstoppable action equals lots of fun. Sands Hetherington again combines expressive language, whimsical inventions, abundant delicious (and disgusting) food, loyal pals and wicked foes, in Night Buddies Go Sky High.” Lynne Barrett, author of Magpies and co-editor of Birth: A Literary Companion
“Overall, Night Buddies Go Sky High is a cute book for kids with fun illustrations!” Billy B., blogger for Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer
“Where Night Buddies Go Sky High excels is in the pacing of the story–lots of lingering time to laugh, but equal momentum time to make the adventure exciting for children. Hetherington is so adept at writing for children that his books become instant classics–and that means that after lights out, parents will tiptoe in and grab some of this confection for themselves! Highly recommended.” Grady Harp, Reviewer for Literary Aficionado and Amazon Hall of Fame Reviewer
“This science fiction book will probably help young readers’ minds drift away for awhile into a fantasy of what can happen in a blimp in the sky […] My review = 5 out of 5 stars.” Jill H., blogger for Book Review Travels
So remember, on March 16, be sure to pick up a copy of Night Buddies Go Sky High! You will be able to find it as a print book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and at all fine bookstores near you. It will also be conveniently available as an ebook on Amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, iBookstore, and elsewhere!
Fall is here and with it another round of the North Carolina Writer’s Network Fall Conference. The Conference offers a chance for writers of all skill levels and stages of development to network, hone their craft, and develop the marketing skills to take their writing to the next level. I (along with Crosley and John) will be attending and look forward to seeing you there, especially if you are a writer. Writing conferences like this give me an opportunity to learn new ideas and perspectives on the field and craft of writing. With eBooks, social media, and more, writing is not the same as it used to be!
I’ll also be unveiling the cover for my third book in the Night Buddies book series, so feel free to stop my booth to check it out! (Hint: It involves flying and possibly a dessert!) If you cannot make it to the conference, we’ll be revealing the cover in an upcoming blog, so stay tuned!
Information about the Conference
The North Carolina Writers’ Network 2014 Fall Conference runs November 21-23 at the Sheraton Charlotte Hotel in uptown Charlotte. Fall Conference attracts hundreds of writers from around the country and offers workshops and master classes in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, lectures and panels on publishing and finding an agent, and the opportunity to have your manuscript reviewed by literary agents and editors. Allan Gurganus will give the Keynote Address. Saturday’s luncheon features Joseph Bathanti, North Carolina’s seventh poet laureate, and the Annual Banquet on Saturday night features the inimitable Wilton Barnhardt. Register now at www.ncwriters.org.
For those of you that use Twitter, the hashtag for the conference is @Writingeststate.
(Special Note: The keynote speaker happens to be a fellow Civil War history buff like me! To learn more about my interest on the Civil War check out a recent interview I did for Ramblings of a Coffee-Addicted Writer. )