Saturday, September 22, 2012

Book tour report

The first event was a National Association of Memoir Writers roundtable with Linda Joy Meyers on the subject of:

Keeping Your Book Alive Part I and II: Advice for authors who Need a New Publisher; Low-cost/no-cost Marketing Ideas 

I sat with Mike O’Mary, owner and publisher at, while we talked about what to do if your publisher goes out of business and what it's like to "start over" with a new publisher. And as you probably know already the loss of my original publisher was a blessing in disguise. Mike and I met for the first time just before we went on the air, and he is the dream of Dream of Things.

During the roundtable, Mike and I also talked about what it takes to promote your memoir in today's marketplace, including a variety of low-cost and no-cost ideas that any author can use to promote his/her book. Here’s the link to this roundtable. Mike has a wealth of information about ways to promote your book.

Mike orchestrated the next four book tour events for his other memoir author, Dina Kucera, (Everything I Never Wanted To Be), and me.

We each read last Saturday night at the Chicago Writer’s Association’s Essay Fiesta (part of the weekend's Chicago Writers Conference) in a banquet room at the Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery in downtown Chicago. It was first time meeting Dina as well, and it was love at first site. There were six other non-fiction authors reading at this event.

The next three events were on Sunday, starting at seven in the morning with a WGN radio chat on the Sunday Papers with Rick Kogan. We had no idea in advance about what he’d ask, so Mike, Dina, and I just talked with Rick like we’ve known each other forever. And, having just listened to the show, I think it turned out pretty well. Plus, Rick kept plugging our books throughout. How bad could that be?

We all went to breakfast afterward and then Dina and her husband, John, and my husband, Bob, and I took an hour-long architectural cruise on the Chicago River. The architecture is wonderful – the tour guide not so much. I felt like he was doing an hour-long non-stop performance piece. He even played harmonica for us at the end. Plus it was very hot.

Sears Tower in the back

Sunday afternoon we spoke to a group at the Open Books Bookstore – also in downtown Chicago. I’m originally from Chicago and this venue is not very far from where my dad had his textile business. Since only Dina and I appeared we had time to read twenty minutes or so each.

And the last event, Sunday night, was held in a western Chicago suburb, Batavia – forty minutes from downtown at the impressive Water Street Art Studios. In all the years I lived in the Chicago area, I had never heard of Batavia. We were part of a group of five who read poems and nonfiction. A video of a theatrical piece closed the event. Waterline Writers holds these events on the third Sunday of every month. 

Mike best describes how each of these readings went for me:

“I have seen Madeline Sharples read from her memoir and talk about her son's suicide at multiple events. Afterwards, people always come up to Madeline to tell her "My son killed himself too" or "My husband committed suicide," etc. Sometimes the people can't even talk. They are in tears, and they just want to hold Madeline's hand for a minute or ask for a hug. Clearly, there are a lot of people who have experienced the suicide of a loved one. And clearly, they don't have many opportunities to share their grief. That's why they are quick to embrace Madeline when they hear her story. They connect, and they always thank her for sharing her story.”

Not only is Mike a super publisher and book marketer, he is an eloquent writer. I thank him immensely for arranging this tour and great opportunity to share my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On with others.

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