Monday, June 24, 2013

Getting Attention...

It has been an amazing week in the Friends…Lessons of Life journey.  I mailed books to UVU (Utah Valley University), Seagull Book, and a distributing company.  My reviews increased, and I did my first speaking engagement.  So my job is now to spread the word and to get my book out.  How do you get attention from someone who gets several requests (not going to say hundreds because that would overwhelm me) so I will just think they get several every day.  It’s like sending out a resume.  You have to find a way to make sure whoever is giving you their 15 seconds of time by looking at your resume, something will peak and you are put in a “MAYBE” or even “YES” pile.  So it goes with books.

One of my goals doing this, is that I wanted to do it debt free.  In my research I didn’t want to do the printing of 1,000 books and then have to try to sell them.  I decided on the POD which means Print on Demand.   People can go to Amazon and order one copy and it is sent to them.  What I love is that I can track sales from here and people can write a review and leave their thoughts.

The week started out with 13 reviews, but I set a goal of 20 by week’s end.  Here it is Saturday and I have 19 reviews, so looking for one more.  Because the people at the above companies have never heard of me, I feel the reviews will help peak their interest to want to find out more and actually read the book.

I also love the thoughts and what everyone has taken from the book.  One little 11 year old wrote she liked Chapter 1 the best because I talked about when I was a child and she was a child now. For some it has impacted their friend relationships.  Have they been kind?  Have the inspired anyone?  Or hurt anyone not knowing it?  Some it just gives them hope to keep preserving at life. I love my reviewers!!!

Next time I will go into why I have chosen UVU to try and place my books.  Thanks again for all your support and love!!  Get ready for the ride!!!

Monday, June 17, 2013

First Speaking Assignment...

This Thursday evening is my first speaking assignment.  The theme of the night is "Turning Lemons into Lemonade."  I truly hope they have Lemonade at the event. It's my favorite!!!

I thought I would share a bit of  insight on what I think I may speak on.  When I wrote my book, I simply wanted to be able to inspire people.  Don't give up and keep  pushing forward. I have learned the very hard way, that life is a journey.  There are those however, who see it as a competition and a check off list.

When I heard words like, "My life was so much harder than yours" it makes me sad, I wonder if I got my point across?

I used to think that if you had a trial or struggle it was because you were being punished.  That is what my mom taught me. So that is how I looked at my life struggles.  I didn't understand why I was being punished so long and I didn't understand what I had done that was so horrible.  Then one day a friend said to me, "Laura I don't know about you, but the God I believe in is a very loving God.  One who forgives us, loves us and teaches us."  They are words I will forever be grateful for.

I now see a trial or a struggle as a blessing of some sort.  Maybe I don't see the blessing at once, but in time I do.  When I first moved back to Utah a year ago, my housing fell through and all the apartments and rooms for rent were full.  Friends had no room for me.  I ended up staying in a hotel and it quickly was eating through my money.  Shortly after coming back, I was visiting friends one night and felt truly rejected.  Especially when I heard, "You should go back to Texas where you were happy."  I went to my car feeling as though I had been thrown out with the trash.  I felt dumb and stupid and humiliated and thought, "What did you do this time Laura?"  I said a little prayer and asked for Heavenly Father to indeed let me know this is where I needed to be now.  I felt like I had before many times in my life all alone in life.

Then my phone rang.  It was my friend Nancy in Michigan.  She told me she was just calling to tell me she loved me like a sister and reminded me we were--in the Gospel.  She has always been my biggest rooter, always believing in me.  When I got off the phone that night, I  knew everything was going to be okay.  I went to a hotel and prayed again. But this time I prayed to find the right ward for me.  The next day, I was at a health food  store, and an old friend walked in.  I had not seen her in years.  We talked and long story short, she was the instrument that guided me to where I needed to be.

So when it comes to trials in your life, how do you overcome them?  I no longer look at them as mountains to climb.  My trials and struggles are now just obstacles in my path I must continue to chip away at.  And when I look back I can only be grateful because I realize now there was a lesson learned in my life.

I believe I have figured out a small formula that I will be sharing on Thursday evening with the sisters of Relief Society.  If you want to know what it is before my next blog, check out the book in Chapter 4 -- Putting Aside the Running Shoes.  Read Tim's essay.  That little essay not only got him selected to run with the Olympic Torch, it is now a formula for turning Lemons into Lemonade!!!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

And the Stories Begin......

The day before my book release party, I saw this thought come across my news feed on Facebook:

Have you ever felt beaten up emotionally, like life has kicked you to the curb? Even if you find yourself in a place you didn’t quite plan on, hold on to the things that matter most. God is always mindful of you, and your faith can carry you even when you cannot see the way.

My first thought is THAT IS SOOO ME!!  I thought about my book and the journey it had taken me on so far.  I was so excited for the book to be done and being able to celebrate with my friends at the book signing.  After all they were my friends, they would be excited to support me right?  Then the declines started to come and often I would hear the words “little party.”  I felt silly.  Maybe I was just tooting my own horn.  “Little party” made me think maybe I was hoping and imagining for more than what I thought the book was capable of doing.

My HOPE was that I could inspire others on their journeys through life. That is what I wanted. I know how hard it is.  And I know how hard it was to write this book and expose myself to the world. I was propping myself for the backlash from strangers, not friends.

Here was my reply to the thought on my news feed:

I need to share this one.....this is exactly what I have had to do in my life!!! When I began to share my story with others they told me I should write a book.....I laughed. I didn't think I could ever inspire anyone. But I know I have. The book is finally done (after 11 years), published and released. Tomorrow is the book release party!!! This statement is just so true.....we have to have FAITH!!!

Then on Sunday morning, I received the sweetest email. 

Hello, I just had to tell you, it caught my attention how after 11 years you are releasing your book!!! Congratulations, you inspire me!! I started my autobiography, and put it away, cause I shed so many tears, it's painful the things we go through life we carry deep in our hearts, but once it's written it takes another form!!! I want to get a copy, where will I find one? I am still working on mine, and will continue till I too will finish it! Thanks for the inspiration!  I. Frias

When I told my friend about this, she told me I needed to keep track of these.  So I thought I would share some here on my blog starting with this one.

But my question to myself has been why must our “friends” say the things they do?  Why must we try and manipulate people, or belittle them in small ways to make them feel foolish? Is it to make them feel better about themselves?  Is it jealousy?  Or do they really not know how hurtful their words are? I will never know the answer to those questions.  But I do know, I will always try to be supportive in the hopes and dreams of others.  You never know when a “silly little idea” turns into a dream of a life time!!   Whatever your dream is, you are the only one who can fulfill it!!  Just have Faith!!!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Book Signing Day!!!

WOW!!!  Today was so much fun and more than I could have ever expected!!!  I figured we had close to 60 people or so there today.  There was plenty of food and chatting and fun!!  It was great to have some of the people from the book there!!  One guest even went around and got THEIR autographs!!  Too funny!!! 

The party started at 2, and I think  I finally left about 5:30.  Our last guest came about 5ish.  Here are some pictures from the shindig!!!  Thank you again to all those who came!!!

Book Signing Party 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Behind the Scenes of a Book Release Party......

I thought today I would take you behind the scenes of a book release party since it is TOMORROW!!  YIKES!!! .  I have researched different ideas on the internet.  The most common and successful book releases was to have them at a bookstore with wine and cheese.  I didn't like that idea.  In talking to a friend she said, "Let's do an Open House."  So that is what we are doing, a small open house.

Place: The place for our party, will be a friend's home, and her backyard.  There will be plenty of chairs for people sit and mingle and eat.

Party theme and colors:  Since my book cover is mainly orange, we are doing a blue and orange party, balloons, flowers, tablecloths will all be used as decorations.  I did find these cute flower cupcakes we are going to try and do.  Which ones do you like?  I like the arrangement on the left, with the cupcakes on the right.  We will see what we come up with. UPDATE:  We are scratching this idea....but still they are cute!!!

Guest List: I took my mailing list, FB Friends, and  church family list and went through to compile  the final list. Interestingly enough, as I was going through it and sent out the invite others contacted me saying "I didn't get my invite."  They were accidentally missed and I apologized.  One friend said, "I didn't know your book was out, I just ordered it!"  Good for me!!  Then I asked him if he wanted an invite to the party and he said yes.  Remember a guest list is not a final, go with the flow.  If a friend wants to come and is missed and if you can invite them DO  SO!!

Name tags: Most book release parties probably do not need name tags, but we are having name tags.  Why? Because some of the people with chapters in the book will be there.  This is as much their story as it is mine, and I want others to get to know them.  So they will have the blue name tags, and everyone else the orange. If you are coming and see a blue name tag, ask them to share their story.

Food: We wanted light refreshments.  Veggie and fruit trays are a given.  We decided on small sandwiches and chips.  For desert is going to be the best brownies you have ever eaten!!!  Maybe I will leave that surprise for the party.  It is good to entice people a bit, and then leave them hanging.  But you do not want to miss the brownies!!  So come to the party!!!

Books:  There will be plenty of books for sale, WE HOPE!  Some have already bought theirs, others are waiting for the party.  Either way we will get you a signed copy.  (Note:  I think it is too funny I am signing books!!  I have always collected autographs! )  We are trying to come up with a unique way for people to not lose their books.  One suggestion was to put their name in it.  Any other ideas?

Layout:  We will have people come in through an entry way, sign a guest book, get their name tag, and buy a book if they need one.  Then they will come into the living area where I get a hug!!!  It will be a hugging kind of day.  We will have a short presentation of the people in the book who are present, and then will start the book signings.  I want to give people a chance to mingle and meet everyone.

I think the party is pretty simple but appropriate for what we are doing.  Because I have already started working on my next book, Santa's Little Helper I will introduce them to my next project!!

Remember this is your party and your celebration!  For me, friends have heard about this book for many many years.  Early in the beginning of the book I sent a chapter called "The Bully" for people to read.  They loved the chapter!!!  That is what gave me the hope to continue on with my journey and finish the book.

For anyone going down this is not easy.  The more I wrote about the lessons I had learned in my life, the more therapeutic I realized it was. It helped me deal with alot of my past.  Interesting enough I learned at the end of the writing, I heard about the stories that had been told about me.  So for any of my descendants that one day wonder about their Aunt Laura, hopefully they will find my book and know my story, my struggles and who I was and how I became the person I am.  Not the person everyone else decided I was.  I still have a long ways to go in my journey, but I am getting there one step at a time and one journey at a time.