Friday’s Fun Find: Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Think Positive for Kids!

2013-10-10 13.05.44Opening a box with books never gets old, but opening this box was especially fun. I couldn’t wait to read the stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Think Positive for Kids!

I knew a couple friends had stories inside, and it’s always fun for me to see a byline I know and read that story. Sioux Roslawski, who often drops in to comment here, had a story called, “Help By the Bagful” which just about had me in tears. Her story reminded me of an old Andy Griffith episode when Opie wouldn’t give his money to a charity fund. He was saving up for something special. Which just goes to prove that generosity doesn’t just happen in make-believe, but also in the hearts of little boys in Sioux’s class.

Writer friend, Beth Davis Cato (I mentioned her latest success last August) also had a story called, “I Pledge Allegiance.” Her 7th grade courage and patriotism was so inspiring, I got choked up all over again.

Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Think Positive for Kids will go on sale at the end of October. For that Fun Friday, I’ll have a book giveaway and tell you about my story. And maybe a few more encouraging stories. Honestly, these are such good stories–and even grown-up kids need to think positive!

What Not To Do Wednesday on Book-Signings

ImageFirst of all, grasshopper, I’d like to say that largely, the book-signing was a success! I sold plenty of books and had quite a chunk of change to donate to my church. And I had a ton of fun, visiting with new friends like Rowena Cala and old friends like Debra Mayhew (and her cute cohorts!).

But of course, being the very human me that I am, I made mistakes. And I shall go forth and learn from them. Perhaps you will learn a thing or two as well.

One cannot, of course, control the weather. But one must use common sense when it comes to weather conditions when a book-signing event is held in the great outdoors. 

For instance, if it’s very, very windy, one’s sign (a glorious sign, by the way) might fall over. Constantly. And one might find oneself tending to a sign. Again and again and again. Unless one had the forethought to bring something as simple as Packing Tape. Or perhaps stable objects to bolster the sign (Books and a rather large purse are not as stable as you might think. After all, I had to sell the books.).

I had plenty of suggestions from the peanut gallery as to what I should have done about the sign. And I can tell you what I thought about doing with the sign. But ultimately, I just bore up (and the sign fell down) until the wind swooshed out of the festival. (Approximately one hour before it was officially over.)

Also, if it’s very, very warm (along with the wind), one might not want to bring chocolate kisses. (Not that folks will not eat smushy chocolate kisses. They will, very happily. In fact, I think kids rather prefer gooey chocolate. I’m not so sure their mothers feel the same way.)

The most interesting What Not To Do, though, involved my preconceived notions about Chicken Soup for the Soul books. I assumed that most people understood how these books worked–that the books were a collection of stories, and my story would be one among a hundred others.

Many people were familiar with the brand, but there were just as many who were being introduced to these books for the first time. And at first, I didn’t quite understand that people didn’t quite understand. So I’m afraid, grasshopper, that I wasn’t really doing my job.

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Rowena buys a book.

At some point, I realized that it was not enough to just sit there, smiling prettily and saying that I had a story in each of the books I was selling and hoping the sign would work for me. I had to…oh, what’s the word? 

Oh, yeah. SELL the book. When I stopped long enough to talk about Chicken Soup books, explaining how I happened to be in them–that I was a writer–and talked about my stories, I connected with folks. It’s true that I sold a handful of books to friends who came specifically to buy a book from me. But I sold the other handful to people who were passing by, folks I didn’t know (or know well) who were “hooked” by my individual stories rather than the book itself.

So, bottom line, don’t have a book-signing unless you’re prepared to do the selling that goes along with it. Your voice might be a bit worn out, your smile might feel a bit bedraggled, but when all is said and done, grasshopper, it’s well worth it!

 

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, It’s Off To Write We Go (After We Visit the Cows)

ImageA few posts ago, I mentioned that writing–and writing often–begets better writing. And that inspired me to pen “Becoming a Better Writer: Easier Than You Think” for my last Muffin musing. ICYMI, you can check it out here. (Public Service Announcement: ICYMI stands for In Case You Missed It. It’s embarrassing how long I stared at those letters till I figured it out.)

And for those of you struggling to become a better “tell-a-story-in-an-essay” writer, I’m passing along Linda O’Connell’s excellent tips, over at the Pen and Prosper blog. I read on her blog that she’s giving away a Chicken Soup book to one of the lucky commenters at her Pen and Prosper post. And in my experience, there is nothing like reading 100 Chicken Soup stories to get the feel for writing a Chicken Soup type story/essay.

I’m also including a heads up to the Green River Writers Contest. I like to support writers’ groups and Kentucky is a lovely state. Plus, whatever you’ve been working on to become a better writer is sure to find a category in this contest. (Check out the guidelines for fees and publishing rights.)

Lastly, because all (writing) work and no play makes Cathy a dull girl, I took Cathy-on-a-Stick out on a, uh…uh…whatchamacallit.

(Now see? Writing a sentence like that makes me realize I need to get back to work.)