Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Finding My Tribe ~ by Guest Blogger Darlene Franklin

Award-winning author and speaker Darlene Franklin loves music, needlework, reading and reality TV. Talia, a Lynx point Siamese cat, proudly claims Darlene as her person. Seaside Romance and Prodigal Patriot, both historical romance set in New England, became available from Barbour this summer. Visit Darlene’s blog for information on book giveaways and upcoming titles.

Finding My Tribe

One of the buzz words circling the writing community nowadays is the concept of building our “tribe,” finding that core group of readers who in turn will enlist other readers.

In the five years since my first book, Romanian Rhapsody, came out I have grabbed every opportunity to make myself known that presented itself. I created my own blog, I appear on other people’s blogs, I participate in several writers’ loops, I’m on Facebook. As a result, I have discovered fellow writers and even some readers do recognize my name.

Yay! But what next? How do I find readers who (let’s be honest here) aren’t also writers?

I found a partial answer in an unexpected place. My new church suggested I sell books at the annual crafts fair. I agreed, then almost fainted when they quoted me the cost for the booth—$30. A part of me wanted to refuse, perhaps out of pride. I had never paid for a book event before. Why start now? Would readers even frequent an event for shoppers looking at handcrafted toys, homemade soap, sculptures, and adorable holiday clothes?

They did. In fact, I did better than most of those other booths—perhaps because my product was different. It only took a few questions. “Do you like to read? What do you like to read?” and launch a discussion on our common passion—books. I met teachers and writers, mothers and teenagers, church members and strangers. I added to my tribe.

Look what can happen when I don’t put God—or my writing career—in a box.

Bridge to Love

“I must accept the parson’s word about what
transpired between you.” Papa spoke directly to Beatrice.

“But I will not suffer that young farmer to speak against me. What did he say?”

“Surely that is a private matter between the two young people,” Mrs. Cabot said.

“He said”—Beatrice raised her voice over Mrs. Cabot’s objection—“that no matter what his feelings toward me may be, he refused to ask me to act against your wishes.” Her voice came close to breaking into tears.

“That is well.” Papa stared at the tea cup in his hand as if
ready to throw it against the fireplace. “These are my wishes.
I forbid you to speak to him or see him again. The man is not
fit to be the husband of my daughter.” He returned the cup to
Mrs. Cabot. “I’m afraid I have no taste for tea this afternoon.
Come, Beatrice, we are finished here.”


Rebecca Burgener said...

Youch! What a powerful scene.

That is awesome that your church invited you to set up a booth at the craft fair, and that it went so well.

Darlene Franklin said...

The Fair was an unexpected blessing. Thanks for stopping by, Rebecca.

Carla Gade said...

"How do I find readers who aren’t also writers?" Excellent question, Darlene. We don't want to just preach to the choir so to say. I love that you found an opportunity at your church fair. Thinking outside the box is an excellent suggestion and it looks like you found a true blessing in that opportunity.

Kameko said...

Wonderful interview, Darlene. I'm sorry I missed the craft fair, as it would have given me a chance to say "HI" and pick up another signed book of yours. The excerpt from "Bridge to Love" certainly grabs my interest and makes me wish I had the book in my hands right now!



Darlene Franklin said...

Me too, Beverly! They're coming sometime this month. I've been promised.

Kathy K said...

I decided to do that with my poetry and will be having my 2nd booth this Saturday. I have my poetry printed and framed for sale along with my books.

It hasn't been a big money maker for me, but as you said, it has given me great exposure to new readers.