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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Happy Birthday, Powder Necklace!

A year ago today, Powder Necklace was released!! Thanks to all who have cheered me along on this journey -- the Facebook posts, tweets and encouraging emails have been fuel; and to the writers, editors & friends who took the time to sit me down and give me advice, open up their networks to me, and share opportunities with me. The learning curve has been sharp and quick.

The 10 practical things I've learned this year are:

1. At a book signing, never ever stay seated behind the table and wait for people to come to you. Get up and get a book/promotional postcard in as many hands & faces as possible.

2. Always keep a promotional postcard on you & don't be shy about giving them out.

3. Don't be intimidated by the person you're trying to sell a book to (Amish people like books too)

4. Don't be intimidated by the opportunity. If they invited you to be part of it, you deserve to be there.

5. Your friends and family should not be expected to attend every single event you're having to promote the book. They have a copy already. Just let them know about the events that are really important to you.

6. Bring an envelope of singles to events so you/people don't have to wait or hunt for change. (I need to get better about this one.)

7. Keep it all in perspective. Yes, you must shill, but you also must chill.

8. Reach out to and support other authors. It's good kharma, plus they understand what you're going through on a completely other level.

9. Keep your eyes peeled for new opportunities to promote your work. Actively seek out book clubs/organizations/movements that would be into the themes of your book and pitch yourself as a speaker/panelist, etc; stay on top of your community events calendar.

10. Set up a Google Alert for yourself and book so you can stay on top of reviews and other mentions of your work and respond.

Thanks again for following along. It's been a dream come true.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

All in the Family

The National Ghana Parade Council's Distinguished Tongue Series launch and book signing at Nectar Wine Bar was fantastic. After nearly a year promoting Powder Necklace (the book turns 1 on April 6th!!), I never know who will show up to an event. My family and friends all have the book and have more than showed their support, trooping to different venues across the city, buying multiple copies, and spreading the word to their friends. It ended up being a mega-reunion for me.

A great friend from college that I haven't seen in years Facebooked to let me know he would be coming, so I was psyched to see him, but I was not expecting to see my play cousins from back in the day! When my parents came to this country, they formed a tight community of fellow Ghanaians that became our extended family and three of the kids I grew up playing with in upstairs bedrooms while our parents talked politics in Ga downstairs were in the house. It was so crazy to see my one cousin in particular whom I had not seen since she was like 12! I almost wanted to snatch the glass of wine from her hand, but alas, she's a woman now.

After I hugged fellow author Ayesha Harruna Attah and started to set my books up on the table, another ghost from my past strode into the room from behind the Employees Only area. Now one of Nectar's directors, she used to be my boss at one of my first jobs out of college!

Then a gentleman approached to let me know he had come to find out if I was related to Professor Abeeku Brew-Hammond (the same Uncle Abeeku I thank in the last sentence of my acknowledgments at the back of the book). My dad's little brother teaches in the College of Engineering at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and this young man was one of his students. But what was so cool about meeting him was that he had designed an energy-efficient car model under the encouragement of my uncle, and I remember Uncle Abeeku emailing us about this student's good work, complete with a jpeg of the car.

As I bounced around the room catching up with fam and friends from the past, and the contingent of friends who graciously listened as I repeated the spiel they've heard many times over, I felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be at that moment.

The Council did an amazing job creating an easygoing yet purposeful networking vibe. Business cards were swapped, funds were raised for a scholarship fund, and in keeping with the spirit of the series--a celebration of the many diverse languages spoken in Ghana and across Africa, with a mind toward encouraging dialogue and unity--a multitude of tongues were represented. Even though I got to the venue after a full day of work, I stayed long after the signing, chilling with old and new friends.

Anyway, I promise to post pics once I get them. My camera's flash died several months ago so I haven't been on top of taking pics at events as I should.