12 Tips for the SHY Picture Book Author at Book Signings

As a child I was so shy that my mother was always thinking up well-meaning ways to get me out of my shell. For example, she signed me up for guitar lessons in the fifth grade in the hopes that some day I would be the it-girl at parties who would pull out her guitar and lead the gang in a rousing round of camp-fires songs. I did learn to play the guitar, but I preferred playing quietly in my room.

Over the years, I’ve learned to overcome my shyness and though I still prefer plucking my guitar in the quiet of my house, I love sharing my stories with others at book signings and other author events.

Still, when I sit down at the table in the book store or other venue, the deep inner-shyness still occasionally overcomes me. So now, for all those other shy-ish authors, here are 12 tips for making the most at book events and having fun in the process. I hope they are helpful. And if you have any tips to add, please share in the comments!

TIP #1: Use signage as an introduction. This will make it clear, without your having to say a thing, that you are an author doing a book signing.

TIP #2: Wear something colorful or that makes a special statement. This is good way to make a little splash, again, without having to say a thing.  It can also become a great conversation starter – or at least good for some smiles – if you wear something that coordinates with the books. For example, I wear a pink boa at signings for Diva Delores and the Opera House Mouse.

TIP #3: Come prepared with something that can serve as an ice breaker.  Having something at your display that will arouse the curiosity of passers-by, such as sample sketches from the book or swag, is a great way to engage potential book-buyers who may stop to take a look and you can start a conversation with something easy like, “Aren’t those sketches neat? They are from my new book…” Or, for my newest book Little Ewe, I thought a nice conversation starter would to be knitting some fun swag. I thought it would attract the attention of knitters and others who love crafts and who might also be interested in books. And it did! Invariably, they asked, “What are you knitting?” and just like that, the conversation was off to a lovely start as we shared our love of knitting and books! 

TIP #4: Smile and say hello.  Simple and effective.  Need I say more?

TIP #5: Follow up that “hello” with a simple invitation to look at your books. It can be something as simple as, “I’m the author (or illustrator) of these books. Feel free to take a look.”

TIP #6: Ahead of time think of a short fun fact to share about each book. For example, you might share the inspiration behind the book or something about the illustrator or the book’s dedication.  

TIP #7: Make medal-shaped post-its with names of any awards your books have won to tack onto the covers.  This is another example of letting signage do some of the talking. 

TIP #8: Breathe. Drink plenty of water.

TIP #9: Have printouts on hand for author visits etc. (Just in case.)

TIP #10: Say thank you. After the signing, thank the book store owner for inviting you and offer to sign any remaining books. The next day, send a thank you email as well, planting the seed that you’d love to do a signing when your next book releases.

TIP #11: Share a couple of pictures on your socials celebrating the event.  This is a variation on the “letting the signage do some of the talking” principle and a great way to get people excited about your books. 

TIP #12: Pat yourself on the back for a job well done!

LITTLE EWE Book Launch Party Craft: MAKE YOUR OWN FLUFFY LITTLE EWE!

All my book launch parties up until now have been in-person, but this year is different! This year I’m having a virtual party, but one that I hope will feel just as fun as the in-person version. To give it that “in-person” feel, I’m keeping all the elements of an in-person party including a story time (of course!), games, a snack (virtual of course) and a craft!

I’ll explain about the snack as we get closer, but I wanted to share the craft today so you can be sure to have all the items on hand for the party. The materials are easy to gather and if you are local, it’ll be extra easy because I’m putting together party craft kits which you can pick up at The Town Book Store in Westfield, NJ starting later this week.

Now for the craft:

PARTY TIME CRAFT: MAKE YOUR OWN FLUFFY LITTLE EWE! 

Inspired by illustrator Tommy Doyle’s sweet rendering of Little Ewe with a red kerchief, our launch party craft will be to create our own Little Ewes. 

To make one, each child will need:

  • a cut out of lamb body (approx 2.5” x 1.5”) from card stock with three holes punched for legs and bow (as shown) 
  • two cotton balls
  • two six inch-long chenille sticks
  • a piece of yarn or ribbon (about 8 inches)
  • markers and glue. 

Here are the steps:

Begin by coloring in Little Ewe’s face on the cardboard body. Be sure to color in both sides.

Next, have each child thread the yarn through the hole at the top and tie into a bow. This will be Little Ewe’s “kerchief”.

Next, fold each 6” chenille stick in half and gently twist together to create sturdy legs, as shown.

Let each child thread a twisted strand through the front leg hole. Stop half way, then bend in half and twist (like you would a twist-tie) to secure in place.  Adjust the ends to form two short legs. Repeat for back leg hole.

Stretch and fluff the cotton balls. Then, using fingers or toothpicks, apply tacky glue to the front and back of the little lamb body and press. Let dry.

Baa-ahh! Your fluffy Little Ewe is finished and ready for a game of “Oh,where is Little Ewe?” (Rules for that can be found in the activity kit.

As a closing reminder, this is the adorable craft that I’ll be presenting at the Little Ewe Book Launch Party which will take place LIVE on my Author Facebook Page on Thursday, February 25th at 7pm eastern.  Here’s the event link for that or you can just “like” my Facebook author page and then you’ll be sure to get all the updates for this and other bookish things.  

You’re Invited to a VIRTUAL BOOK LAUNCH PARTY for LITTLE EWE!

Click here to get to the event page on Facebook. If you mark yourself as “interested” or “going”, then you will receive a reminder on Facebook so you don’t miss it. It can also be viewed after the event.

Who’s ready for a party? I am and so is Little Ewe. That’s why we’re inviting “ewe” to join us for a FACEBOOK LIVE BOOK PARTY on Thursday, February 25th at 7pm Eastern to celebrate the release of LITTLE EWE: THE STORY OF ONE LOST SHEEP (Beaming Books, February 23, 2021). Enjoy a reading, games, a virtual snack (inspired by Little Ewe’s taste buds) and a simple book-inspired craft. To access the party, simply stop by my Facebook Author Page at 7pm Eastern on the 25th.

BUT, WAIT. THERE’S MORE!!! Since SIGNED copies are part of the fun, I’m delighted to share that my local independent books store, The Town Book Store in Westfield New Jersey, will have copies available for purchase and I will come in and sign any books that are ordered through them. Anne, the owner, is even offering a 10% off the book if you mention the “LITTLE EWE DISCOUNT”.

If this interests you, please call the store or stop in to order LITTLE EWE. Be sure to explain that you would like to have the book signed by the author and pass along the names you’d like included. They will take the order and do the transaction. I will then come in and sign the book or books.  Depending on where you live, you can either pick them up in-store or curbside at no extra charge, or have them mailed. There will be a shipping fee to cover the cost of mailing, but they can give you those details. 

You can reach The Town Book Store at (908) 233-3535. You can also email the owner, Anne, at anne@townbookstore.com. Either way, remember to ask for the “LITTLE EWE DISCOUNT”.

NOTE: If you are long-distance and prefer to order from your own local book shop, I’m also happy to make arrangements for a signed book plate to be sent to you. Just let me know.

HOLD ON… THERE’S EVEN MORE!!! The craft is all ready! We’ll be making our own fluffy Little Ewes and then I’ll explain how they can be used to play a game. It’s all going to be so, so cute and so, so fun. (Just saying.) You can find craft instructions here. Local people can also pick up craft kits at the Town Book Store beginning February 10th and while supplies last. Here’s picture of the craft.

NOW BOOKING: Author Visits and Speaking Engagements

As part of getting reading for the release of LITTLE EWE next month, I’ve been spiffing up my blog. Part of that has included adding a new tab devoted to author visits and speaking engagements. You can access the tab using the menu option (if you are on your phone) or by simply looking at the tabs above if you are on your computer or laptop. I’m also sharing the information in today’s blog post. Looking forward to set up some great events in 2021! Here’s the info:

I would be delighted to visit your preschool, daycare, elementary school, community organization, church, MOPS or women’s group for a story time, author talk, workshop, or other creative program.

SCHOOL VISITS: For school/library visits, I can do any/all of the following (or something different that we work out together):

  • Read the story of your choice, using puppets to help with the story telling.
  • Celebrate the special ability of picture books to tell a story using both pictures and words! Demonstrate that neither is complete without the other.
  • Take the children on the engaging journey a book takes from inspiration to publication (and get them excited about their own writing too!)
  • Share interesting “artifacts” related to the book including early drafts and sketches, proofs, folded galleys and more.
  • Participate in a Q&A session 

AUTHOR TALKS: I love speaking with church groups, MOPS groups, community groups etc. Topics I’ve spoken on include (but are not limited to):

  • The power of story to connect us with others in meaningful ways
  • Behind the scenes: one author’s journey into books
  • The Gift: an inspirational message and testimony plus tips for sparking meaningful faith conversations with our children

WRITING TALKS:  I also love connecting with children’s book writers. My topics include:

  • Writing in rhyme
  • Making the most of the picture book format
  • Using feedback to improve your craft
  • Examining and employing different story structures in picture books
  • Exploring the ins and outs of the submission process 
  • and more…

For information on fees and scheduling, or any other questions you might have, contact me.

Happy Monday, all!

Summer Story Time on the Porch with Author Laura Sassi

Looking for something fun to do with the kiddos this summer – virtually? How about joining me on the porch every Tuesday at 10am throughout the month of July for a live reading of one of my books. Meet my storytelling companions – Stinky and Pinky, Diva Delores and Fernando, Little Owl and Rooster – and enjoy a special craft! I thought this an engaging way to add a little extra fun into what’s turning into a stay-at-home summer for many.

INTERESTED IN PURCHASING A COPY of one of my books? The books are available wherever books are sold, but if you live locally, and want to show support for an indie bookstore — The Town Bookstore if Westfield, NJ is offering 10% off any of my books (for a limited time only). Simply mention that you attended a Summer Story Time on the Porch with Laura Sassi.  If you’d like the books signed, mention that when you call and we’ll make it happen!  The phone number for The Town Book Store is (908) 233-3535. You can also email Anne, at anne@townbookstore.com

If you live long-distance and want a signed copy, you can still order from The Town Book Store, though there will be a shipping fee. Or, you can order from the vendor of your choice and let me know so we can make arrangements for a signed book plate to be sent to you.

Spring 2019 Book Events

Spring 2019 Book Events

Winter 2019 BOOK Events

 Saturday, February 2, 10:30 am.  Join me for an interactive LOVE IS KIND story time. Simple Valentine craft to follow. Watchung Booksellers, Montclair.

Thursday, February 14, 6:30 pm  It’s a special Valentine’s Day Pajama Story Time at the Kenilworth Public Library featuring LOVE IS KIND and a book-themed craft! Registration required – call or stop by the children’s desk.

Sunday, February 17, 2 pm.  Join me for an interactive LOVE IS KIND story time. Simple Valentine craft to follow. Tottenville Evangelical Free Church, Staten Island, NY (Little Owl’s first Staten Island Appearance!)

Saturday, March 9, 10:00 am.  Join me and DIVA DELORES at the Cranford Public Library for its 2nd annual Picture Book Palooza! Picture book authors and illustrators will be sharing books and crafts. This event, for children ages 4-8 and their families, will provide young readers with an opportunity to meet the creators of some truly amazing stories!

‘Tis the Season: Holiday Book Events with Laura Sassi

Holiday Book Events 2018 2

Saturday November 24, 2018 1 – 3 pm.  I’ll be reading my books and chatting with customers as part of Small Business Saturday at The Town Book Store in Westfield, NJ.

Sunday December 2nd, 2018 2:00– 4:00.  I’ll be reading LOVE IS KIND & signing all my books as part of Gingerbread Sunday at the Miller Cory House in Westfield, NJ.

Saturday December 8 2018 11- 1:00 pm.  Join me for festive readings of all my books with puppets, then shop at the Cranford United Methodist Church’s Christmas Shoppe and Soup Festival. Note: The festival is open from 10 – 3pm.

Books available for purchase & signing at all events.  

(Cash or check only December 2 & 8)

LOVE IS KIND Book Jacket Workshop: Thank you, Cranford Public Library!

IMG_7963.JPGI spent a LOVELY (and fashionable) hour at the Cranford Public Library this morning sharing LOVE IS KIND at my Book Jacket Workshop for kids ages 5+. First, we read the story. Then it was time for a quick history of book jackets, using my own jackets (and impeccable sense of style ) to demonstrate how book jackets developed from plain (like my brown corduroy) dust covers, protecting the fancy book beneath, to colorful (i.e. plaid jacket) covers meant to catch a readers eye like the adorable covers to GOODNIGHT ARK and LOVE IS KIND (Zonderkidz) … to even fancier (like that sequined jacket and the glittery cover of DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE (Sterling Publishing) )to really make a book stand out. And then it was time for them to make their own covers and they did a FANTASTIC job! I even had the pleasure of having several kids read their flap copy to me – with adorable bios! Thank you for having me, Lauren and staff, and thanks for putting so much effort and joy into your projects, kids! Here are a few pictures that capture the feel of the morning. Let’s keep spreading BOOK LOVE!

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Birthday Bash Memories: LOVE IS KIND

HOOT!  HOOT! PARTY TIME!  Yesterday afternoon, we celebrated the release my newest picture book, LOVE IS KIND (Zonderkidz, August 2018) at lovely book store gathering with lots of enthusiastic young readers and their families.  The celebration included meeting Little Owl, hearing the story, making owl masks, taking pictures in the DIY-photo booth that Miss A. and I created, and, of course, signing books!  Thank you to everyone who came and to Barnes and Noble in Springfield for hosting the event – my fourth at their lovely store. (And I was delighted to meet people who’d learned of the event because of my efforts to spread the word through social media and old-fashioned flyers – proof that invitations work!)

Here are a few pictures that capture both the prep work and the event itself. (I just wish I’d taken a picture of the kids making their masks which were so colorful and CUTE!) It’s a SLIDE show! (I just discovered this feature.) Enjoy!

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