I've known Linda Shepherd for around twenty years, and I remember when she started the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA). I have never qualified for the group before. The qualifications have been modified over the years, but at least it used to be that to be eligible to be a member we needed two books published and needed to speak outside our home state to a certain number of people so many times a year. I definitely didn't qualify! But since I just published my second book, Deliver Me, in April, I suddenly met that requirement. But the other?
Well, at the Colorado Christian Writer's Conference Linda asked me why I hadn't joined AWSA yet. I told her I didn't qualify. She said they're just looking for two forms of communication. A radio talk show. Host a TV show. Blog. Newsletter. Then she asked me what I was doing in Hollywood. I told her about some work I'm doing (which I'll tell you later) and she said I qualified! So I joined AWSA.
You might qualify for, and benefit from, AWSA too. Find more information here: http://www.awsa.com/ .
Then...of course Linda asked if I was attending the AWSA conference. I've known since Linda started AWSA that its conference was held right before the start of the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS). I also knew ICRS was in Atlanta this year. I've been to ICRS two times when it was close to me in Denver.
Even though I have a new book out, I had no plans to go to Atlanta. I don't have the money in my writing account to make the trip for the conference. And I felt the only way the expense of going to Atlanta for the AWSA conference would be worthwhile for me was if I could have a book signing at ICRS. But the chances of me, who published my own book, having a book signing at ICRS are slim and none. Unless God makes it happens. I guess God had other plans.
If you're familiar with the International Christian Retail Show, you know it's extremely challenging for a self-published author to have a signing at this convention. If you're not familiar with ICRS, it's a trade show for publishers and Christian bookstore owners. Publishers pay, no doubt, thousands of dollars for a booth at the convention. Little ol' me, as the publisher of my own book and on a shoestring budget, obviously can't do that. But Linda reminded me of the Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA). I'd seen their booth at the previous ICRS shows I'd been to and I always thought if I self published another book I'd join. Well, I contacted them and, even though I'd missed all the deadlines, they said I could join and still have a book signing in their booth at ICRS. Of course there were fees to pay to do so. And because I'd missed the deadlines, it was too late to get my information printed in the Show Daily, so I'd have absolutely no publicity for my signing. And I still wasn't sure I could afford the AWSA conference and all those fees. Plus I have to provide 75 books (at my expense) for the book signing. All the books at ICRS are given away free. So...what do to?
Well then Linda granted me a scholarship from Cec Murphey for the conference registration. That did it. How could I say no? So, now in Atlanta. We just wrapped up the AWSA conference and the Golden Scroll awards banquet is tomorrow.
I'm signing my book at ICRS on Monday, July 11, from 3:00 - 4:00 in the CSPA booth #338. Since I won't have any publicity, I made fliers with my signing time and booth number and I plan on running around handing them out Monday. Beyond that, I'm depending on God to take care of my publicity, too.
All of this has come about in just the last couple of weeks, and I'm absolutely amazed.