Hello campbellsworld visitors and bookworms one and all.
Award-winning children’s author Wanda Luthman has dropped into the Author’s Corner today to tell us all about a recent book event she attended. I hope you’ll take a moment to read her story. Once you’ve enjoyed learning about the event, and all she experienced please read onward to find out about Wanda and her most excellent works.
The Space Coast Book Lovers (SCBL) Event 2018
was a great success!
This year is their second annual event. I attended both years. It is a two-day event held at the International Palms Resort in beautiful Cocoa Beach, FL.
One the first day, Friday, June 1st, the morning was for authors and other industry professionals. There were workshops and networking opportunities. I went to two—one on authors helping authors which I most definitely believe in and the other on using YouTube to market your books. I have some trailers on YouTube but I haven’t made many videos. That’s going to change now! These workshops were both very informative.
The afternoon was open to readers to attend with several events to interact with authors. One event that I participated in was called the Speed Mingle. It’s like speed dating, only with authors and readers. There were 4 authors to a table with 14 tables in the room. 3-4 readers were assigned to each table. Authors and readers talked and visited for 7 minutes and then an alarm would buzz and the readers would move to the next table.
At our table, I didn’t know any of the authors. We introduced ourselves to each other first before any readers arrived. One author was smart and had made up some questions ahead of time and typed them onto little strips of paper. She had a basket holding them.
When the readers sat down, we asked each one to pick a question, read it aloud, and answer it. Then, everyone at the table would answer it. The group would find out about each other quickly and much laughter ensued. It was a 2 hour time period but the time flew by.
There were other author/reader interactive things like a Book Launch (because hey, we’re the space coast, we like to launch things), no, books weren’t rocketed into the air. These books made their debut appearance here at this event (they were ‘launched’). What a great opportunity for readers to get their hands on a new release before anyone else does. Then, there was an escape room. I’m not sure how it worked because I didn’t participate but it sounded like fun.
There were evening activities too but I didn’t stay at the hotel since I could drive back and forth in 15 minutes. But, these created a low-key opportunity for readers to just hang out with their favorite authors and get to know them as people.
On Saturday, June 2nd, it was set up time at 7:30AM. It usually takes me about a half an hour to get all set up and take a picture of me at my table while my makeup is fresh and my hair hasn’t frizzed. Sometimes, if I have time, I’ll do a live video on Facebook inviting people to the event. Then, we all got together, all 40-50 authors, in this giant ballroom and had our picture taken.
Then, at 9AM, the VIP readers came in. These are Very Important People (VIP) because they purchase tickets to get in one hour ahead of everyone else, make a beeline to the author(s) table they are interested in seeing, chat with them, and purchase their books. At 10AM, the doors opened to the public.
Since I had been at this event last year, I had many repeat customers coming by to ask what my new books were. I had fun hugging necks and getting caught up on their lives. I love how, as an author, we get to know people that we would never have met otherwise and they enrich our lives.
Another fun thing at book events like this is talking with other authors. There were a few I knew so we connected and chatted as we were getting set up about our latest marketing success or disaster. Once the event begins, I don’t like leaving my table, so I chat with the people at tables on either side of me.
The man sitting at the table next to me was a brand new non-fiction author. I remember those days—going to a book event with my first book. It’s intimidating and exhilarating all at the same time.
The woman at the table on the other side of me, well, that’s a unique story. I had met her on LinkedIn. We had visited via Direct Message. Her name is Marcha Fox. She was a science-fiction author living in Texas. My daughter is currently living in Texas. So, we initially bonded over that. But, when she found out I lived in Florida, she asked me if I would be at the SCBL event. I told her ‘yes.’ We made a point to introduce ourselves to each other on the day of the event.
I was sure I was going to forget so I made a point to put her name on my calendar so I would remember. It’s just my age, not that she’s not remember-worthy. LOL. Anyway, turns out she was assigned to the table right NEXT to mine! We were both blown away. We chatted at length about books, publishing, and marketing. By the time we packed up, I knew I had made a new friend for life.
I met another woman whose table was across from mine. She had a flamingo shirt on. If you know my books, you know I have one about a flamingo named Franky. Recently, a friend of mine gave me a huge stuffed flamingo. I had it on my table this day.
The woman, Tamara, kept running across the aisle and pretending she was going to steal him. It was a hoot and we laughed all day. We even wound up taking a picture of Franky riding the surfboard she had with her that she used as a prop for her books.
I forgot to pack myself a lunch but fortunately the book event volunteers came around with some protein bars. I had, thankfully, brought water. There was more to do than I had time for. There was a backdrop with props to take your picture in front of. I totally missed out on that. There was a blog talk radio group there doing interviews. I love these people, the Hangin’ With Show, and have done interviews with them before, but I hadn’t established a time with them beforehand and I don’t like to leave my table once an event begins.
The event was over at 2PM. It doesn’t seem like that long but I stand most of the time and I’m interacting and talking to everyone that stops at my table. I was tired. I packed up and waited in the long line for the elevator and eventually made my way to my car. I took a moment made a ‘Wrap Up’ video thanking the organizers because I know that it’s a huge labor of love to put on something this spectacular.
If you haven’t ever been to a book event as an author, I highly encourage you to go to one. They are fun. You learn so much. You get an opportunity to network with other authors. I always learn something new and try to share something I know with others. Plus, you get to meet actual readers! You can’t beat that.
One tip, if you are talking with an author at a table near you and a customer shows up at their table, cut your conversation with them, so they can attend to the customer. You have all day to visit with each other. You don’t want to be the reason they don’t make a sale.
Here’s the link to the two videos I made. They are on YouTube. If you enjoyed them, please leave a comment and like and subscribe.
More on Wanda…
About the Author’s Books
Wanda Luthman published her first children’s book, The Lilac Princess, in 2014 about forgiveness. Next, came her wonderful tale of Tad, in A Turtles Magical Adventure published, March 2016 about self-acceptance. In August 2016, she debuted Little Birdie Grows Up which is her first picture book which exemplifies perseverance. In May 2017, she published Gloria and the Unicorn about a special needs child and empowerment. Most recently in October 2017, she published her second picture book, Franky the Finicky Flamingo which depicts a flamingo as a picky eater until he discovers the food that is right for him.
Wanda Luthman has her Masters of Arts in both Mental Health Counseling and Guidance Counseling from Rollins College located in beautiful Winter Park, Florida. She has worked as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Adjunct Professor, and Hospice Counselor for teens. She’s currently a Guidance Counselor at a local High School. She is an award-winning, best-selling, international author who has self-published 5 children’s books (The Lilac Princess, A Turtle’s Magical Adventure, Gloria and the Unicorn, Little Birdie, and Franky the Finicky Flamingo). She belongs to the National Pen Women Organization in Cape Canaveral; the Florida’s Writers Association; Space Coast Authors; and Brevard Authors Forum. She presently resides in Brevard County Florida with her husband of 22 years and 2 dogs. Her daughter is away at college, like Little Birdie, she has left the nest. To download a free ebook, visit Wanda Luthman’s website at www.wandaluthmanwordpress.com and follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/wluthman.
From the Author
“I want to inspire young children to be the best people they can be. If I can capture children’s imaginations and entertain them, then the underlying positive character message will come through in each of my books.”
Social Media Links
Wanda Luthman’s Books
The Lilac Princess is a modern fairy tale of a young Princess with too much responsibility and not enough freedom. She is an only child to an elderly King and Queen of a Kingdom in turmoil. Upon her rests the responsibility to rescue her Kingdom one day. But for now, she is held within the castle for her safety. She longs to go outside, just for a moment, to smell the sweet lilacs growing in the meadow. Come along on her exciting adventure when she dares to escape the castle walls and meets a cursed dragon. Little does she know that while the dragon has one plan, her sweet spirit will unravel it. The Lilac Princess will capture your imagination and your heart as it joins adventure with life lessons for the young and old about the merits of responsibility, forgiveness, and standing up for what you believe.
Quotes from The Lilac Princess reviews
“I recommend this very sweet, fun read to anyone who enjoys action, adventure, and dragons.”
“The story line is incredible!”
“The Lilac Princess isn’t a good princess story it’s a great princess story.”
A Turtle’s Magical Adventure which is a charming, heart-warming story of a turtle who doesn’t like his shell because it makes him too slow. Tad asks other slow animals if they also mind being slow. Each one gives an answer that helps Tad feel better, but, still he wants to be fast. He happens upon a snake who tells him there is a wizard that can make him fast. He goes on an adventure into The Magical Timberwood Forest to meet the wizard and hopefully get his wish fulfilled. He encounters delightful, magical creatures along the way but also meets with danger and choices. Will Tad get his wish or will the wizard turn him into turtle soup?
Quotes from A Turtle’s Magical Adventure reviews
“This is such a cute and lovable story. Perfect bedtime reading to the little ones.”
“This is an excellent children’s book full of life lessons.”
“This is a captivating story about Tad, a turtle; who has a perplexing problem to solve.”
Little Birdie Grows Up s a delightful rhyming picture book with charming illustrations about a little blue bird who pecks his way out of his shell and into the hearts of parents and children. He meets his Mama and yearns to fly up in the sky. His Mama reassures him that one day he will be able to accomplish his dream. His first attempt is mostly falling. But, when he finally does learn how to fly, well, it’s time to say good-bye. Come along on the journey of Little Birdie Grows Up.
Quotes from Little Birdie Grows Up reviews
“Wanda Luthman does a very good job with this book. Lots of colorful pictures. Lots of rhyming that small children could quickly learn. Highly recommend this book for children ages one to five.”
“Although “Little Birdie grows up” is written for very young children, who cannot fail to be immediately and deeply attracted to Bryce Westervelt’s vivid pictorial narrative, it is a book which most likely will also engage genuine adult interest.”
“This was the first picture rhyming book I have read and the first time a book has made me cry – but a good cry. Little Birdie Grows up is such a beautiful story.”
Gloria and the Unicorn is a story that will delight you as well as pull on your heart strings as Gloria struggles with her facial disfigurement and wanting to fit in. Gloria’s mother died at birth and her father gave her to Miss Libby, the owner of a children’s home. Miss Libby loves the little girl and feels protective of her. But, it’s not until Sir Louie, the unicorn, shows up that Gloria starts to believe in herself. She has a conflict at school and never wants to go back and then she finds herself in an even worse situation; she encounters the evil Wizards of Malcadore who want to kill her. She must decide if she will face her fear of certain death to save her friend, Sir Louie, or lose him forever. Come along on Gloria’s marvelous journey with Sir Louie.
Quotes from reviews
“this tale by Guidance Counselor, Wanda Luthman, is the charming ‘feel-good’ pill that can trigger discussion that parents, educators, and children will enjoy.”
“Issue books like this are crucial to helping children and parents cope with these times. The messages are important, and Ms Luthman makes them very accessible to the young reader in a gentle story.”
“This was such a cute story!!… This book sends a great message to children!”
“This was such a great book to read with my grandson. It truly has a very meaningful story and a great lesson in love. I recommend this book for all young children and I assure you the adults will love it too!”
Franky the Finicky Flamingo is a children’s rhyming picture book that tells the story of a handsome flamingo named Franky who is a picky eater. He tries foods that other birds enjoy but none taste good to him. Then, an awful thing happens. His beloved shade of pink begins to fade. Will Franky figure out that the food he likes best is also the food that keeps his bright color? Will Franky’s finickiness finally be solved?
Quotes from reviews
“Oh, this is beyond cute!! I love the amazing illustrations.!!”
“I believe this has all the makings of a classic children’s book on a par with “The Pokey Little Puppy.”
“I highly recommend this book to anyone with little ones!!!”
“My grandson insists we read it every time he comes to visit.”
“Fun book to introduce new foods and trying different foods.”
“I highly recommended this book to all parents and grandparents.”
“This was such a great book, colorful and with a great message.”
“This book has such colorful pictures that it made the children want to turn the page. They laughed and felt bad for the flamingo when he got hungry and his color was fading.”
“The story was easy to follow for the children and it has become one of their favorites to read every day.”
“I highly recommend reading this book to your children, I know they will enjoy it as much as ours did.”
“I’ve found my nieces getting my kindle just so they can look at the book again and again.”
“Great book for the kiddos.”
“I like that the author tried to get kids to understand that not everybody likes the same thing. My son was so happy that that he got to eat pink food it blew his mind!”
“My son loved it.”
Where to find Wanda Luthman’s Books
Links to Book Trailers
The Lilac Princess
A Turtle’s Magical Adventure
LittleBirdie Grows Up
Gloria and the Unicorn
Franky the Finicky Flamingo
Links to Interviews
Annie’s Toy Chest
526 Brevard Avenue
Cocoa, FL 32922
787 Center Avenue, Suite F
Holly Hill, FL 32117
Book Teas Indie Book Source
907 A Gamble Street
Tallahassee, FL 32310
Pipe & Thimble Publishing and Bookstore
24830 Narbonne Ave.
Lomita, CA 90717
The Shoppes on Strawbridge
815 E. Strawbridge Ave.
Melbourne, FL 32901