The Road!

Enisca l jones tlo thip of the hill

“Life is a series of roads that is constantly moving us to our next place!” Enisca L. Jones

As I was walking down the hill in beautiful South Andros, Bahamas,  I had time to reflect on Roads.  The straight and narrow road or the wide road that is spoken of in the Bible.  These roads denote the choice of a sinful life or a righteous life. Most prevalent in my thoughts were another set of roads...the road least traveled and the road often traveled.  Same idea but these denote safety and risk. Ultimately, all these roads are taking you somewhere.

The Road Least Traveled

The road least traveled is a road often frowned upon because there is too much uncertainty, very little comfort and absolutely no security. It is often chaotic, confusing, terrifying and can be horrific all at once, a road of the unknown.  Dare I say that we have all traveled this road at some point in our lives.  Whether it is through death, sickness, job changes, family and life decisions, the road least traveled is a road of constant and continual change.

Enisca l jones the  road from the hill The Road Often Traveled

The road often traveled is not for the adrenalin junkie that needs constant change, excitement and adventure. This road is often boring, lacks challenges, lacks adventure and imagination.  It’s comfortable and safe. It is predictable! It’s a road that most parents want their children on because they want to know that they are safe and secure. It is a very rare thing for a parent to encourage a child to be an individual and follow their hearts.  It’s not unheard of, because I know a few, but they are rare. For some this road is the best road there is!

Did you choose it or did it choose you?. 

What about if you didn’t choose it?  You were quite comfortable, minding your own business and very satisfied with the way things are going.  Then suddenly this thing is thrust upon you, through no fault of your own!  You are blindsided, dazed, confused and in shock!

What you do?

1. Do not Panic

This is always our first reaction.  We panic, we get desperate, we rage, we are terrified.  We believe the situation is hopeless and you will never get out of it or find relief.  We are angry and our emotions are out of whack and all over the place.  We are desperate and frustrated and we begin to move helter skelter trying to figure out what to do, where to go and so on. STOP!

Enisca L Jones Beach south andros ME Enisca L Jones Beach south andros22. Breathe

Take a moment and breathe.  Calm down.  Let your emotions settle.  Then you will begin to think and clarity and solutions will come to you.  I know, I know; how do you expect me to breathe and calm down when my life just imploded?  What else are you going to do?  Run and keep bucking up? Just breathe, just sit and breathe.  Find a place that you like to go to and just sit.  My place is the beach and I can sit for hours and just watch the water and just breathe.  It’s a place I go to often just to calm my nerves (bahamianese) It works and I come away feeling a whole lot better.  Find your place!  It is not the end of the world. You will get through this!

3. Talk to Someone

Find someone to talk to, don’t  keep it bottled up. VENT! Don’t keep it to yourself. Not everyone will be sympathetic.  They will try to figure it out, try to lay blame, that’s ok, don’t take it personal.  Easy to say I know, but I have walked that road in the end its better for you not to.

4. Get Help

This is no time to let pride get in the way. I have walked the road least traveled for a while now and had some really scary moments.  Last year 2014 was one of the most terrifying times of my life. I was homeless and I had to suck it up and go to social services and get help.  In that moment there was no pride and no thought of what others would think.  I needed help and I went out and got it.  Keep asking for help even when they say no.  There is help out there!

5. You Question20150323_071837

This is the place where you question your upbringing, your beliefs, and your mindset.  A place where you challenge everything that you know, a place where you discard a lot of junk,  a lot of misinformation and a lot of wrong perceptions of yourself .  A place where you find out what you are made of and who your family and friends really are.   This is a place of freedom. Trust me it is!

6. Hold On

Believe it or not it does get better.  After the homeless situation I spent 11 months out of my home country.  I was in Texas and then Canada and I had some awesome experiences.  I am watching things change around me as I continue to press forward. I can tell you it does get better.

7. It’s Okay

Know that it’s okay and you are okay. Know that things will change little by little, one moment at a time.  This is not a sprint and things do take time to turn around.  But they do turn around. Don’t give up!
Enisca L Jones Sunflower South Andros

8. FORGIVE!

Forgive yourself and those around you who don’t understand the road you are on.  Its not about them. Its about you and where this road is taking you and that is a much much better place!

Whether it chose you or you chose it, the above tips apply.  Even for those who choose the road least traveled there are moments of uncertainty, terror and confusion. Trust me I know. I could tell you stories lol!  The road you are Enisca L Jones  South Androspresently on is leading you some where! Keep the faith and keep travelling

What road are you on?  Do you know?  How are you coping?

Please comment and share of your experiences.  Please add your tips on how you cope.  We are all here to help each other.

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Creating your own World!

10 Tips to Rock a Book Fair and Trade Show!

I was recently asked by a fellow author about how to make a book fair experience successful. She asked because she thought that I had done several of them.  I then told her that my recent foray into the world of Book fairs was my first time.  I am a novice and I had asked for advice on having the best book fair experience as well. After sharing some of the things that I thought she should know she suggested that I write a blog about it.  So here it is!

My Book Fair ExperiencesEnisca L Jones Word on the Street Tshirt

My initial experience with a book fair came through volunteering at the Word on The Street Book Fair in Toronto, Canada that was held September 2014.  This was my first time attending this festival and I must say as an emerging author it was indeed an eye opener.   It was an awesome experience that I would tell anyone to have.  I mean all my peoples in one place hehehe!  This was also the first time I had seen an author do a reading.  Don’t get me wrong I had done a reading for a girls club right after my book launch but I had never seen this before.  It was a crash course for me because just 2 months later I would be doing my own reading.

 

Enisca L Jones TIBF Programs and Badge

The Inspire Toronto International Book Fair in Toronto, Canada a 4 day event held in November 2014!   It was awesome, amazing and exciting all at the same time.  I could go on but then we will be here all day 🙂 It was the best and most exhausting experience of my life.  For all emerging authors  I think it is a worthwhile experience to take part in a book fair.  To make it a successful experience here are my top 10 tips!

1.  Share the experience with a fellow author

 Enisca L. Jones our table at the book fairEnisca L Jones my littel spot at the book fairEnisca L JOnes the neighbors table at the book fair

If this is your first time at a book fair, sharing really cuts the cost of trying to pay for an entire table all by yourself especially if you are emerging like me and have very little resources.  It is a great way to get book fair experience without paying to high of a price.

2. Be comfortable

Take water and comfortable shoes. I got that advice when I asked the very same question and it’s one that I think needs to be passed on,

3. Marketing

There are 2 sides to this coin.  There is the time before the show and the materials needed during the show.

a. Use All Media

Be sure to use all of your avenues to share about your presence at the book fair. If you are on: Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, website etc. create banners and use them to herald your presence.  Make sure you put in all pertinent information date, time, booth location etc.  If you are doing any readings, school visits or interviews before the book fair be sure to mention where and when you will be on that date.

b. Materials

 For instance, I had a banner,  bookmarks, postcards, enter to win forms, some giveaways with information about my country, stickers and coloring pages.  These all help to get your name out there and people will be able to find you.  Don’t forget your Books of course, they are your biggest tool  hehehe! Once the ideas start to roll they keep rolling remember not to over produce and keep things to a minimum.  There will always be other book fairs.

 4. Mix and Mingle!

Eniscs L Jones more vendors at the book fairEnisca L. Jones More vendorsEnisca L Jones  hub area at the book fair

There will be lulls and that’s a good time to get out from behind the table and talk to your fellow exhibitors.  They have great information to share and I found most of them are willing. They too need someone who knows the ups and downs of the business to share with as well.  It is comforting to meet like minded people.   Another reason is to talk to people who are browsing and this can drive traffic to your table, this is the bonus of mixing and mingling.

5.  Manage your Expectations.

This I think is the number one thing I would tell all authors.  Know before hand what you want out of the experience.  What you expect to gain.  Sometimes when you set our expectations high it can be a let down when it doesn’t produce what you thought.  So I think it is a good thing to define that before you make the first step.  I met an amazing bunch of people at the book fair. Fellow authors from different genres, editors, publishers and others. I got some insight into how people marketed their items.  I would say it was a great experience for those things. In terms of book sales not so much but still very much worth it. Hey I met my editor there!  She is great!

6.  Be Present

During high traffic periods be present to share about your book.  Be engaging and fun after all you are talking about your book, dream or vision. Share it with enthusiasm.  Remember even though you are sharing your table, the other person cannot sell your book, dream, or vision like you can and always be willing to listen to others when they share with you.  Be open and willing always! 🙂

7. Responding to Criticism

Well this one is a hard knock because really, who likes to be criticized? It kind of   knocked me off kilter for about an afternoon and my fellow authors and new editor helped to calm me down. My best advice is to say thank you for the feedback and walk away. This is just one persons opinion so take what applies to you (if anything) and throw the rest away! Just be gracious!

8. Remember your Book Fair Team

Your book fair team is always there to help you with any questions. If you have a team as great as the folks at the Toronto International Book Fair you have no need to worry.  They were very diligent at sending out information and making sure you had what you needed on the day of the fair.

9. Ask Questions.

Be sure to get all the information leading up to the fair. Make sure you ask questions and no question is stupid or inconsequential.  You have to be clear on the directions and the information they are sending to you, so always ask for clarity.

10.  Do the reading!

Enisca L  Jones presentingat the book fair

When I was asked  if I wanted to do a reading or presentation I thought  hmmm, I don’t think so, because that would be taking me out of my comfort zone.  I eventually decided to do it and submitted the forms.  Doing a book reading at a book fair was a phenomenal experience for me, leading up to it not so good:-(

In preparation for the reading I had a thought …how are the children going to see the pictures in the book if I am standing on a podium?  So what I did was prepare 5 pictures from the book (on poster board)  so kids and adults would get a glimpse of the amazing characters in the book.  I even had someone hold them up for me.  She was my “Vanna White” :-).  Do what you can to make the reading exciting, fun and interesting especially for kids!

Another thing to consider doing is have someone record the reading for you so you can do a critique of it.  It is also a great marketing tools as well.  You can use portions of it for a book trailer etc.

My apologies for the lengthy post but wanted to give you my top 10 tips.  I know there are more but that would take forever!   I hope these are helpful to you who are stepping out for the first time. These tips can be applied to every industry I think.  If you have some to add to this list please feel free to leave your comments on the page. After all we are here to help each other.

Bonus Tip

REMEMBER TO BREATHE and ENJOY!

Enisca L. jOnes at the book fair