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Sharon and Dana at Word on the Street

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It’s PI Dana Bowman here and I’m so excited. The annual Word on the Street Book and Magazine Festival rolls into Toronto this coming weekend. And I’m going to be there at two booths. I am front stage and centre at the Toronto Sisters in Crime Booth and share space at the Crime Writers of Canada booth with authors Lorna Poplak  and what’s her name who says she wrote Beyond Faith and I didn’t. We’ll see about that. This will be my opportunity to set some things straight to everybody who comes by the SINC booth. I can show them parts of Beyond Faith and ask them.

Who wrote the book?

Oh, what’s her name is here. I better scoot.

 

Hey you, Dana Bowman. Get your nosey nose (and the rest of you) back inside Beyond Faith. Oh, hello from the real author of the Beyond mystery books, including Beyond Faith. If you look a the book cover below you will see it doesn’t say “Dana Bowman” as the author, but me, ” Sharon A. Crawford”. Do I try to stick my nose into Dana’s life?

Don’t answer that. Of course, I do, as an author.

The latest Beyond mystery. (2017).

Now, down to business.

Word on the Street (WOTS) appears every year about this time somewhere in downtown Toronto, Canada. For the past few years it has been at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre by Lake Ontario. And that can give a real meaning to “jump in the lake”..WOTS covers pretty much the gamut of books and magazines; hence its title.And it doesn’t matter if you are publisher, author or reader (or some or all of those); it doesn’t matter if you read only print books or e-books; it doesn’t matter if you write prose or poetry or plays, there is something (or several somethings) for all. Yes, even a kids section. Children’s literature is big business these days, especially Young Adult books. So are romance and mysteries. Whatever you like to read is there. And a word of warning. The festival may be free to get into, but all those books and magazines. You’ll need to bring money and some canvas bags..

Take a gander over to the Toronto Word on the Street 2019 website and browse. You’ll be doing more than just browsing. With all that is going on ast WOTS, you will need to plan your visit down to the last second. But, this time there are events on the Saturday as well.

Dana got one thing right. Two appearances – but for me. She”ll be there inside the books and if I catch her trying to take my place, I’ll…I’ll

Well, maybe I’ll let her out if she sells some books.

Anyway, Dana Bowman (from wherever) and I look forward to meeting you and talking to you at WOTS on Sunday, September 22, 2019. The three Beyond mystery novels   – Beyond the Tripping Point, Beyond Blood and Beyond Faith will also be available to browse and purchase.

Here’ my (er, our) appearance info.

Sisters in Crime Toronto Chapter

Booth #WB5

11 a.m. to 12 noon

 

Crime Writers of Canada

Booth #WB4

Times and Date.

3.30 p.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, September 22, 2019

Location:

Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West, Toronto, Ontario

Please note the whole festival for the Sunday runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

And let’s hope the weather and public transport co-operate. We don’t want any rain to fall on our “parade”, especially if we are waiting for a bus to get there.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Author of the Beyond mysteries.

And PI Dana Bowman, the books’ main character.

 

 

 

 

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Word on the Street for Writers and Readers

The latest Beyond book in the series

The latest Beyond book in the series

The annual Word on the Street (WOTS) Festival is coming up this Sunday, September 25 in Toronto. WOTS has been running since 1990  when it first began on Queen St. West in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Since then it has added locations such as Vancouver, British Columbia, Kitchener, Ontario, and Halifax, Nova Scotia. This year the date for all locations is no longer the same date, so Halifax and Saskatoon were last weekend, but Lethbridge, Alberta is this Saturday, September 24 and Toronto is this Sunday, September 25. WOTS has also changed the Toronto festival location twice – first to Queens Park by the Ontario Parliament buildings in downtown Toronto and then last year to the newly upgraded. renovated Toronto Harbourfront Centre in downtown Toronto and on Lake Ontario.

Although the original location reflects the festival title, I found it difficult to get around here. Yes, part of Queen St. was closed to traffic, with booths in the middle of the street, but you had to plan your stops ahead of time. Otherwise you could be near one end of the street and want to get to a booth or booths at the other ends.

With the Queens Park location, booths were set up in the circled walkway in the park so you could either follow along that or cut across the grass in between. You also had the green park atmosphere, better than a busy street. I liked this location and it was at this location I did a talk in one of the guest writer, writing information, publishing,  and the like tents. I believe the talk was about Interviewing techniques for journalists – I was still working as a freelance journalist then.

The Toronto Harbourfront Centre has been received with mixed reaction. I personally like it – there is the on-the-waterfront location which can be calming and most of the booths are in the same area, so easy enough to get to beyond the usual finding the booth itself by the number – something that was normal with any of the locations.

For the latter two locations, I have been able to sell copies of my Beyond books at the Crime Writers of Canada booth or in the case of Beyond the Tripping Point the year it was coming out – let potential readers know – it was pre-book launch and I didn’t have book copies so had flyers for the book launch. One of them I fashioned with two holes at the top with a string in between. I wore it so after my one hour at the CWB booth was finished, I walked around wearing the flyer.

When Beyond Blood came out in fall 2014, again WOTS was before the book launch, but I had a few pre-launch copies from my publisher (Blue Denim Press) with the instructions to sell to anyone not going to the book launch.

Which I did.

Last year I added an hour with my books at the Toronto Sisters in Crime booth and sold copies of both books. I had a sale price for purchase of both books together and plan to do something like that again this year and perhaps something extra. Not telling. You will have to come out to WOTS in Toronto to see what. But also to meet and talk to  well-known authors and hear them reading, information for writers to get published – often with panel discussions, books for sale, many smaller publishers, writing and editing organizations, plus public libraries, ESL, magazines – small and more wide-spread, book publishers, and of course, food.

For more information on WOTS see here and for the Toronto WOTS go here.

And to see where I’ll be when (at least at the booths), go to my Gigs and Blogs page.

Hope to see you there – well some of you.

As usual the Beyond Blood book icon at the top links to info about my books and my author profile.

Cheers.

Sharon

 

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Book Promo trick learned at festival and library

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

It has been a hectic few days with my Beyond Books at two booths (not during the same hour) at Word on the Street last Sunday and Tuesday evening at the Runnymede Toronto Public Library Branch.

Very interesting – great to meet readers and other writers and chat. And I also learned and applied a new sales technique (new to me) that worked, so much so that I have to order more copies of my first published Beyond book – Beyond the Tripping Point from my publisher and he in turn has to order more from the distributor. This book was published three years ago. And we’re talking print copies, not e-copies. So there is still steam in the “old” book and the “old” book copy option.

So what happened?

I’ve been attending the Word on the Street Festival, Toronto version almost every year since it began, often selling books or passing out info about writers’ organizations or both. This year it changed venue for the third time.This year it was at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre beside Lake Ontario. It was a hot summer day (yes, I know it is fall), sunny and very pleasant. So were most of the people there and the venue setup – closer together and also specific areas to sit and rest your feet and your a.. well you know what.

At WOTS I had an hour each at two booths selling Beyond Blood and Beyond the Tripping Point as well as handing out business cards and flyers for two more of the venues I would be at this fall, and chatting about my books with people who pass by. Very important. You don’t just sit there and smile because not everyone is going to stop unless you approach them. “Do you read mystery novels?” became my ice-breaker and if the answer was “yes” (about two-thirds to three-quarters of the time), I was off talking about my Beyond books and holding up copies as I talked. I was at the Crime Writers of Canada booth first and then Toronto Sisters in Crime. Despite the crowded quarters of the latter (in a booth at extended tables with other writing organizations). Space was so limited the poets reading had to stand on a table at their end. That was also where anyone going to sit behind any of the tables had to enter the area. Sisters in Crime had their booth at the other end. So if I didn’t want to hop the table to get out and chat, I had to maneuver over to the other end, avoid the poet on the table, slither out and walk to the end where I stood and chatted.

I was selling both books as two for one price (and made sure I had the individual prices listed on my price sheet to show the difference). That worked for sales, including to a lady who said she had to run into the building behind to the ATM and would I be there? Of course, I would.

During all this I was trying to find and keep track of two old friends (who didn’t know each other at that point). One found me over at the Crime Writers booth but the other didn’t find me until the end of my stint at Sisters in Crime. But both kept busy going to booths, chatting and collecting info. The latter friend got steered to me by another mystery writer the friend had seen and heard at a previous Crime Writers of Canada library reading.

Which brings me to Runnymede library branch and Tuesday night. Despite rain, we got a good number of readers who filled the library program room. And it was one of the better author presentations by some of us from Crime Writers of Canada – Rob Brunet, Karen Blake-Hall, Madeleine Harris Callway and me. We talked about our books, often putting in humour, telling stories of how we got our stories settings, how we got our stories, did a little reading from our books and then opened it to questions.

It was really like chatting with old and new friends.

And yes, I sold more books – the package deal again and was really rewarded more by one author purchasing when she said “I really like your writing.” Mind you she has attended some of my writing workshops at library branches and I probably read something I had written there.

So, what’s the morale here to promote books? Get involved with your audience, entertain, and offer good deals with your books.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Cover of Sharon A. Crawford's mystery short story collection. Click on it for publisher's website

 

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