Category Archives: News

News stories and press releases about Hanisch, her students, and associates.

Incredible Turnout at “Don’t Say Anything” Book Signing in Bozeman, MT

CrowdFromAboveCountry Bookshelf, Montana’s largest independent bookstore, usually prepares for a dozen attendees at new author events.  Ten minutes before Brigitte’s book signing started, the store employees were happily scrambling to put out more chairs.

Over 60 came this past Sunday! The main floor seating area was packed–standing room only.  People stood in back, on the stairwell, and on the second floor looking down from the balcony.  Customers who came into the store not knowing about the event, wound up sucked into the reading and met with us in the book signing line afterward.

Feedback took on common themes:

  • My aunt/mother/grandmother had the same experience in Germany after the war, and no one here in the U.S. has heard this perspective.  Thank you for giving my family a voice!
  • My family is Jewish.  I know that side of the story, but I feel ready to hear the German civilian side now.  I want to learn what happened to Brigitte.

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Brigitte sold through her entire supply of books, and so many of those copies are heading out of state to friends and family of people who attended Sunday’s presentation.  We cannot even begin to thank all our local readers for their incredible support and their excitement about getting DSATA out to a broader readership!

Enjoy a few more photo highlights:

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Anika reads from “the fishing story”, which seemed appropriate for a Montana crowd.

 

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One more view of that incredible crowd!

 

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A round of applause for the Country Bookshelf staff who went out of their way to move furniture, set up chairs, accommodate the crowd, and take care of all the book sales after the presentation.  You are wonderful souls!  Thanks for supporting regional authors!

Super Snarky Event Poster for the Upcoming WWII Memoir Book Signing

Well, of all the posters and flyers that have gone up around Bozeman regarding Brigitte Yearman’s book signing this weekend, this one definitely gets First Prize for Attention-Getting Snark.

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Here’s a little closer view of the paragraph text that clarifies the edgy little quote:

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Thanks to all the volunteers who’ve been getting word out.  You are amazing!  See you all Sunday at Country Bookshelf.

DSATA Book Signing on October 8th, Bozeman

Shortly after Country Bookshelf asked to carry Don’t Say Anything to Anybody, their event coordinator emailed and asked to host an Author Event on Sunday October 8th.  Brigitte is so excited about this!

Country Bookshelf is Montana’s largest independent book seller.  To get placed there and to get a signing scheduled so quickly is a big compliment.  It’s also a reflection of the grassroots efforts of local fans.  Big thanks to all of YOU– and to other supporters across the nation who have let us know about similar efforts in other communities.

See you on the 8th!

Grassroots Book Publicity Efforts Pay Off

Brigitte finally got invited to apply to have her memoir carried at Country Bookshelf, an award-winning independent books store in Bozeman, Mon090117-BookatCB-101_0818tana. The owner often takes up to 6 weeks to make a decision about carrying a self-published book.  In a town full of self-employed entrepreneurs, you can imagine she gets hundreds of requests every year.  Ariana got back to us in just two weeks.

When I spoke with one of the clerks there, the reason for the quick decision became apparent.  “There have been a LOT of people asking for Don’t Say Anything to Anybody,” she said.  “It’s time-consuming and not very profitable for us to special order it all the time.  I’m really glad we’ll be carrying this book now!”

This small but significant success is all because our local Bozeman fans kept stopping in and asking about DSATA.  It worked!  Yea for Author Advocates like you!  Thank you, thank you for all your effort and enthusiasm.

Let’s replicate this success in small town and indie book stores everywhere.  What’s your favorite bookstore?  Consider dropping off one of these mini flyers to encourage the store owner to carry DSATA.  Let them know they can always contact me for direct (cheaper) orders too: anika@montanacoauthor.com

Thanks again everyone!  Our next goal is to get on Country Bookshelf’s book signing schedule for our formal regional book launch this fall.  Stay tuned.

8 Ways to Support Your Favorite Independent Author

DSATA-CoverIcon-smallFRONT1. Write an Amazon review. If you loved the book, write a review. Your review doesn’t need to be lengthy. In fact, shorter (1-3 paragraph) reviews are more likely to be read. The more reviews the author has, the better—not only to encourage sales of the current book but also to establish the author in the minds of publishers who might take on future titles.

Be honest in your review. Countless 5-star reviews can actually work against a new author. It looks like what it is: a list of close friend reviews. Honest 3 and 4-star reviews that clearly describe the book’s strengths and weaknesses go far to build the credibility of the review list.

2. Buy a gift copy for a friend. You loved the book. You know people in your circle of friends who like similar stories. It’s so easy to connect the dots. This simple step gets the book into the hands of people outside the author’s immediate circle. This is vital for continuing sales and fresh reviews. Remember, loaning your own copy out does not help the author and certainly doesn’t pay his or her bills. Only actual sales will help a new author gain attention from the publishing industry.  Vote with your dollar!

CB-front_sign_2-sm3. Buy that gift copy from your local independent bookstore. Unknown and self-published authors have a hard time getting into their local bookstore—yes, even the one that boasts that it sells locally written works. Bookstores simply can’t carry the hundreds (often 1000s) of books that are published locally every year. Indie booksellers usually agree to consign a few copies at a time. Through this process, they determine whether the author has an established following and whether the books “sell through”. Only then, the shop might decide to formally purchase and stock copies on a regular basis.

4. Recommend the book to friends who live in another state. This grows the author’s reach. Within the first 2 to 4 months of a book release, most authors reach the end of their friends-and-family connections. Sales drop to nil unless happy readers recommend the book to others. When recommending the book, chat about it in person, over the phone, or via social media first. Then follow-up with an email containing a link to the Amazon order page. The initial person-to-person recommendation is vital—emailing alone often gets ignored. But following up with the emailed link is equally important. It makes it easy for your friend to find the book, read its reviews, and order it quickly.

5. Ask your local bookstore to host an author event. Small bookstores are cautious about hosting events for relatively unknown authors. Such events are worthwhile for the store only if a large number of people attend and linger afterward to purchase books. So, when a new author talks to a store owner about hosting an event, the newbie is usually given the cold shoulder. It’s nearly impossible for a new author to successfully promote themselves in this fashion. But if enough local fans stop in and request a reading for a specific author, the storeowner will listen. They simply want to know the author has a readership that will truly show up for the event.

6. Add the book to your Book Club’s list. Everyone will buy a copy and give it a thoughtful read. Book Club discussions often lead to more amazon reviews, more word-of-mouth recommendations, and helpful feedback that can be passed along to the author. Yes, your author friend wants to know about any intelligent critique too! That’s how authors grow their craft.

7. Like the author’s Facebook page (and BLOG, twitter account, etc). Follow the author’s social media posts, and make comments. Refer your friends to it. The more followers and traffic the author acquires the better. The author is able to use these stats to help demonstrate his or her “author platform” when speaking with publishers in the future.

8. Write the author a thank you note. Let the author know how the book affected you. Emails and Facebook messages are great, but if you’re friends with the author and have his or her mailing address, hand-written notes are even more meaningful!

Try it!
For all my friends who are awaiting their copies of Don’t Say Anything to Anybody by Brigitte Yearman (a hard-hitting World War II story by the daughter of a German soldier), here are links and resources to help you support this incredibly brave memoir writer:

Don’t Say Anything to Anybody on Amazon – Buy it and review it here:
https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Say-Anything-Anybody-Girlhood/dp/0692891218

Coauthor’s Facebook Page:
https://www.facebook.com/anika.hanisch.7

Brigitte’s Local Bookstore:
Country Bookshelf in Bozeman, Montana
28 West Main Street
Store Owner: Ariana Paliobagis
http://www.countrybookshelf.com
staff@countrybookshelf.com

A Hard-hitting Fresh Voice in World War II Literature – Now Available on Amazon

“Don’t Say Anything to Anybody (DSATA) is now available on Amazon!
Your favorite bookstore can special order it too, if you prefer to shop local.
This week we are…

  • Packing and shipping signed copies as rewards for all our Kickstarter Supporters.
  • Preparing for the Friends and Family Book Launch Party on Saturday, July 8; 3-5pm, at Pilgrim Congregational Church.  All welcome, but please contact me by 6.28 if you want to reserve a signed copy.  Otherwise, we’ll have a limited number of signed copies available on a first come basis.  If we run out, we’ll start a sign up for additional orders.
  • Approving the e-book layout on Thursday, June 29.  If all goes well, the Kindle version will be available another 2 to 3 business days after that.  Stay tuned!

For a little pick me up, check out this video of Brigitte seeing her book for the first time.  Priceless!

The Show Goes On – Books don’t wait for your personal life to simmer down

DSATA-CoverIcon-smallFRONTDon’t Say Anything to Anybody, a true story about growing up in Nazi Germany, is almost here. The book is heading to press within the next two weeks. That’s what matters right? It is, and yet there are some major challenges we’ve been dealing with that have cast long shadows across this season.

Both my coauthor, Brigitte Yearman, and I have been slogging through a gauntlet of life-or-death health issues for some of our closest loved ones. In short, we’ve birthed this book while staring down mortality. Those loved ones are still with us, and we live in gratitude for every moment with them. But the past six months have been excruciating.

In the midst, here is the book—and all the tenacity, willfulness, and stubborn hope that it represents. The synchronicity is disturbing. Here’s a quick snapshot of how these dual realities played out in the day-to-day….

In the final pre-press editing rounds, you wind up re-reading the entire book. One day this spring, I was hanging out in a cancer clinic during a friend’s six-hour chemo drip—a harsh treatment to fight an extremely rare and aggressive metastasized cancer. Talk about a long day. My friend fell asleep, and I took out Brigitte’s manuscript to review the latest batch of edits. I read this passage from the post-war reconstruction years:

 

Winter was not forever. Grass grew in rough patches, bursts of tenacious green among Elmschenhagen’s stone grays and sooty reds. After school one day, I saw Frau Müller digging in the dirt in front of our building.

“What are you doing?”

“I think we need a garden, Brigittchen,” she said. “Would you like to help?”

SeedStarts-IconWould I ever. Frau Müller had saved flower seeds from before the war. She had not planted anything the year before. Who could think of gardens the spring after that worst of winters? But in the spring of 1947, she decided it was time. She showed me the seeds in folded paper packets. She’d scrawled the names of the plants on each one. “I am not sure they will sprout,” she said. “But we must plant them to find out.”

 

I often say to my friends, “Planting a garden is an act of faith.” That’s where we’re at with the book now. After six years of interviewing, fact-checking, writing, revising, editing, revising again, partnering with an agent, partnering with an international base of Kickstarter supporters…it’s ready. Ready to broadcast to all of you and then see what grows out of these seeds.

You get to be our fellow farmers now, cultivating and sharing this story with your friends. Thank you in advance for that effort and enthusiasm! Thank you not only for the financial support, but also for the calls, notes, prayers, and general good vibes during what has become an intensely trying time. We are forever grateful!

Oh, and since some of you have asked… If you’re not keen on email, cards to Brigitte may be sent to:

Spiritus Creative, LLC
Memoir Projects: Brigitte Yearman
PO Box 1048
Bozeman, MT 59771

Narrative with a Cause: Stories as Persuasive Art

Writing Workshop for Beginning and Intermediate Writers

Belgrade, MT – In a cultural climate of division and galvanization, local writer and coauthor Anika Hanisch is providing tips on the most subtly persuasive literary form that humans have used effectively for millennia: personal narrative. Hanisch will provide three intimate Sunday afternoon groups in March and April, with plans to host more in the future. During these sessions, she’ll define commonly used persuasive techniques that often backfire and why. She’ll draw from mainstream examples of what not to do, then dive into the bridge-building power of story.

These workshop sessions are open to beginning and intermediate writers. Hanisch also welcomes participants who consider themselves “non-writers” but find themselves in situations where their writing quality is now crucial. Groups will be lightly curated to create a safe space for lively, but respectful dialogue. Attendees are welcome to come for one or all three sessions; material covered will deepen as the series progresses.

Workshop sessions are $36.00 each and will meet from 1:00 – 3:30pm on Sundays, March 19, March 26, and April 2. Belgrade location will be provided upon registration. Details and registration posted at www.MontanaCoauthor.com, or call 406.581.9405 with questions.

Coauthor’s Kickstarter Campaign an Incredible Success

Brigitte-ChildhoodPhotos-02crop3Wow.  My coauthor (Brigitte Yearman, Don’t Say Anything to Anybody, 2017) and I are still reeling from how well her campaign turned out! It ended this Tuesday morning at 153% funded ($5673 of a $3700 goal).

This true-story portrayal of Nazi Germany from a little girl’s perspective will finally hit shelves this May.  Because of the support that came in over-goal, we are able to pay our Kickstarter fees, fulfill all rewards, and pay for postage on all the review copies that will be sent out, all without tapping more than a few hundred dollars in our own personal funds.

Through this campaign, our backers made it possible for us to go from a very small local-only book launch to a much more national/global reach:

  • “Don’t Say Anything” paperbacks heading to backers in: Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and all over the United States.
  • Review copies going to a list of 100 possible purchasing venues: German American Societies, select academic programs, and several therapeutic organizations.
  • Paperbacks and e-book versions to be shared with over 30 backers whom we’ve never met. How cool is that?
  • 80 backers plus another 2 dozen or so who “aren’t into the internet” and prefer to give privately–over 100 supporters all told!

Because of Brigitte’s Kickstarter campaign, the book will be more polished too. And that lends us more credibility when we shop it to bookstores and university department heads. It will be professionally copy-edited by an editor with decades of experience in the publishing industry and dressed up in a cover crafted by an award-winning graphic designer.

Our backers made all that possible!

Now the fun begins. Facebook and website thank-yous will be posted this weekend, so watch for your name in those lists. We (Brigitte and Anika) are meeting tomorrow to look over the new draft of the Acknowledgements section (with several of your names added) and to polish some Epilogue material that was requested by our beta readers. Early next week, we’ll deliver the manuscript to our copy-editor and set up our initial meeting with our graphic designer.

Our rough timeline looks something like this:

March 13-31 – Copyediting and cover design underway, hopefully complete by end of month. Meanwhile we’re working with CreateSpace to craft our book jacket text and optimize descriptions for the Amazon listing.

April 1-19 – Final files delivered to CreateSpace, who will design our interior pages, register with the Library of Congress, print the paperbacks, and convert the book to Kindle format.

April 20-26 – We expect to see the e-book and Amazon listing posted sometime in this date range. At that point, the book is officially published.

April 26-May 10 – Begin fulfilling all e-book and paperback Kickstarter rewards.

May/June – Arrange local and regional public Book Release event and signings.

Throughout this process, we’ll share some private behind-the-scenes posts with our Kickstarter backers as part of our thank you to them.  Once we have a set publication date, we’ll share that here as well—along with information about local and regional book signings.

Now, a quick note to anyone who wanted to support the book or reserve a signed copy but didn’t make it to Kickstarter in time. Please contact Anika at:  anika (at) montanacoauthor.com   She can make alternate arrangements to include you in this exciting time!

Again, thanks so much everyone. We are so grateful!

-Brigitte and Anika

Montana book-writing partnership is living experiment in peace-making

Brigitte Yearman is not Jewish. Her World War II survival story is from a rarely heard perspective: a child of the regime. From ages 5 to 11, Brigitte was part of the wartime child transports, survived as a North German refugee, escaped Russian soldiers, scavenged bombed out towns for food, and lost many loved ones along the way. Surviving the reconstruction years as a teenager was no easier.

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Brigitte and Anika during fact-checking trip in Germany and Poland, 2012.

Fast forward 70 years. Brigitte has raised her family in the U.S., and she moved to Montana to be closer to an adult daughter. She was finally at a stage in life where she felt ready to share her story. Her pastor’s wife, Mary Wagner (Pilgrim Congregational in Bozeman), connected her with a local ghostwriter, Anika Hanisch. There was only one complication: the ghostwriter was Jewish. What would her community think of this project? Could she make room in her own heart for working closely with the child of a Nazi soldier?

It wasn’t easy. The book-writing journey became an experiment in ongoing peace-making dialogue between the two women. They both learned a lot about cultural and familial trauma, and healing, in the process. After six years of interviewing, writing, revising, traveling to Germany to fact-check, and incorporating beta reader feedback, the book is slated for release in late April.

One year of literary agent representation yielded repeated publisher feedback: the story is beautifully crafted, but war stories by women are too hard to market. This feedback came despite early focus group research that indicated otherwise. Brigitte, now in her eighties, has opted to self-publish and get word out through social media. Her Kickstarter campaign ends March 7th. The grassroots crowdfunding will help ensure this timeless and harrowing refugee story is available to a wide readership, as well as the German American Societies and academic programs that need it.

Book Trailer and Project Description:  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1662266001/dont-say-anything-to-anybody-a-german-wwii-girlhoo

More About Brigitte:
www.BrigitteYearman.com