May 21, 2012

My first #author reading, and my #YA #ebook still free #kindle download on Monday. Blog & photos!

Not quite four months ago, I published my YA kinda-dystopian kinda-sci-fi kinda-coming-of-age novel, Semper. On Sunday, I held my first author reading.

Quick word of advice: Don't schedule your very first-ever reading for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on one of the most beautiful Sundays in spring. It's a tough draw, and I didn't know if anyone at all would show. But 30 or more people gave up two hours of this gorgeous day to hear me read from my book, talk about writing and publishing, and eat snacks. And it was wonderful.

Most of those people were friends, and about half had already read the book. I made a few sales and got a wildly fabulous, enthusiastic thumbs-up from the one person in the crowd I had never met before. She bought the book and seemed terribly excited to read it.

Dear friends Susan and Linda arranged the whole thing. They reserved the local library's meeting room. They arranged snacks and drinks. They made signs. They made awesome signs!

They even provided a table drape for the front table. I arranged a few of the publications where my work has appeared before. Mo Poco helped by holding up the Unlucky 26.

From left to right on the table:
Thereby Hangs A Tale (defunct literary journal)
The First Line
The Unlucky Children of Marrow Moor
THEMA (behind the table, on the floor)
The 2009 San Francisco Writers Conference Anthology (on the floor)

The room was beautifully set up, with signs all over and the snacks and drinks in the back. They had "food from the book," but it really wasn't. It was an approximation, which, frankly, is good. The food mentioned in the book is really not very tasty.

Yes, I did actually read portions of the book. I've never much liked listening to others read aloud to a group, so I kept the passages short. It was difficult to pick passages that could be read without extensive background (turns out they needed background anyway) and without spoilers (turns out a couple snuck through anyway). And yes, I did not shave. What the hell, it was Sunday.

I also spoke. A lot. About the writing process. Where ideas come from. My personal progress from know-nothing to author. There were some really good questions, and in the end if the attendees had even ten percent of the fun I had, then they probably thought it a well-spent two hours.

Huge thanks to Susan and Linda (and Roger!) for putting this on and making it so easy for me. I hope I get to do more of these in the future.

My book is a free download on Kindle today (May 20 and 21, 2012). In the first day and a half, it's been downloaded 1,000 times (exactly) in the US and a handful of times in the UK and Germany. So far, the high water marks are
  • #3 in Children's Action-Adventure
  • #23 in all Children's
  • #178 in free Kindle store
The only place I know of that picked up the free run was Pixel of Ink's Young Edition. That, plus a couple of tweets of my own, are the only real promotion for this. Pretty happy with 1,000 downloads in this run but would love a few hundred more before Monday is done!


Terri Bruce said...

Congrats, sounds like a smooth, well run event! That's half the battle - and 30 people is great turn out! My knees are knocking just thinking about my first one (coming up in August)!

PJD said...

Thanks, Terri! I was a little terrified, too. Well, not really I guess. I do a lot of public speaking for my work, so I'm actually pretty comfortable in front of a room. But I was worried I'd bore everyone to wrist-slitting status. For my part, I can't imagine much more fun than having people ask me questions about me, my book, and writing. The author reading is like the biggest ego stroke there is. My only advice is to see everything from their seats and try to keep it interesting and moving quickly. The hour will be up before you know it.