Feb. 8-9 was a weekend of firsts for me.
I attended my first book signing and got my first mention in the Arizona Daily Sun.
The book signing was Saturday down in Glendale, at the Chocolate Affaire. From 2 to 10 p.m., I had a spot at a table with at least a dozen other romance authors, mostly from the Valley of the Sun RWA chapter.
The Chocolate Affaire is a big outdoor festival celebrating — you guessed it — chocolate. Signs like the one below, touting the benefits of one of my favorite desserts, were posted all over the park.
With all the chocolate around — everything from pie in a jar to chocolate-dipped Twinkies to chocolate-covered cheesecake on a stick — would you believe I didn’t eat any? I know, I know. There’s something wrong with me.
That’s not to say I didn’t eat any junk. I had an orange creamsicle float and a Reuben sandwich for lunch after I arrived and before I went on duty. At dinnertime, I ventured away from the table to find a bratwurst with onions and mustard. I seriously considered getting some cheesecake on a stick, but ended up too busy to leave my post.
The park was packed when I arrived, carrying my box of books around as I searched for the romance writers’ booth. (In retrospect, I should have left the box in the car, found the table and then gone back for my books. Live and learn, right?) And the park stayed busy throughout the day. Paths were wall-to-wall people.
That cover still gives me goosebumps. Beautiful!
Plenty of people stopped by. I had a fantastic time telling folks about my debut, Diva in the Dugout. Even managed to sell a handful of copies. I also gave away a lot of bookmarks and business cards. Hopefully some of those contacts will translate to online sales.
It might have been my first book signing, but by the end of the night, I had my pitch down:
“I write contemporary romantic comedy featuring baseball players. This (pointing to DIVA) is the shortstop’s story. It’s my first book and it came out in October. The catcher’s story (tapping the BEAUTY bookmark) comes out next month.”
If they wanted to know more about the story, I explained: “The Condors’ bad-boy shortstop finds out five years after the fact that he’s a father — and must win over not only his little girl but her mother.”
When pressed, I may have compared myself to better-known romantic comedy authors like Kristan Higgins, Jill Shalvis and Jennifer Crusie. “They’re some of my favorite writers. I’m not that well known — yet — but my books are definitely funny. If you enjoy their books, I think you’ll like mine.”
*Blushing* Maybe I got a little carried away in the heat of excitement. In the cold light of morning, I can admit that.
Then again, there’s nothing wrong with being my own biggest fan, right? And I honestly believe my stories will appeal to readers who like that kind of story.
It was a fun day — long and exhausting, but fun. I’m glad I was lucky enough to get a spot at the table.
I was also lucky to meet Cap’n Jack, in the flesh. He was great. When I asked him if he liked to read, he answered, “Yes. Mostly maps.”
Glad I checked the weather down in the Valley. Otherwise, I’d have shown up in a sweater and roasted. (It was cold in Flagstaff when I woke up Saturday morning.)
A few things I learned:
I want a banner like these for the front of my area. See how they draw the eye? Once I get a cover for Sliding into Home, I’ll get right on that. I think they’ll make one at Kinko’s.
Some kind of easel to stand one of my books up on would be a good idea, too.
I also need to get some postcards or something to promote Blind Date Bride. Since I plan to release it this summer, it’s not too soon to start thinking about selling it.
Maybe I should market it and its related story, Trouble in Paradise, as the “Reality TV Bites” series …
Oooh … That’s actually not bad.
Aw, damn. Just googled it, and someone already wrote a book titled “Reality TV Bites.” So much for that idea.
Ahem. On to my other first: An article in the Arizona Daily Sun.
Abbie Gripman talked to me and Anne Marie Becker about our books and why we think romance sells. It’s a nice article that appeared in Sunday’s Arts & Living section. I didn’t come off sounding like a total idiot, which I appreciate.
It was the first time I’d been on that side of an interview. Usually I’m the one interviewing other people. But it was pretty painless. And the exposure is much appreciated.
I haven’t been doing the best job of getting my name out there. I’m working on that.