Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sold Out with Nora Roberts

The words every author wants to hear...

Yesterday, I had the honorable privilege of participating in a book signing with Nora Roberts/JD Robb, Eloisa James, Maya Banks, Erica Robuck and Lora Leigh at Turn the Page Bookstore in Boonsboro, MD.

My son and I arrived at 11:15a.m. and immediately received a pleasant greeting from Nora and her office manager, Janeen. I was asked to sign a couple of pre-order copies, literally two, while Nora signed hers, literally--well, a lot. Janeen told me that any books I didn't sell would need to be signed for Turn the Page so they could mail out any additional orders.

Nervously, I prepared my table. MacGregor tartan tablecloth, bookmarks, postcards, newsletter book, sharpies, t-shirts, kilt cookies, check. I was ready to rock and roll.

I met some fabulous authors. Erica Robuck was also a debut author and a fellow agency sister from Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. She was there showcasing her new novel, Hemingway's Girl. And of course we had to get our picture taken again with Nora!

With the initial set-up complete, Janeen told all of the authors that normally 150 readers come to the event. That didn't happen. We had 250 turn out! I knew this was going to be an exciting day. And I wasn't wrong.
I nervously signed Temptation in a Kilt for my first reader, and my son and I quickly developed a system. I'd sign, my son inserted the bookmark and handed the reader a kilt cookie. We passed them out like hotcakes. And then it slowed down a bit.

When the line wasn't moving and a couple of readers passed us by, my son said, "I didn't give them a cookie."

I leaned over and whispered in his ear, "They didn't buy Mommy's book."

His eyes widened, he leaned back and said a little louder, "That sucks! You're book is really good. How come they're not buying it?" I was just about to answer him when he whipped his head around and said again, loudly, "Hey, look! I see they have it, and they have it, and they have it."

Out of the mouths of babes. We definitely had some interesting experiences.

A man came up to the table and asked my little man, "Do you recommend your Mom's book?"

My little lad hesitated (not understanding the word "recommend" at 7 years old) and shook his head--no. I closed my eyes and said a silent prayer... Fortunately, the man laughed and bought the book for his wife.

I met some downright charming people. Everyone was very nice, and even if they didn't buy the book, they offered congratulations on the accomplishment. I heard some great stories and met some great people. One moment in particular stands out.

There was a charming older woman who traveled from Cape Cod with her daughters to the event. To be honest, I've never laughed so hard in my life. The woman proceeded to tell me that she came to Nora's signing last year. Apparently, she made quite the impression with Nora the last time she was here. The woman walked up to Nora, looked her straight in the eye and said, "It's about time I get to finally meet my favorite author--Danielle Steel."

Nora, ever the professional, laughed it off and said, "No matter how famous you become people always mistake you for someone else."

Two hours into the signing, all of the books on my table sold. Janeen promptly brought me the remainder of the stock. My son and I stacked up the remainder of the books and the ritual continued.

My kin played a huge part in this event. My Dad told the ladies that he was the male cover model on my book and Sourcebooks photo shopped his head. My sister was outside and told readers that her author-sister was in there signing her first novel. My daughter wore her Bad Boys of the Highlands t-shirt and walked around the bookstore. And my son sat diligently by my side, sporting his kilt. 

When we were down to the last hour, I ran out of books. Since I'm my mother's daughter, I always over-prepare. I pulled out my personal stash of Temptation in a Kilt that I brought from home. And there it was. They were ALL GONE! SOLD OUT! The bookstore's and my own!

Janeen walked by and discreetly gave me the thumbs up as the last reader walked through the line. There were no books left over for me to sign. I did it. My debut novel. My first book signing and it's with Nora Roberts. I SOLD OUT!!!!!

At the end of the day, I walked up to Nora and thanked her profusely for having me. When she found out I sold out of Temptation in a Kilt she said, "I'm really happy for you."

Then I said, "Oh, and I need to thank you for something else."

Nora's expression became puzzled. "And what's that?"

"Thanks to you, I'm right next to you on the shelf."

Nora laughed and said, "I'm glad I could help you out."

I will never forget this experience of a lifetime. "All dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them."--Walt Disney. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Release Day

It's finally here. Release day for Temptation in a Kilt.

As I unleashed my new baby into the world, I took a step back, realizing my emotions were so out of whack. Frankly, I don't know how debut authors do it. How can one feel excited, thrilled, joyful and scared to death all at the same time? Seriously. If anyone knows, please fill me in.

"Get a grip, Roberts." That's what I keep telling myself over and over.

I know one thing for certain. My heart and soul went into this book and I hold my head high with pride. It touches me dearly when a reader takes the time to send me a personal note to tell me how much this book touched them. And you know what? That one reader makes it totally worth the ride. 

I'd like to thank the following people for their support.

Sabrina Jeffries, for making me realize it’s never too late to try something new.

Hannah Howell, for her support while I was bogged down in synopsis hell.

Eliza Knight, for giving me the courage to put myself out there.

To my agent, Jill Marsal, for her endless support and encouragement.

To my editor, Deb Werksman, for giving me a chance.

To my critique partner, Mary Grace, there are really no words to express the tremendous amount of gratitude I hold for you. All those times I ruffled your feathers about having your nose planted in a book, even when you walk… For your brutal honesty and endless reads, your unwavering support and encouragement, these Bad Boys came to life. Thank you for believing in me.
To my family, for their unwavering support and dedication to this Bad Boy. For my son, who understood at such a young age that Mommy was editing. For my daughter, the only Gaelic-speaking lass in the fifth grade. And for my husband, who makes dinners countless nights. I could not ask for a more encouraging bunch. I love you all, and you have my heartfelt thanks and appreciation. I could have never done this without you. 
Mom, Dad and Michelle, thank you for believing in me. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about you or miss you, Mom. I hope I made you proud.
Thanks for helping me spread the word, and I'm raising a cyber glass of champagne to all of you.