She was at a birthday party for one of our colleagues when she looked at the text. She started squealing and people wanted to know what was going on. She was one of only two people "on the job" who knew I wrote books (other than math textbooks) and was getting ready to publish one of them. She shared the pictures and everyone wanted to congratulate me-and see the book. She decided to have a "Congratulations, you published a book" party for me.
We set a date—a month out—so I could order books and she could give lots of notice for people to attend. It seemed like a long time...until the week before. We talked and firmed up the details. We agreed on appetizers and wine, and split the cooking prep. She wanted to give me a champagne toast and have me read something from the book. She also wanted me to talk about writing the book. I wanted to give everyone one of the cards that I make and have books to sell, if my self-professed non-reading co-workers wanted to buy a book. I wanted to show my book trailer. But I didn't want to read to my friends.
Instead, I choose a short part from four different scenes starting at page 6 through page 258. I printed up a six-page, 1.5 spaced handout for everyone. I thought it would be fun to ask questions about what they read and give prizes, so I came up with eight questions and eight prizes. I asked my friend who has been helping me with my social media to come be in charge of selling the books and taking pictures (thanks Aleida!) so I could just enjoy the party and send people her way to pick out their "party favor" card and buy books.
Twelve colleagues-and two spouses-attended. After the champagne toast (I brought my favorite bubbly) we watched the trailer. They were very impressed with it. (I'm lucky, a friend made it for me for free!)Then they read (and read and read) the handout. I almost felt guilty at the length. But the prizes were very well received: two free e-books, a free paperback book, a small stuffed animal representing the only animal on Prism, a packet of ten handmade cards and the favorites: supply the first name of a female character in P.R.I.S.M. 2, the first name of a male character, and the last name of a character. Because there is a Convict Town on Prism, prizes could be stolen. After having her prize stolen twice, the third time one of the young teachers won a prize, she refused to say what it was because she wanted to keep what turned out to be one of the free e-books.
After the party, I'd sold four books, which was a bonus, because I hadn't thought of it as a signing party. Turns out, although everyone of the guests has my signature on something work-related, they still wanted a book signed to them by the author. One even bought an extra book for a Christmas present for a friend. I felt honored. I'd hidden my secret well. No one had known I wrote novels. I have no idea about the conversations that took place in the work pods on Friday. But one of the English teachers came up to me at the party and said that the book was surprisingly well written. High fives to the math teacher! I told her I'd had a lot of help from critique partners and my editor.
Someone asked if I would speak at her Rotary Club meeting next month. Of course I can talk about writing the book. Who knows what that meeting will bring?
Thank you, Debbie, for a great pre-Christmas present!
What fun ways have you promoted your debut? Do you have tips for successful author interactions with readers?
Fae Rowen discovered the romance genre after years as a science fiction freak. Writing futuristics and medieval paranormals, she jokes that she can live anywhere but the present. As a mathematician, she knows life’s a lot more fun when you get to define your world and its rules.
Punished, oh-no, that’s published as a co-author of a math textbook, she yearns to hear personal stories about finding love from those who read her books, rather than the horrors of calculus lessons gone wrong. She is grateful for good friends who remind her to do the practical things in life like grocery shop, show up at the airport for a flight and pay bills.
A “hard” scientist who avoided writing classes like the plague, she now shares her brain with characters who demand that their stories be told. Amazing, gifted critique partners keep her on the straight and narrow. Feedback from readers keeps her fingers on the keyboard.
P.R.I.S.M., a young adult science fiction romance story of survival, betrayal, resolve, deceit, lies, and love.