5-16-09: The Door Opens, Tyra Banks, and Aspiring Writers
Where to begin? It’s been a while since I’ve been able to write up a blog post and a lot has happened in the last couple of weeks.
Media Blitz: Okay, so I don’t know if it qualifies as an actual media blitz, but with the official release of my book this week, I have had the chance to be interviewed by the Deseret News and by Doug Wright for his KSL radio show, and my book had a full-page ad in the Deseret Book summer catalog. Plus I’ve had some nice reviews at Amazon.com, DeseretBook.com, BarnesAndNoble.com, and GoodReads.com. Not to mention that I had a launch party for my book, had my first official book signing, and my first school visit (more on those later), and yeah, maybe it does qualify as a blitz. I know I certainly feel a little overwhelmed at the moment.
When the Deseret News called to interview me earlier this month, they also requested a photograph of me to run with the article and book review. And so I had the chance to play dress-up one day, get my hair and makeup done by a professional stylist, and channel my inner Tyra Banks (fierce, but smiling with my eyes) in an honest-to-goodness photo shoot. I was a little nervous, but Butch Adams (the photographer) was really nice and gave me some good direction. It helped that Tracy was able to meet me at the studio for the last half-hour or so and I’m always a lot more relaxed when he’s with me. I thought the shoot went pretty well and I hoped we had some decent shots—maybe at least one good shot we could use for the paper, anyway. So imagine my surprise when the pictures came back and well, see for yourself . . .
Pretty nice, huh? Sometimes it’s hard to believe that those are pictures of me. It’s like when you hear your recorded voice: you know it’s you, but at the same time, it doesn’t sound like you.
Launch Party: Tracy organized a launch party for me for the release of Hourglass Door. We reserved the park by our house and invited a bunch of people to come for sandwiches, treats, games, and fun. The day was absolutely beautiful—sunshine, warm and clear—and the very instant we snapped open the tablecloths to cover the picnic tables at the park . . . Whoosh! A cold wind sprang up, roaring through the pavilion like a tornado. The temperature dropped, the clouds moved in, and I started to think maybe we should have served hot chocolate instead of cold sodas. But despite the fickle weather, we still had a great time. My family came and so did a bunch of friends from work and the neighborhood. Here are some pictures from the party.
After the launch party, I had my first official book signing at the Deseret Book store in Jordan Landing. I was a little nervous—what if no one showed up?—but as it turned out, a whole bunch of people showed up! In fact, I had a line of people waiting for me when I arrived. And what’s more, those people wanted to buy my book and have me sign it! It was great to see all my friends and visit with everyone for a few minutes. I even had some friends that I hadn’t seen since high school come to the signing. Small world! I had a steady stream of people for more than an hour—including some people who were just shopping at the store and bought my book without knowing anything about it. And while I know that not every book signing will be like this one—I’m sure there will be some events where I’ll be lucky to have even a couple people stop by my table—I think that as far as book signings go, this one was a complete success.
School Visit: This week I kicked off my Author Tour by visiting Rocky Mountain Middle School in Idaho Falls, Idaho—Go Panthers!—for my first ever school presentation. I spent the day with Mrs. Olsen’s eighth-grade English classes, talking about writing, creativity, and my book. I had a fantastic time and was impressed with the kids, who asked interesting questions and either paid attention to my presentation or were at least polite enough not to disrupt it. I was a little surprised—but pleased—at how many kids said that they were writing stories or wanted to be writers someday. It’s fun to think that maybe I visited with an undiscovered bestselling author. And speaking of authors, in all the scenarios I imagined might happen during my school visit—equipment malfunction, for example (the projector died halfway through my first class)—I confess I didn’t expect what happened to me after lunch.
After grabbing a bite to eat at the cafeteria—complete with a carton of milk and an oatmeal chocolate-chip cookie—I was visiting with some girls in the library. The bell rang and all the students turned to leave. All but one, that is. She came up to me and said, “I heard that you also worked for a publishing company, is that right?” When I said yes, she gathered up some papers and said, “Well, I wrote a short story, can I give it to you?” And then she handed me her manuscript! I was so impressed with her bravery and confidence—there was no way I would have done the same thing when I was in the seventh grade. I had some time that afternoon to read her short story and write a few comments and make a few suggestions for her to think about. So take note, all you writers out there, you never know when an opportunity to network will present itself, and when it does, you better be ready!