Saturday, February 19, 2011

some final advice on book signings - as if i'm the expert

i had my third (and final until baby comes) book signing last week and had such a fun time!  what was so different about it this time?  FRIENDS!!!  i mean, it sounds logical enough... you wouldn't throw a party without inviting your friends right?  and book signings should be just that.  a PaRtY!!!

this book signing was closer to my house so i was able to invite a lot of people i knew.  plus, i had some great friends drive 2 hours to come to it! (such a fabulous surprise!) 

not only did having friends at the signing make the event so much more fun but strangers who usually avoid eye contact with me actually came to the table! yeah!  i'm beginning to think that we humans have a fear of interacting one-on-one with people we don't know.  i think it was really intimidating for the customers in the coffee shop to approach my table when it was just me sitting there all by myself.  but when there was already a crowd around it was a lot easier for people to come ask questions and see what was going on. 

what made it even better is that my friends were able to say stuff like, "you should definitely read this book, its great!"  that sounds a lot better coming from someone else than from me - the author. 

my publisher had suggested in a list of tips that i take someone with me as a book signing "buddy" to the events.  i didn't take this advice (mostly because i didn't think any of my new friends in ohio would want to join me.) but i think people would have been willing if i would have asked them and i think it makes a BIG difference. 

so the last tip i'm going to leave with you from my limited amount of experience is...

p.s. thanks to everyone who came out.  you truly made it a fabulous event!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Follower Love Giveaway Results!!!

here is the official name-drawing bucket
(as you can see we are very official here in the palmer house...)

here are ALL the names!
here is our cute little name-drawer.
he's going in...
he has the winner!!!  (drum roll please)

and the winner is...

Congratulations Zombie Girl!!!
I'll be contacting you shortly.
Thanks so much to everyone for participating.
i LOVED reading about all your Second Kiss's.
And just for fun...
my second kiss was on a cold december night
on the street in front of my house
leaning against his car.
i was so nervous
and he had a lot more experience
and i was giddy for the rest of the night.
Happy Valentines Day!

Just Kiss Already Blogfest (and a sneak peak of the sequel to Second Kiss)

i've had so much fun with contests and blog hops to celebrate the day of love that is just around the corner. however, i just realized that they'll all be OVER by the time valentine's day actually arrives!  so for a special little v-day treat i've decided to participate in the "Just Kiss Already" Blogfest hosted by Stina Lindenblatt and Christina Lee.
the blogfest is just about posting a 250 word (or less) segment of a kissing scene of either your own writing or from a book you want to share.  even though i am absolutely IN LOVE with the book i'm currently reading Flirt Club by Cathleen Daly - the girls in the book are young and haven't quite come across any big romantic kisses.  so for this event i'm going to post a little sneak peak from my current project (the sequel to Second Kiss).  Of course this is just part of  a rough draft and may not even make the final cut but for those of you have read Second Kiss you may be interested to see what happens to Gemma and Jess a little bit later...

Okay this is more than 250 words.  But if you don't want to read past the 250th word you don't have to. :)

I should have been paying more attention to the bottle and the people around me.  Because when Jess’s spin landed on me there were a million things I should have done, that I didn’t.  I should have kissed him on the cheek the way Drew did.  I should have looked at Lauren and remembered how much she liked him and how good of a friend she was to me.  And I definitely should have considered the consequences. 

But I wasn’t paying attention… not enough anyway.  I was thinking about Jess and how perfect and strong his hand looked as he spun the bottle and rested it on the carpet waiting to see where it landed.  And when he followed the rules of the game and crawled toward me I should have smiled politely and given him a friendly kiss.  Because it was only a game of spin the bottle and Lauren was right there, waiting and watching.  I shouldn’t have crawled toward him – but then again, he shouldn’t have crawled toward me either, especially not with such a deep and determined gaze.  I shouldn’t have allowed my heart to beat a million times a minute.  And he shouldn’t have taken such a deep breath.  I shouldn’t have lightly glossed my lips with the tip of my tongue   I should have pursed my lips.  I should have gone for his cheek.  But I didn’t and neither did he.  He went for my lips and I went for his and when we should have pulled away – when the universal allotted time for a spin-the-bottle kiss was over – we should have pulled away!  But neither one of us did.  Our lips were soft and inviting and accepting and moving and I only realized that we had been kissing for an entirely inappropriate amount of time when Drew gasped and Greg cleared his throat and I knew we had broken the cardinal rule.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Follower Love Giveaway Hop

This hop was organized by I Am A Reader, Not a Writer.  I am truly excited about participating in this blog hop because its my FIRST blog hop and because i love valentines day!

How the blog hop works: Over 200 participating blogs are offering a book related giveaway and we are all linked up together so you can easily hop from one giveaway to another.  (see the linky list at the bottom of this post.) The hop runs from Tuesday, February 8th through Sunday, February 13th.  

What I'm giving away: Second Kiss Valentine's Day Package which includes a signed copy of Second Kiss and an exclusive "Second Kiss" charm baracelet. 

I absolutely LOVE the charm bracelet that Sara from SimpleSerendipity created for this package.  It is simple, stylish and looks just like the bracelet i imagine jess tyler giving gemma in the book.  As a special treat for this blog hop i got the chance to interview Sara. she is such a great girl and i would love for all of you participating in this Love Hop to be able to get to know her a little bit better:

npbooks: Who taught you how to make jewelry and how long have you been doing it?

simple: I started making jewelry 4 years ago when a friend invited me over to a girls night out at her house.   My friend Shannon introduced me to the wonderful world of beads.   I walked into the office in her home and sat in amazement at the beautiful, variety of beads she had tucked in little organized containers.   I grew to love the nights out at Shannon's place, making something with my hands and chatting with the women folk. When Shannon moved, I wanted to carry on the tradition.   So, that's when my own personal bead collection began to grow.    It hasn't stopped growing since.

npbooks: If you could only wear one form of jewelry (earrings, bracelet, necklace, ring, etc.) for the rest of your life which would you choose?

simple: Of course, I would pick my wedding ring, for sentimental reasons.   But, if I'm not being sentimental, I would say earrings.   Definitely earrings.   Sometimes you'll see me without makeup on, but still wearing a pair of earrings.   Go figure.  I love that wearing earrings with a t-shirt instantly makes me feel less frumpy, stay at home, sweat pants, mom-ish.    My only problem, as of late, is my 16 month old also has a love for my earrings.   That's ok,  some women put up with way more pain to wear high heel shoes on a daily basis.  I can deal with the occasional little tug from a tiny hand. 

npbooks: You're a full time wife and mother of three.  When do you find the time to make all this jewelry?

simple: Last year, when my husband found out he was getting a pay cut from work, I knew I wanted to do something to help out.    I  wanted to figure out something I could do after the kids went to bed.   That's when I remembered my huge Rubbermaid tub full of beads sitting in the closet.   I knew that would be something I could do to help add a little extra to our budget.    When I opened up my Etsy shop, I wasn't prepared for the overwhelming response.   Some nights I would stay up until 1 or 2 in the morning just trying to make and fill all the orders that were coming in.    Beads and kids don't really mix, so evenings are really the only feasible time to make jewelry,

npbooks: Do you prefer silver or gold or something else?

simple: Silver, definitely silver.   I also really like antiqued bronze metal.   It has that vintage look.   I don't have anything against gold, I just like the look of silver better on me, so that's why I make more products with silver.   But, I'm happy to customize an order for a customer who prefers gold.

npbooks: And since you are the creator of the exclusive "Second Kiss" charm bracelet, how old were you and where were you at when you had your SECOND kiss? 

simple: If I'm counting the truth or dare kiss I had in 6th grade as my "first kiss", then my "second kiss" was when I was 18 and in my first year of college.   It was a really good kiss, to a really self absorbed,  narcissistic  guy.   Fortunately, I found someone else later on in life who knew how to give a really good kiss and was also a genuine good human being.   I am lucky to be married to him. 

To see more of Sara's simple yet stylish jewelry check her website out here.

To enter this Giveaway:
Become a follower of this blog and leave a comment about your own second kiss (please keep it clean. :))  Also give me a way to contact you.  
(Last day to enter is Sunday, February 13th)

Optional Extra Entries:
+1 Post something about my blog or book on Facebook/Myspace/etc.
+1 Post a little something about my book, Second Kiss, on your blog

(additional entries will only be given if you leave the link to your posts in your comment!)

Thanks for stopping by everyone and Happy Valentines Day!!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

book signing #2...

it went better... slightly.  the challenges were the same but i think the most important thing was that i had a better attitude about it all.  i had some better conversations and i definitely had more fun this time around.  all good things.  looking forward to next week's book signing!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

my first book signing and what i coulda, woulda, shoulda done.

coulda, woulda, shoulda... i hate those terms (for one because they are so grammaticaly incorrect!) but also because we can't change the past so why dwell on it? 

well, i just had my first book signing at a caribou coffee near Cleveland and i have two more book signings coming up in the next two weeks so i think this time its pretty vital that i consider the coulda, woulda, shoulda's and make sure i do better next time. 

i'm not going to lie.  this book signing was an absolute flop.  i don't think it could have gone more poorly (okay, the customers could have thrown muffin tops at my head) but other than that i think i can only go up from here.  unless i stay stagnant, which would be bad, so i'm going to analyze the event and figure out where i can improve.  and what better place to do that than right here on my blog for you to all learn from my mistakes as well?

here's what i did at the book signing and what i coulda, woulda, shoulda done...

1. i planned too much in the hours leading up to the book signing.  i wanted to get my exercising in, plus run an errand, plus hit up the samples at costco (because its a saturday-family tradition and since i was going to be away from my family all afternoon i wanted to at least do that) then i had to get ready and stop at the post office (longest line ever!) and even though i wanted to be at caribou coffee fifteen minutes early i got there right at 1pm (which was the starting time) and i was flustered!
coulda gone to the post office AFTER the book signing.
woulda foregone exercising or costco this one saturday.
shoulda taken a map to avoid getting lost!
2. when i got to caribou i went right up to the worker behind the counter and told her i was there for a book signing.  she pointed to the designated table in the back and i headed over to set up my stuff.
coulda introduced myself more properly.
woulda asked to speak to the person who set up the book signing with me in the first place.
shoulda asked them if i could put a sign up at the counter announcing my book signing (since my table was in the back).

3. as i started setting up all my things i scanned the coffee shop to see who was there.  the place was packed with middle aged men.  (the main crowd being a group of portuguese men playing cards at a nearby table.)  my immediate response? "great.  none of these guys are going to want to buy my book."
coulda asked the portuguese men more questions about their game and where they were from (especially when one of them asked me if i was having a boy or a girl... [i'm pregnant.]) 
woulda found out if they had any daughters or nieces between the ages of 12-17.
shoulda offered them some cards with my information on them just in case.

4.  Once my table was set up and i had nothing else to do, i tried to look busy by writing my blog address on the back of my promotional cards.  I tried making eye contact and smiling at everyone who walked into the cafe.  but i felt like a desperate little puppy begging for someone - anyone - to come talk to me.  when a blond haired lady came within talking distance of my table i practically jumped out at her and asked her if she had teenage daughters.  she said no and walked away.
coulda approached people with a better opening line like, "Do you like to read?" More people like to read than have teenage daughters.
woulda positioned myself better at my table so that it wasn't such a stretch to talk to people.
shoulda gone up to the sugar table a few times to "put sugar" in my hot chocolate so that i could just talk to people there.

5.  After a while I got up from the table and took promotional cards around to a few of the younger looking people in the room. (my publisher suggested i do this if noone was coming to me.) I felt awkward and shy and barely said a thing as i passed them out.
coulda realized that I'm an adult and can act like one.  why am i so shy about this?  
woulda acted more proud about my book and let them know that its something they really need to read
shoulda had more conversation with them.  asked them questions.  gotten to know them.  after all, its a coffee shop. people go there for friendly conversation. 

6. When there were no available tables I invited a mother and her 20-something daughter to sit at my table (it was big and i wasn't using all the space.)  i was hoping i'd be able to have more conversation with them about the book.  but it turned out that they were meeting up at the coffee shop to discuss a fight they had gotten into and the fact that the daughter was moving out.  they were right next to me.  i heard every word. and they knew it. AWKWARD! i offered them a promotional card as they left and they kindly took it. 
coulda butted in with my own advice about their fight. (but really i would never do that.)
woulda told them that there is a part in my book about a mother and daughter fighting too! (that's a joke, i would never do that either.)
shoulda asked them if they were interested in buying my book rather than just asking if they wanted a promotional card. (but i don't know if i would have done that either... it was really awkward.) 

7. After a while I got so desperate that I just started offering people free chocolate hearts from my candy dish.  i got rejected there as well.  Not one person wanted my free candy! Not. One. Person.  It's FREE people!!
coulda bought the dove chocolate brand instead of Nestle. (Nestle just can't compete.)
woulda put a little sign up by the bows offering passers by to "help yourself." (maybe that would have gotten more people to the table.)
shoulda just saved my money and not offered chocolate hearts at all.  (i'm guessing that chocolate hearts don't go too well with a cappucino.)

8. At 3pm i packed up my things and told a young blond haired kid at the counter that i was leaving.  he had just barely gotten there and had no idea who i was but he smiled politely and said, "okay, bye!"  (now that i think about it, its a little bit hilarious that he probably thought i was just a customer informing him that i was done with my coffee and was ready to go.)  I called my husband the second i was in my car and somewhere between me complaining about waisting my time and laughing so hard at how horrible it all went, i burst into tears and told him i'd talk to him when i got home. 
coulda asked to talk to someone behind the counter that knew what was going on and thanked them for letting me come.
woulda processed the event out in my head before calling my husband so that he wasn't so worried about me.
shoulda sucked it up and realized that its not that its not the end of the world and life will go on.

9. i drove home frusterated with so many things.  frusterated that my book was published three months after we moved to an entirely new city. i have no extended family here.  and only a few close friends to support me in all of this.  i was frustrated with my publisher for scheduling the book signing at a coffee shop on a saturday afternoon.  teens and their mothers don't hang out at coffee shops on a saturday afternoon!  i was frustrated that i don't have a personality for selling things.  i'd rather be at home, writing a book than in a coffee shop trying to get people to buy it.
coulda stopped making excuses.
woulda stopped making excuses.
shoulda stopped mkaing excuses!

I'll let you know how the next one goes!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Valentine Gift Package!!!

I am excited to announce that 
I have teamed up with the owner of
Simple Serendipity
in creating an
Exclusive Second Kiss Gift Package
for the upcoming Valentine's Day!
This package includes:

A signed copy of Second Kiss


This stylish 
Second Kiss Charm Bracelet
designed and created by
(It's just like the one in the book!)

The Second Kiss Package will be mailed to you all ready to be gifted
with the bracelet in a fancy drawstring gift bag. 

The price for this exclusive gift is only 
(Even though it is worth a LOT more than that!)
To order yours just select the "Book + Bracelet" option from the
drop down menu on the right then click the 
"Buy Now"Paypal button.

Check out more cute (and affordable) jewelry from Simple Serendipity