I’m writing to you from sunny Sarasota Florida. My feet are aching, my face feels a little burnt and I smell like the beach, but I wanted to get this all down before I sleep and forget (believe me, it happens).
For The Love of Books and Florida Signing Event was my FIRST event as a signing author. Apparently, I was not the only one because plenty of other authors there were signing virgins, but we had a few best sellers as well.
We left the house at about 9am Friday morning and we didn’t pull up to the Ritz Carlton until about 7pm or a little later. Now, Google said it was a 6 hour drive, but there were several wrecks on I-75 that delayed us almost three hours. Insane. Bonus: I got clever with Amazon Unlimited Music and we got to listen to Nsync, Backstreet Boys, ABBA, 98 Degrees, and Ricky Martin on the way. I had my mom with me as my assistant, which was cool because she got to be there and support me. She’s also a great singing partner to Savage Garden. It was just like the trips we took to Disney when I was a kid (almost the same route too).
Anyway, we went in and set everything up and checked in with the event coordinators. I was like a spoiled toddler and wanted to do almost everything on my own, so my mom did little assisting, but that’s my fault. When I get in the zone and I’m focused, steer clear or you might get your head bit off. Because we got into town late, we didn’t get to hang out at the mixer with the other authors, bloggers, and VIP readers. It looked like everyone was having fun though. We went back to the hotel to recoup from being stuck in the car for ten hours.
We stayed at the Hyatt hotel just down the road from the Ritz and y’all, they had a window seat that is to die for! I would love to come here every weekend to write just so I could sit here and stare at the ocean. The view was amazing as well. I snapped a picture of the sunset from Friday night.
The next morning, I got up before the sun and had to wait for it to come up so I could put on my makeup for the day. We got to the Ritz for a quick breakfast and the VIPs started to flood in at 9am.
Y’all, I used to be a salesperson at a furniture store. I switched to an office position for a reason. I’m not great with head-on confrontation and talking face to face with people. My mother, on the other hand, is an extrovert and loves to gab. Today, our roles got switched. I was putting on my game-face and just did it. I talked, I laughed, I screamed across the table because the rest of the room was noisy (that’s a good thing), and I did my author thing.
Now, my banner, as gorgeous as it was, happened to also be taller than everyone else’s. It was like I was trying to overcompensate. I swear I wasn’t! Might invest in a shorter banner to dedicate to a certain series or something. I also got many compliments on the bookrack my husband made me. It breaks down and it’s easy to put together. No one believed me when I said this was my first event because I had tons of stuff and a well prepared setup. It made me feel great that I put on a good show for everyone.
Mom did a great job of assisting and talked to the readers here and there. A few came over because they noticed she was reading one of my books (Silver Screen) and that was a conversation starter. I think we both need to work on giving a quick and dirty description of each book though.
To my shock and amazement, the Loup-Garou series did not sell as well. I think that’s because the event was geared more towards adults and the series is YA. Passions and Silver Screen actually dominated the event, so I’m not complaining. I came well stocked, so no one had to leave my table empty handed.
I made a ton of connections and referenced my amazing graphics designer a few times too. I met a few authors and bloggers as well. Overall, it was a great event, and Danielle and Red did a fantastic job on making sure everything ran smoothly. Honestly, it was just like an SCA event. There were assistants running around to make sure everyone had everything they needed and as far as I could tell, it was like clockwork. No hiccups or hitches. I’d gladly come to any of their other signing events in the future. I’ll be investing in a wheely cart to carry my stuff on, though. That was the only pain the entire weekend, but that was because I had too much stuff.
After the event, we hung out with the other authors at the after party on the beach. Sweet baby Jesus, it was hot! I took one of my shirts off just to let my upper arms get some sun. Downside to working in an office, you get a little pasty after a few years. With having a pool in my own backyard, you would think I’d lay out more often, but I don’t. I’m inside writing pretty stories.
I will say something that has been on my mind. I envy some of these seasoned authors who have such close friendships with other authors at signings. I’m not the kind to invite myself into a group or go someplace without having a reason or going along with someone I know. It’d difficult for me to form relationships sometimes and there was such a great camaraderie amongst these ladies that I couldn’t help but feel like a black goat among psychedelic sheep. I wished I could have been part of the fun, but my timid personality would have none of it. I’m sure that will change over the years as I go to other events, but it just breaks my heart a little that I don’t have many close author friends in the writing world yet.
All in all, it was a great event and I look forward to my next. It won’t be nearly as big as this was, but it’ll be fun nonetheless. Today was also the release day for Beast Within, which made the event all the more special. This was my most successful release to date and I couldn’t be more thrilled!
Tomorrow, I drop mom off at the airport and I’m sneaking over to Tampa to go to the Florida Holocaust Museum. I haven’t been there since I was in middle school and I’ve been aching to go back. Since I’m on this side of the state, I need to take advantage of it.