Continuing in this series of posts for readers who like a glimpse behind the scenes and for author’s considering investing in similar ventures, Part 3 focuses on how I made the most of my 4 days down-time between the Melbourne and Gold Coast events. Given the cost in time away from my family, my job and the financial cost of travel, accommodation, transport and food, I was determined to make every moment count by setting up a promotional event, visiting bookshops to sign stock and connecting with as many of my author mates as possible.
Once my upcoming guest appearance was announced by Supanova, I reached out to the writing community in Melbourne and several writers messaged me: you’re coming to town! Let’s catch up!
My connection to the Australian YA writing community has developed over the last five years, primarily via Twitter and solidified by participation in previous Writing Festivals and Conventions (Oz Comic Con Sydney, The State Library Victoria Reading Matters Conference, the Somerset Celebration of Literature and Perth International Writers Festival). For those events, I had to sign a standard exclusivity clause, preventing me from participating in other promotional activities during those trips. Paying my own way for Supanova meant there was no exclusivity clause and no limitations about how I used my time.
Publishing house mate, Sarah Epstein – author of the spine tingling Small Spaces, contacted me when she heard I was coming over and suggested we combine forces for an event and team up for a day of bookshop visits. We had never met in real life before but had always been very friendly online, sharing ideas and advice around writing and publishing. I jumped at the offer. Keep an eye out for my up coming post about our Dark Imaginings Event to hear all about how we pulled it all together.
Tuesday morning, I met up with the gorgeous Emily Gale and Nova Weetman. We brunched and talked about our Works In Progress and dished all the good goss! I went home to rest for the rest of the day and evening as my cold and my vertigo were making me feel a bit dreadful and I didn’t want to be miserable for my bookshop tour with Sarah the next day. Cue Dimetap, Nurofen and binge watching The Punisher on Netflix. Hours of Jon Bernthal – very healing.
Wednesday was bookshop tour day with Sarah Epstein. Again, I feel very spoilt. Sarah drove all the way into the city, planned our itinerary and guided our trip. We had co-ordinated with our publicist at Walker Books Australia who had contacted all of the stores we were planning to visit to ensure they knew we were coming (nothing worse than turning up to blank stares – I’ve done that before!) and had time to prepare stock. (This was particularly impressive given Supanova had harvested most of my books from Melbourne stores after the distribution error the weekend before. So QBD and the brilliant Walker rep had made sure to replace them for our bookshop tour). Firstly, we fortified ourselves with coffee and hot chocolate.
We visited Robinson’s Bookshop, Readings, Mary Martin, Dymocks and the Little Book Room. We walked a loooooooooong way. My feet were killing me! But we had such a wonderful time. We signed tons of stock (go grab some!) and the booksellers were so enthusiastic and supportive. Making a personal connection with booksellers is tremendously valuable, especially as these wonderful people are the ones who hand sell our books.
Wednesday night I caught up with Joel Martin and Ian Laking of SpecVic fame, to record a podcast for The Morning Bell. Click the link to listen in. I first met Joel and Ian at the Somerset Celebration of Literature, now known as StoryFest. We hit it off immediately, full nerd-alert, and have stayed in touch ever since. We were all a bit giddy to catch up again and the conversation was brilliant. We shared latest reads, latest binge watching obsessions and then discussed the process of moving on from one writing project to develop another.
Thursday, I summoned my courage to face public transport and caught the train out to the coast to catch up with beautiful Amie Kaufman. We connected first at Reading Matters a few years ago and Amie blurbed the third book in the Spark trilogy, Shield. We had fish’n’chips on the beach and walked along the sand and caught up on all the goss.
Thursday night was my last night in Melbourne before flying to the Gold Coast on Friday morning for Supanova. To read about the Dark Imaginings Event with Sarah Epstein and Katya de Becerra, stay tuned.
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