Launching a Book, the Marissa Meyer Way
Yesterday was the release date for Marissa Meyer’s book Scarlet, the second book in her Lunar Chronicles, following on her fantastic book, Cinder. She kicked off her book tour at the Garfield Book Company at Pacific Lutheran University, which is about 20 minutes from my house, and my wife’s alma mater. Since both my wife and I had enjoyed the first book so much, I figured I’d go and support a local author. When my mother-in-law found out I was going, she suggested I buy a few extra copies for some of her very lucky grandchildren (and herself, of course).
I was a little bit late getting to the signing, as I had to put the kids to bed. I got there around 8 pm (the event started at 7). The place was packed. I took this very fuzzy picture to show just how busy it was. What you can’t see are the other fifty+ people around the other side. (Note to self, take multiple pictures next time, just in case your hand happens to move during the long exposure a dim room requires.)
I learned quite a few things about book signings from going to this one. I’ve been to a few before—mainly PNWA events, and one for John Scalzi on his Fuzzy Nation tour—but I’ve never quite seen one done as well set up as this.
First, depending on your arrival time, you got a ticket with a group letter on it, A through F. The earlier you arrived, the earlier you got in line for getting your book signed. Unfortunately since I got there late, I got an F, and for a while I was the last person in line until a few stragglers showed up at the last minute.
They also gave out raffle tickets for anyone who pre-ordered the book, and the gift baskets (audio books, extra copies of both books in the series, and a few other things), were very nicely done. The raffle was held after half an hour of signing, which kept people around and browsing for a bit, and gave Marissa a few minutes of break.
I must have missed the memo that everyone was supposed to wear something scarlet, and some intrepid souls actually came dressed up as characters from the books. That kind of dedication from readers is something you generally won’t find outside of the YA realm. A few years ago, I might have thought it weird, but I really admired those who connect with the books that well that they take the time to show the author their appreciation.
Marissa arranged for someone to go through the line and have everyone write down what they would like written with the autograph. Her husband sat at the same table with her, and opened the book to the right page, and helped to take pictures when fans asked. That allowed the line to move a little faster, and allowed Marissa to concentrate more on the fans than on the mechanics of the signing.
The book store provided both cake and little, frosted cream puffs that helped to pass the time while awaiting your turn to get books signed.
I think it was 9:40 PM before I made it to the front of the line and got my books signed. I don’t know how she kept up the pace for so long. Writing / signing that many books would make my hand cramp up like a vice grip. I’m actually thinking I need to start exercising my hands by practicing my signature a few hundred times a day. She also had a phrase to add to each book for those who didn’t have something particular in mind—also something to have ready for a first signing. Through it all, Marissa had a giant, welcoming smile on her face. You could tell she was having a great time, and really loved meeting her fans.
Overall the experience was very enjoyable, and if she’s coming to a town near you, get out and go. You’ll be glad you did.