Monday, September 15, 2008

Rock My World--Results of a Weekend at ScrapFest

This morning at 2 a.m., I returned home from three days at ScrapFest, the nation’s largest scrapbooking get-together which is held yearly in Minneapolis at Mall of America. The sponsor is Archivers, and they kindly invited me to sign copies of Paper, Scissors, Death at their flagship store there in the mall. My husband David came along with, to help me sell.

And sell we did.
More than 300 copies of Paper, Scissors, Death flew out the doors! People loved the idea, loved the story of Kiki Lowenstein, loved the coupon in the back for 50 free digital prints, and the whole idea of a mystery involving an expert scrapbooker.

You know, we write in such a vacuum. An author puts her dreams, her fantasies, and a lot of her ego into her characters. The acquiring editor makes a purchase, based on her own tastes and her assessment of the market. The publisher packages the book, hoping it will capture the interest of the target readership.

But until you put your product into the hands of the readers, it's all a big crap shoot.
And this one is paying off.

How successful was our launch?

You know you’ve done something right when the “buzz” starts, and demand builds--pulling the product you formerly pushed into the marketplace. By mid-way through Day One, we had to call Midnight Ink, my publisher, to ask them to drive over more boxes of books. (Midnight Ink's home office is in Wooddale, about 25 miles from Mall of America.) We went through the same re-stocking panic on Day Two, and this time the new head of publicity at Midnight Ink drove over boxes of books. He and two friends hand carried them into the flagship store.

By Day Three, well, the buzz about my book had reached a fevered pitch. Word had spread throughout the mall, and many of the 5,000-plus scrapbookers in attendance were talking about my protagonist, Kiki Lowenstein.

How do I know this? Well, folks came in to share their enthusiam.

For example, I learned that a woman waiting in line at a make-n-take booth in the Rotunda, started reading Paper, Scissors, Death aloud to the others in line. When she quit, three women who had been listening came upstairs to the Archivers store and demanded copies because they wanted to know what happened next! Another woman bought five copies, determined to send a book to everyone on her holiday gift list. And then there was the woman who bought books on Day One and made a special point of coming by on Day Three to say, “I’m so enjoying the book. I can’t wait to tell all my friends.”
Perhaps most gratifying was the reaction from the Archivers staff members. They weren’t allowed to make purchases until the last day (Sunday/Day Three). So early on they brought me a list of who all wanted the book, and asked me if I would have enough copies to sign books for everyone on the list. (That's a photo of me with the staff. They were so great to work with!)

Immediately before David and I left to drive nine hours back home to St. Louis, the Archivers store manager Jodi announced over the public address system that folks had ten minutes to get a signed book—and a small crowd raced over to ask me to personalize their copies.

It was like a dream come true.

So here I am today, back in my little office. My dogs are snoring. David is off at work. Everything seems so normal, except…my whole world has changed.
I'm not alone anymore. Now Kiki and I have friends.


Betty Hechtman said...

How exciting, Joanna. You certainly had a weekend to remember.

Nicole P said...

Joanna that is wonderful!! I am so happy that the event was a success!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

I'm on Cloud Nine, and Betty, one of the ladies said, "I read a mystery about a crocheter." I had the pleasure of telling her that I blog with you, and what a lovely person you are.

Nicole, you're a gem. Thanks for all you've done to get the word out.

Camille Minichino said...

Such a weekend was overdue for you, Joanna!

Queue_t said...

Wonderful - way to spend a weekend, - I am so glad you had a smashing sucess with the sale of your book.
enjoy basking in your sucess.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Thanks, everyone. I'm still on an emotional high!

PattiM said...

Congratulations, Joanna......Having read the book, I was sure everyone would like the story....I'm so happy you had a successfull weekend at ScrapFest...


(Pattie's passion)

I Scrap So All Moments Are Remembered!!!!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Thank you, Pattie. I'm delighted the book is being so well received. And I appreciate how you and your sister scrapbook bloggers have been so kind to spread the ROCK!

Terri Thayer said...

Wow Joanna! Great job!