Monday, July 25, 2011

Charlotte Bennardo & Natalie Zaman - Sirenz: Bewitching Tour Stop

Hello!! I am so glad you are visiting my blog today. Today It's my honor to host Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman who are touring their YA book Sirenz. So, scroll on down for an interesting and insightful guest post that talks about Launch Parties and many activities that can go into a successful book launch.

Sirenz Blog Tour Guest Post
3-2-1 Launch!
            Hosting a launch party is a big undertaking—especially for debuting midlist authors like us (Look at for Kirsten Hubbard's excellent post on being a midlist author). Signings are a great way to connect with readers, but for the time, effort and expense involved, the reach is limited. Most people who go to signings are local (that's what appearances are all about in a way, making authors and artists accessible to readers). Still, how often does a writer have a debut novel? Just once. With a little brainstorming and careful planning, sometimes the reach can go beyond the folks who walk into the store, and like a marriage, beyond the “big day” day.
            For us, the publication of SIRENZ was a milestone we had to celebrate; it was an accomplishment we'd been working on and hoping for for too many years to count. We looked at our launch party as a way of not only celebrating this, but a way to say thank you to the many, many people who supported—and continue to support—us. While going forward the bulk of our promo is going to be virtual (on-line), we still want to do author appearances. We've decided (or more accurately, our writing and family schedules have dictated) that we need to be selective—do a few appearances but make each one special. We wanted to kick it all off with a BIG BANG. Here's what we did:
·       We held the event at an INDIE BOOKSTORE. Independent bookstores are something we don't want to lose. Big chains are everywhere and convenient, but there's something about the personal touch of an Indie that can't be replicated in a larger venue; hands on, individualized care, for customers and authors alike. Need a book? Looking for a place to host a signing event? Go to to find an independent bookseller near you. Mendham Books ( hosted our wonderful event, and the Clinton Bookshop ( hosted fellow Flux author and writer-friend Alissa Grosso's launch party for her debut novel POPULAR and will be a future venue for us. If you find yourself in central New Jersey, visit them!

·       We advertised. Most of the people who came to our party were people we knew. We hoped that among them would be a few people that we didn't know in any way (and there were!) Getting word out about a book is probably the most challenging part of the publishing business. Many books don't sell simply because people don't know they exist. We put up posters and made traditional invitations, and we also actively spread the word on social networks and made several school and event appearances to tell people about the launch. At the recent NJ Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conference and at Book Expo America, we invited everyone we talked to. We left bookmarks in restaurants (even signing the paper tablecloths!) and tacked invites on community bulletin boards in grocery stores, Starbucks, village squares, and wherever else we could squeeze them in.
·       We tried to give something back. People came to the party to celebrate and buy SIRENZ. We put together prize baskets as giveaways as a thank you to everyone who took the time to come down and support us. Three of the baskets were tie-ins to the book, but we also had a fourth that featured books and promotional materials from other 2011 debut authors. Unfortunately, we couldn't have big prizes for each person that bought a book, but everyone did walk away with some kind of freebie- bookmarks, pins, phone charms, and of course, cake!
·       We had a gimmick—and a surprise. We're very lucky that we live within striking distance of a few different celebrity locations—one of which we were able to use for promotion. Getting a cake from Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken (yes, THAT Carlo's bakery) was something that we hoped would be a draw for people who didn't know us or our book to come in. Besides, they really do make the BEST red velvet cake! While people were munching and waiting on line, who should come in and start wheeling and dealing but Hades (an important character in the book)! His appearance took people by surprise and kept things lively while the signing line moved along (Yes! There was a line!). He handed out business cards and offered to make a few good bargains with the attendees.

·       We made the rounds. We went to other book signings as our schedules would allow; other debut authors, a library’s book fest. We contacted our local papers and one friend hooked us up with a local access cable show, On The Loose, which featured our book launch, an interview with us and some of the people in attendance, and promised to come back in six months to see how we were doing. Talk to people! You never know who they know!
·       Connect with people. We follow book bloggers, authors, groups, and friends on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads. SIRENZ has its own fan page on Facebook, listing events like the launch and any appearances or news (like the debut of book two, SIRENZ Back in Fashion). People will ‘share’ and retweet, spreading the news. Mendham Books tweeted and shared the event with all their customers. 
While this launch was a success, it’s no time to rest. Will we do a launch for the second, third and possibly fourth books? Yes. Will it have the cake and Hades and the amount of people show up? We don’t know, we’re enjoying the triumph of this one for a bit. But we’re thinking…

EAN: 9780738723198
Trade Paperback
Young Adult/Fiction
Price: $9.95
Available: June 2011

Bickering frenemies Meg and Shar are doing some serious damage at a midnight sample sale when they find themselves arguing over a pair of shoes—with fatal consequences. One innocent bystander later, the girls are suddenly at the mercy of Hades—the god of the underworld—himself. To make them atone for what they’ve done, Hades forces the teens to become special-assignment Sirens, luring to the Underworld any individual whose unholy contract is up.

But just because they have an otherworldly part-time job now doesn’t mean Meg and Shar can ignore life’s drudgeries (work) or pleasures (fashion!). Finding that delicate balance between their old and new responsibilities turns out to be harder than they expected, especially when an entire pantheon of Greek deities decides to get involved. Then there’s the matter of the fine print in their contracts . . .

Author Bios:
Natalie Zaman is the co-author of Sirenz, the first in a YA contemporary fantasy series published by Flux. Her work has appeared in various magazines, newspapers, e-zines and anthologies for adults and children. She's currently plotting disasters for the characters of Sirenz and working on a Victorian steampunk fantasy for teens. Natalie lives in central New Jersey with her family and several fine looking chickens.

Charlotte Bennardo is the co-author of Sirenz, the first in a YA contemporary fantasy series published by Flux. When not contemplating embarrassing situations for the characters in the sequels, she works on her own YA, MG and adult level novels. She has been published in magazines, newspapers, e-zines and anthologies. She is held captive in New Jersey by three sons, husband, cat and friends.
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July 25 Guest Post

July 27 Eve’s Fan Garden Guest Blog

07/29/2011 - Live Chat Night Owl Young Adult / Teen 5pm PST / 8 EST


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