April 13th was the big day. My friends had flown in from Sacramento late Friday night on the twelfth, and after an interesting cab ride they suffered through from the airport, we all finally settled in after two in the morning. Excited for the day ahead, I woke up early and made them wake up, too. We had breakfast and then I left them at the hotel so I could make preparations and try to get a nap. (Unfortunately, the nap didn't happen.)
The Suncoast Hotel provided quite the spread, including some really cute individual desserts. If you missed out, the food was delish.
By the time the party started, I was already feeling a bit tired. And nervous. So I had a dirty martini I'd been sipping. (Because alcohol always helps to wake you up. NOT.) People started coming in around 5pm and I began signing books, and my friend Mindy was in charge of the accounting.
I enjoyed meeting lots of new people that were interested in the book, but because I was busy signing, I missed out on talking to some old friends I hadn't seen in a while, which was kind of a bummer. So, I took a few more sips of martini.
I met one lady who was writing and interested in getting advice on how to get her fan fiction of Fifty Shades of Grey published. (I didn't tell her that she was the second person locally, within a matter of two weeks, that had approached me on the same exact subject matter, which I thought was kind of interesting.) Anyway, as writers, we always like to encourage other writers to keep writing, so I gave her the advice of attending romance/erotica cons and Googling publishers/editors that would be interested and submitting. I have not read the series, so it was hard to know which publishers to recommend, and I'm at the far end of the spectrum from romance novels as far as my own stories. Ha! To be honest, one of the best ways to learn is trial and error. I learned everything the hard way myself, from the correct way of formatting a manuscript, to submitting to an agent versus indie publishers, and everything in between. It's not easy, but if you can learn the process and continue to write, then I feel you become more appreciative of it all and know that it's something you really want and not just a fly-by-night idea. Of course, at the time, I couldn't think of that last best bit of advice. Then I had more sips of martini and continued with more of the signings.
When things started to slow down, I finally got up and mingled a little bit. I was thoroughly exhausted at this point and maybe a little bit buzzed. Having something to eat definitely helped.
All in all, I thought it was a good turnout, a lot of fun, and I even sold some books! I'd like to thank my friend Mindy for her accounting skills, Stacy Scranton for her photography skills, (she will be the official photographer for The Bram Stoker Awards® Weekend Incorporating World Horror Convention in New Orleans from June 13-16, 2013,) where I will also be in attendance, reading, signing, selling, and volunteering. I also want to thank my husband for all his help and everyone who came to support me. It's definitely something I'd consider doing again. There were many more photos that wouldn't all fit here, so I will eventually add them to the gallery on my website, www.renamasonwrites.com
Coming soon is my blog on the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books and some NOLA advice from someone who has been to a writer's convention there for 6 years in a row.