Sunday, November 25, 2012

Kansas City tour finale

Belatedly, some pics from my [almost-] last tour stop (as I have one more hometown event this week) in Kansas City. I had been through the airport once on my way to Topeka for a library event, but had never seen KC itself, and it is a lovely city. Here, through the screen of my hotel window (the Raphael, highly recommended): Country Club Plaza, this outdoor shopping district built in the '20s in the Spanish style. It's all tile and towers and fountains, truly lovely, and I was there just a few days before the thousands of Christmas lights were going to be turned on. I bet it's a sight.

First order of business in Kansas City was ... 

BBQ. With Gennifer Albin, author of CREWEL (which I have begun to read and is a fascinating dystopian involving girls who weave the tapestry of the world), and her husband Josh, at Oklahoma Joe's, which is in a gas station ...

... and was named, according to Gennifer, one of twelve places to eat before you die by Anthony Bourdain. Josh ordered us a tableful of meats, and of my goodness, it was very delicious.

Hi Gennifer and Josh!

From there it was to Rainy Day Books for a lovely event, and dang it, I don't have any pictures of the event itself! But here I am with Gennifer ...

And below with the owner Vivien Jennings and her partner Roger, really warm people and true bookfolk -- this store is very much the kind of place I was talking about in that blog post a couple of weeks ago. It's not a big space in square footage, but in terms of what Rainy Day provides for Kansas City, it is huge. Their roster of author events is massive, and includes many off-site events for large (and very large) crowds. And the selection of books on display gave me that tingly candy shop feeling that happens in a gorgeous bookstore. You know what I mean :-)

The next morning I did my first ever TV spot, a couple of minutes on Fox 4 Kansas City. I don't have the clip, but I think it went well! 

And then I went to a few high schools: Platte County and North Kansas City. I *believe* that in both cases this was the first author event they had had. Thanks to Sherry at B&N Zona Rosa for setting those up!

About school visits. You may not know how this works. It was new to me last year and I'm still no expert. When Little Brown (and, I assume, other publishers) tour a YA author, they like to get us into schools during the day to maximize our exposure on the road, to get in front of our target readers and hopefully begin to build a word-of-mouth fan base. These visits are offered for free to schools, whereas if schools try to book an author on their own, they would likely pay a several thousand dollar honorarium plus travel expenses, so it's a good deal. Nevertheless, publishers still have a hard time finding schools to participate, because their schedules are so full, it's hard for them to fit it in, and in some cases, they lack the will I suppose. The school visits I've done that were successful, invariably the common factor was: a strong librarian who cares. This is critical, and I've met a bunch of amazing high school librarians. YAY LIBRARIANS! 

The other piece that seems to be critical is: a local bookseller willing to work as intermediary between the publisher and the schools to set these up. Some of the schools I've been to have expressed astonishment that the publishers have a hard time finding schools for their authors to go to, and to those schools who would love to be "on the list" for visiting authors, I don't know exactly what to counsel: possibly to be in contact with local bookstores to find out who in their area (if anyone) provides this service? 

There was never an author event when I was in high school. I would have loved it! 

Anyway, a peek out the airplane window over Oregon. I was cursing not having my "real" camera because the phone snap in no way convey the absurd fantasia of the sky these several westward minutes of sunset. It was a surreal landscape of layers and layers of shadow-casting clouds, grey and velvet and rose and, on the horizon, shocking orange. It was like being suspended in water as pigment is stirred from watercolor brushes into it, making big diffuse pools of color. Ah. Well. It was purdy. And now I'm home. Yay!

Thank you Little Brown for a great tour!


ryan graudin said...

I love Genn! So glad you got to meet her and start reading Crewel! And that BBQ looks oh-so-delicious.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for coming out to play with us, I know you've had a busy tour!

If anybody out there ever has a chance to hear Laini talk, don't pass it up. She is extremely generous about sharing her thoughts on writing. And, she's cute as a button.

Nicole McLaughlin said...

I'm ashamed to say that I've lived in KC for almost 15 years and have YET to eat at Oklahoma Joe's! I have had lots of good BBQ, though! It was great to meet you at Rainy Dat, which as you said, is a treasure!!

I'm shocked and saddened about the lack of willing high schools for author visits. Luckily I know our districts high school librarian well, I will have to get her thoughts on this! ;)

June G said...

You've made a good point. I never heard of author visits when I was in school and I haven't run across anyone mentioning any now--except for what I read about online, so they appear to be pretty infrequent, still.

Librarians are a good resource though. Great idea to make them the contact person.

Glad the tour is so awesome!

Alethea said...

Yay! I'm so glad we were able to meet you on tour.

As for school visits, it does really depend on your local bookstore.

If you only have a big corporate store in your neighborhood (like B&N) it depends on their Community Relations Manager--this is the person who does signings, book fairs, benefit days, etc. We are so lucky to have Kristen Z over at our Glendale B&N :) She's great! But again it does largely depend on the school and whether they can "fit it in". Our local high schools as of this year have no librarians and their libraries are barely ever open, which I think is horribly sad.

We also have lots of indie bookstores in L.A. that set these up. The school just has to ask! In some cases the store approaches the school but again, usually it's only if they already are in touch with a caring librarian or teacher.

In areas that don't have a local bookshop or even a big box bookstore, they might be able to contact the publisher directly... this is tricky sometimes as school districts might have wacky policies about vendors and I think most teachers give up trying to untangle the red tape.

We didn't have any exciting author visits when I was in school either, but oh my gosh I do love attending them now :)

Laurence King said...

Welcome home, Laini! Like for you, authors' visits didn't exist when I was in high school. I would have loved them too! And long live librarians! Where would we be without them?

Ana'Molina. said...

Hi, Laini.

I can not wait for the book goes on sale in Mexico.
By the way, I've met several fans, who want to help with the petition the Publisher!
Several people of Tijuana and all Baja California!
Really hope you can come to Tijuana, we are very excited!
And once again, I love you Laini, really!
The guys who are helping, they say Hi, especially my two best friends, Kathy and Bryan!

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