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What Do Readers Want?

My petals, I come to you at last able to make my Exciting American Tour Announcement: Here are dates, vague places, and most excitingly of all my Co-Appearererer...er.

US Tour with Scott Westerfeld (Venues and Times TBA)


10/06 –Southern California appearances

10/08 - Northern California

10/09 – Northern California

10/10 – Portland, OR,

10/11- Wordstock Festival in Portland, Oregon

10/12 – Columbus Day, Seattle signings


Yeah, that phone call went a little like this.

PUBLICIST: You free to go on tour with Scott Westerfeld?
SARAH: *scream* *crash* *gurgling sound of someone trying to both faint and have hysterics*
PUBLICIST: ...
SARAH: … Yes, that sounds acceptable to me.

Scott Westerfeld, in case anyone's not aware, is the perpetrator of the bestselling Uglies series and among other books, my most favourite vampire novel of the last ten years, Peeps. (A book so disgusting, I could not eat for a full day after reading it, and featuring vampires scared off by Garth Brooks T-shirts.) He'll be touring for Leviathan, which I may have already mentioned is a Georgette-Heyer-with-action alternate-history living-airships cross-dressing-and-all-manner-of-hijinks fest of awesomeness. And which is out then.

I am firmly of the opinion that the tour would be improved by us cross-dressing: I am perfectly ready to wear a military uniform of any sort, and to carry Scott's parasol for him. I believe Mr Westerfeld is not of the same mind...

This announcement leads me to the basic question I have for today's blog post: what do readers want?

So last week I put up my latest movie parody, which I had been guiltily trying to find time to do for a month, as people seem to enjoy the parodies, and I like my people to be happy. 'Ah, at last it is done,' I said, weary from my toil, and then napped on Salome the macbook for a bit.

Later, elsewhere on the internet, I saw some people discussing the fact that they liked the parody, and the blog ('Hurrah!" I said to myself) but it discouraged them from wanting to read the book. ('Oh nooooo,' I said softly and sadly to myself.)

Since the current and chief goal of my life is to make people want to read my book (I know it should be world peace, but I am a selfish soul) I immediately set my mind to wondering why this might be. And this led me to wonder whether people wish for different things from an Author Blog (TM). Writing advice? Serious business essays? (I know I owe y'all one on feminism. I am like an elephant! I never forget. Unluckily I am like an elephant who procrastinates.) Less stuff which distracts from the book and more professionally presented information?

Leaving me aside, what do you guys like to see in an author blog? (I like Maureen Johnson's, Meg Cabot's and Justine Larbalestier's blogs a lot myself.)

And this line of questioning leads me back to my first announcement: what do readers want, I ask myself, and then add: in an author event?

I had tons of fun both at Comic Con and my New York event, where lots of people showed up and made me very happy! I was gloomily convinced nobody would show, as it was raining, but people did, and all the Sarahs were stunning and brilliant. I rather let the side down by babbling away like a cheerful lunatic, but had a good time, and was showered in presents, which goes to show how extremely kind people are. Liar breathspray from an Alan fan, and a giant sword made of Rice Krispies! I carried the sword around for the rest of the day, and amused the populace.

That evening Maureen Johnson, Sarah Cross and I were walking through the East Village where we met a woman with a rat in her bosom.

MAUREEN: That woman. She had a rat in her bosom.
SARAH: Did it go with her dress?
MAUREEN: Are you suggesting she has several rats at home that she tries on to see how they go with different outfits?
SARAH: ... I might be.
SARAH CROSS: Less nonsense from the woman carrying the weapon made of cereal.

We had a prize at the NYC event, and readings, and a Questions & Answers session. (Lots of people had ideas for who Jamie should end up with. Jamie's dance card is so full, he will never have to sit out a waltz...) We did not have any crossdressing, which I admit was a flaw.

I enjoyed myself lots, but in the cause of everyone having fun, I should like to hear what people fancy most in an author event.

There are other events to speak of: specifically The Smart Chicks Kick It tour. I was totally delighted to be invited, not least because it is well known I love Kelley Armstrong. And we are thinking of all sorts of things for the tour, like gift baskets to be raffled off and possibly an accompanying anthology.

So the questions are: what do readers want from a blog, and what do readers want from events? Your thoughts, as ever, deeply appreciated.

Comments

( 209 comments — Leave a comment )
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ladymiranoy
Aug. 19th, 2009 08:17 pm (UTC)
A Q&A session, readings, and maybe a raffle of some type would be super neat. Also, yay for the Northern California signings! I'm pretty sure I can at least make it to one! Plus, I'm still bringing you fairy cakes :D
bookblather
Aug. 19th, 2009 08:20 pm (UTC)
Oooh, where in Southern CA? *goes to school there and wishes to make Nefarious Plans*
rachelmanija
Aug. 19th, 2009 08:21 pm (UTC)
10/6: If you'll be in LA, want me to take you some place cool for lunch/dessert/boba tea?
sarahtales
Aug. 19th, 2009 08:39 pm (UTC)
I have never had boba tea, she says excitedly!
(no subject) - rachelmanija - Aug. 19th, 2009 09:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dicedpear - Aug. 20th, 2009 03:39 am (UTC) - Expand
snackbreak
Aug. 19th, 2009 08:21 pm (UTC)
HOLY SHIT, YOU'RE COMING TO PORTLAND? *SQUEE!!!*

Also, I do not know who these people are that are discouraged by hilarity, but your parody & blog bring me closer to your book. It furthers our Deep Relationship, the book's and mine. So.

Edited at 2009-08-19 08:24 pm (UTC)
katmerican
Aug. 19th, 2009 08:52 pm (UTC)
I agree with this (apart from the Portland bit as I am in Scotland). I love the mixture of items you bring to your blog and feel that I am encouraged, rather than discouraged. The furthering of the Deep Relationship (patent pending) is good.
(no subject) - narcissa_malfoy - Aug. 19th, 2009 10:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - daemon_familiar - Aug. 20th, 2009 04:15 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - zumie_ashlen - Aug. 20th, 2009 12:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
shadowicedragon
Aug. 19th, 2009 08:22 pm (UTC)
I was going to say something coherent, but I was distracted by the mention of a giant sword made of Rice Krispies, which is quite possibly the most win thing ever.

Um, a Q&A session sounds good! And I like the sound of the essays too. :)
sarahtales
Aug. 19th, 2009 10:55 pm (UTC)
It was total win! And I was also most interested to hear about all the people who should end up with Jamie.
empresstria
Aug. 19th, 2009 08:24 pm (UTC)
...I will have to skip school for your SoCal appearance. This is not a problem.

From a blog, I want pretty much what you've been giving us. I desperately love the parodies. I also love your essays, whatever degree of serious or silly. Book recommendations are always welcome. I would like perhaps more discussion of the logistics of publishing, marketing, etc.

From events, presents! Photographs! Cover model kissing booths! Mainly, I like the chance to speak with the author, to express my appreciation. I've already got bookmarks and a bookplate from Comic-Con... Um. Tea is always appreciated. You should have tea at your events.
empresstria
Aug. 19th, 2009 08:39 pm (UTC)
I forgot to say, I do not comprehend how your brilliant parodies could possibly deter people from purchasing TDL. Serieusement, what's up with that? My mind boggles at the thought.

Also, I know you said everything was vague in the post, but would you happen to know anywhere near what city in SoCal you will be in? Well, I guess you have 1.5 months to tell us, so.
aki_hoshi
Aug. 19th, 2009 08:24 pm (UTC)
OMG!!!! You're coming to SEATTLE!!!!! Excuse me while I die of happy. *dies*
shakeityourway
Aug. 19th, 2009 08:27 pm (UTC)
I like your blog the way it is, Sarah: funny and entertaining.

Also, it would appear that you often 'babble away like a cheerful lunatic' (since that is very much what I remember about meeting you), but I think that is part of your charm; we love you all the more for it. :)
(Deleted comment)
sarahtales
Aug. 19th, 2009 08:32 pm (UTC)
I assume by September 2010 we will all know, though...

Also I assume that the answer is YES A THOUSAND TIMES YES.
(no subject) - mizkit - Aug. 19th, 2009 09:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
belmanoir
Aug. 19th, 2009 08:29 pm (UTC)
yay! seattle!!!!

i...don't know why those people said that (although i would be very curious to know) but i love your blog and it DEFINITELY makes me want to read your books. the parodies are probably my favorite thing that you post, with book reviews a close second.
lkmadigan
Aug. 19th, 2009 08:29 pm (UTC)
Portland is a stop on your tour.

My dream of having you sign your book - fantastical though it seemed - is going to be a reality.

*hugs self*

thehappyberry
Aug. 19th, 2009 08:29 pm (UTC)
I don't understand, why would your parodies make people not want to read the book. I recall my thought process following these steps. 1)Hey, this lady writes funny parodies. Wonder what else she does. 2)Hey, this lady writes great fan fic, I wonder if by looking at her blog she has any more stories I can read. 3)OMG, she is hilarious as well as talented and writing her own original book, MUST READ! What do you mean I have to wait months upon months for it to come out?!?!

And I'm super excited you're coming to Seattle. That just might be the excuse I need to take that 5 hour drive west.
beuk
Aug. 19th, 2009 11:07 pm (UTC)
That's exactly what happened with me - starting with the GoF filmockery and I've never looked back.
(no subject) - godly_nyx - Aug. 20th, 2009 02:06 am (UTC) - Expand
ditto - greeneyedpirate - Aug. 22nd, 2009 07:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
chris_smith_atr
Aug. 19th, 2009 08:32 pm (UTC)
Extremely coincidentally posted about that here today: http://c-smith-author.livejournal.com/40532.html

Hope that helps - the comments are quite interesting too :)
chlorate
Aug. 19th, 2009 08:32 pm (UTC)
Oh, YAY! You will be in Portland! I eagerly await details. I am definitely going to be there :)

And I would love to see more photographs, since you travel so much and meet so many cool people. I like the content of your blog now, though.
ladyknight1991
Aug. 19th, 2009 08:34 pm (UTC)
i cant actually say what i would want from an author get together event because i have never been to one and probably never will because sadly most interesting people, or even the less nteresting peple dont usually bother heading into my neck of the woods.
as for Blogs...i am pretty much enjoying it as it is so i guess my input would be keep doing what you are doing.
and i have already bought and read your book...and enjoyed it. so no worries there^_^
jpnadia
Aug. 19th, 2009 08:34 pm (UTC)
I love your little snippets of dialogue! This is why I read your book.

...And then bought another copy for my friend as a graduation present.
jpnadia
Aug. 19th, 2009 08:35 pm (UTC)
Er, that in regards to blogs.
burningbright
Aug. 19th, 2009 08:35 pm (UTC)
Possibly they're worried that they won't love the book as much as your blog? I must admit I had a brief moment of worry that TDL wouldn't be written in the same style as your blog. I was, of course, rapidly disabused of that notion when I started reading the book.

Anyway, my point is that I love your blog exactly the way it is.
ashkitty
Aug. 19th, 2009 08:37 pm (UTC)
I am a bit sad that you are going all the way to the PacNW and YET I WILL NOT BE THERE. Have you suggested a Welsh tour yet...? ;)
sarkysnarky
Aug. 19th, 2009 08:45 pm (UTC)
Made out of Rice Krispies?? That is SO awesome!

I am very happy with the parodies and the life events and the general mix of things you have. Shows you have a professional side and a funny side, AND that you are good at writing. All good!

At the UK marmfish picnic today we all went to see HBP again, though, occasionally calling out quotes from the parody. "Alcove of Woe!" And someone visiting from Australia bought a UK copy since her Australian copy didn't arrive before she set off :)

As for events, more in England would definitely be fun. Murder One was great - freebies, and generally getting to chat with you and other fans were the best bits.
northern_rain
Aug. 19th, 2009 08:46 pm (UTC)
For the blog, I love exactly what you are doing right now. I adore the parodies, read or plan to read all the books you rave about and am amused by your day to day stuff. And frankly, I was especially happy to see that your writing style (that the blog (and fanfic) taught me to love) was kept in the book - I'd have been disappointed otherwise, so people shouldn't take liking the blog as a reason to avoid the book.

Enjoy the tour!
enchantedashes
Aug. 19th, 2009 08:47 pm (UTC)
I don't if this only applies to me, but...
I don't read other author's blogs. I read you, and follow your twitter, because your fabulous brand of humor consistently brings great waves of demented yet awesome happiness into my day.

Seriously, what you are doing now with your blog makes me pretty happy. Little snippets from upcoming books and more short stories might help those who are more reluctant. Book reviews from you are always fabulous, as they help to populate my reading list for the next several days/months (especially if I dig into the comments).

As for events... one in DC? Please?
frenchroast
Aug. 19th, 2009 08:47 pm (UTC)
I can't understand why anyone who enjoys your parodies wouldn't want to read your book. It makes no sense.

As for what I want out of author blogs, mostly I think it's just the tidbits (like your hilarious dialogues and recounting of your adventures) that make it seem a little bit like I know you better. Occasional writing advice is fun, too. Really, everything you've been doing works for me...otherwise I wouldn't be reading it, I suppose. :)
harborshore
Aug. 19th, 2009 08:48 pm (UTC)
I would love that essay on feminism, and, I don't know, I love your parodies and your book reviews and occasional descriptions of ridiculous things that happened to you--I like blogs that balance the funny with the serious, I suppose. (I also don't know why your blog would discourage people from reading your book, what, do they not like humor?)
onlyifihaveto
Aug. 19th, 2009 08:48 pm (UTC)
Your blog is wonderful as it is! I could (and would) wish for more of it, but then I am known for being greedy.
While I like the parodies, I have to admit to a preference for your accounts of your day/the publishing process/random essays/stories/rants etc.
This blog encouraged me to buy TDL as soon as it was published, instead of just waiting until I came across it in the shops.
The blog (can we give it a name already?) also allowed me to email a link or five to say 'this is her blog, this is how she writes - go buy the book'.
As for events, as one of the ones who has huge debts after uni and so is now a busy government drone, well weekends are the only option, weekends in England that is, and they're not always an option... so really I'd like more posts after the events.
[Error: Irreparable invalid markup ('<surely [...] i'm>') in entry. Owner must fix manually. Raw contents below.]

Your blog is wonderful as it is! I could (and would) wish for more of it, but then I am known for being greedy.
While I like the parodies, I have to admit to a preference for your accounts of your day/the publishing process/random essays/stories/rants etc.
This blog encouraged me to <cough-sayIwasillsothatIcouldleaveworkearlyandfindashopthatwasopento-cough> buy TDL as soon as it was published, instead of just waiting until I came across it in the shops.
The blog (can we give it a name already?) also allowed me to email a link or five to say 'this is her blog, this is how she writes - go buy the book'.
As for events, as one of the ones who has huge debts after uni and so is now a busy government drone, well weekends are the only option, weekends in England that is, and they're not always an option... so really I'd like more posts after the events. <surely I'm not the only one who can't go?>
lasultrix
Aug. 19th, 2009 08:50 pm (UTC)
Had Aristotle's treatise on Comedy not been lost, all of western civilisation would be different! Or at least, there's a chance the eejits who think "She Does Good Funny; Suppose She Can't Do Proper Art (TM)" would be less stupid. *glowers*

Make sure you bring a whole empty suitcase for Powells in Portland. Oh, it is so glorious.
dicedpear
Aug. 20th, 2009 03:42 am (UTC)
second this. Powells!
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