August 19th, 2009

beauty and the beast

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

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*
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.
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