We’re BACK FROM TOUR! And by we, I mean Sarah J. Maas, Erin Bowman, Kat Zhang, and myself.
We survived our epic road trip, our 10 signing events, and our 8 workshops with only a few minor hiccups. Honestly, we could not have asked for a more smooth, fun, and gratifying tour.
For those of you who DIDN’T know about the self-hosted tour that four of us Pub(lishing) Crawl ladies recently undertook, then you can read more about the idea here. Otherwise, read on as I give a quick recap of the past 2 weeks.
The free writing workshops that we hosted were, by far, the highlight of our tour. I honestly cannot gush enough about how rewarding it was. We saw kids of all ages—as young as 11 up to 25+. Technically the age limit was 13-22, but we weren’t about to turn away any eager young writers.
Sometimes the workshops were super intimate—only 8 or so students—but most of the time, we saw really stellar turn-outs. I think our largest was in Medina, Ohio, where over 30 tweens, teens, and young adults arrived to learn about writing and ply us with questions.
Sometimes the workshops were with young suburbanites, and other times, we worked with inner city kids. No matter the background, the kids had two things in common: they loved to write, and they were brilliant at it.
For us authors, it was especially amazing to see the workshop participants get so EXCITED. We did these exercises with something called story cubes, and not only was it super liberating for the four of us to free write for 5 minutes, but it was so FREAKING FUN to hear what the kids came up with. It was also really cool to see how differently the same three story-dice could inspire everyone—where I might see a magnifying glass on the die and think of a detective, Kat would see it and think of lighting fire to a field, and one of the students might see it and think of a Google search.
We genuinely hope that all of the fabulous writers we met from Philly, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Grand Rapids, and Chicago had as great a time as we did.
The Signing Events
From new readers to old fans to aspiring authors to awesome parents who drove their kids 6 hours to see us (seriously, one awesome dad actually did this), we got to meet and interact with so many people.
Seriously: there is nothing that will warm your heart quite like meeting a reader. It’s SUCH a warm and fuzzy feeling.
In addition to readers, we were also lucky enough to see many AUTHOR FRIENDS along the way. We saw other Pub(lishing) Crawl gals—Jodi Meadows even did an event with us in Baltimore—and other non-Pub-Crawl friends. There’s nothing quite like the squealing-run-hug-bounce between authors who haven’t seen each other in a while…There’s also nothing quite like making new author-friends (E.C. Meyers, Leah Clifford, and Scott Tracey: you’re AWESOME for coming out to support us).
Oh—and the booksellers! How could I forget to mention all the fabulous stores and booksellers we met! In order, we went to:
- Main Point Books in Bryn Mawr, PA!
- Barnes & Noble in downtown Philadelphia!
- Baltimore Public Library in Cockeysville, MD!
- Penguin Bookshop in Pittsburgh, PA!
- Mac’s Backs Books in Cleveland, OH!
- Medina County Library in Medina, OH!
- Schuler Books in Grand Rapids, MI!
- Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville, IL!
THANK YOU TO ALL THE STORES FOR BEING SO GREAT!! None of our events could have happened without YOU.
Also, for those of you who want a signed copy of our books, but missed our signings, you can totally stop by the above stores! We signed stock, so hopefully you can snag an autographed copy. 😉
All the In-Between Stuff
We did a lot of driving. Like, a LOT. And on those drives, there was a lot of singing. Like, a lot. There’s nothing quite so exhilarating as belting out 90’s tunes on a summer’s day with the windows down. I’m pretty sure we all went CRAZY when Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” came on (why is that song STILL SO GOOD?!).
In between the driving and events, we did some eating. If you scroll through our Tumblr, you can see that eating was a HUGE part of this tour. From pizza to sweets to fresh fruit, we were all about gorging as often as possible.
We also couch-surfed quite a bit (THANK YOU TO ALL OUR LOVELY HOSTS!!!), and whenever we had the time, we explored the areas we were in. From an adorable restaurant to a beach walk to aquarium scouting to some stunning botanical gardens, we made the most of our limited free time.
Oh, and lest I forget another huge highlight of the tour, we even wound up on TV! No joke—we were on TV!!! Thanks to our amazing publicists, we scored segments on two different Chicago stations. Needless to say, we were all on the verge of puking leading up to our brief (and frighteningly LIVE) news segments, but I think we managed to pull it off pretty professionally. What do y’all think?
Of course, as fun and rewarding and inspiring as all the events were, I think I most enjoyed just hanging out with my friends. There’s nothing quite so bonding as road-tripping with your most favorite author buddies for 2+ weeks, and I have to be totally honest: I’ve now been away from Sarah, Erin, and Kat for 2 days…and I miss them. 🙁
BUT HEY, there’s always next year. 😉
To celebrate the awesomeness that was the Young Authors Give Back Tour, I’m giving away an ARC of the much-anticipated Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson (that I snagged at BEA), a copy of the award-winning Fair Coin by E.C. Myer (we met Eugene in Philly; he is AWESOME), an ebook of Something Strange and Deadly, an ebook of A Dawn Most Wicked, swag from ME, and swag from Sarah J. Maas.
All you have to do to enter is leave a comment telling us if you saw us on the tour—and if so, WHERE you saw us!
SUSAN DENNARD is a reader, writer, lover of animals, and eater of cookies. She used to be a marine biologist, but now she writes novels—and not novels about fish, but novels about kick-butt heroines and swoon-worthy rogues. She lives in the Midwestern US with her French husband and Irish setter. Her debut, Something Strange & Deadly, is now available from HarperTeen along with the novella A Dawn Most Wicked.
SARAH J. MAAS was born and raised in New York City, but after graduating from Hamilton College in 2008, she moved to Southern California. She’s always been just a tad obsessed with fairy-tales and folklore, though she’d much rather be the one slaying the dragon (instead of the damsel in distress). When she’s not busy writing, she can be found geeking out over things like Han Solo, gaudy nail polish, and ballet. Throne of Glass (Bloomsbury Children’s) is out now.
KAT ZHANG is an avid traveler, and after a childhood spent living in one book after another, she now builds stories for other people to visit. An English major at Vanderbilt University, she spends her free time performing Spoken Word poetry, raiding local bookstores, and plotting where to travel next. What’s Left of Me—about a girl with two souls—is her first novel and is available now from HarperCollins.
ERIN BOWMAN used to tell stories visually as a web designer. Now a full-time writer, she relies solely on words. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and when not writing she can often be found hiking, commenting on good typography, and obsessing over all things Harry Potter. Taken is her first novel and now available from HarperTeen.