What did we learn? Timing is very complicated. 2 PM is nap time for a lot of kids. 11 AM starts closing in on lunch. At least one parent thought that 7 PM events would be fine, but isn't that getting close to bedtime for a lot of kids?
And what makes it more complicated of course is that just kids of different ages have different needs. So this makes our upcoming events all the more...interesting.
On Wednesday, September 30th, we're hosting Lisa Yee, author of Bobby Vs. Girls (Accidentally), and several more books for kids. When the event was originally set up, Scholastic told us that they were more interested in us doing school visits. Well, Pam set up two almost immediately. But it was my thought that we'd like to do some promotion with Yee, and we couldn't do that unless there was at least one event that was open to the public.
We're trying a 4 PM, after-school event. Among Yee's other popular books are:
Millicent Min, Girl Genius
Absolutely Emily Ebers
Stanford Wong Flunks Big Time
and the American Girl title Good Luck Ivy.
Both schools hosting Yee are reading her new book and the feedback from kids is great. If I were a better bookseller, I'd have quotes for you from little Edmund and Hilary. That's a good idea for next time.
Different issues come up with our event for Catherine Gilbert Murdock, author of Dairy Queen, The Off Season, and Front and Center (oh, and just to make things complicated, the totally not connected Princess Ben).
This is a really great teen series, that has resonated well with critics, booksellers, and kids. The story is set in Wisconsin (though the author lives in Pennsylvania, albeit still on a farm), so we're hoping to get some press on the titles.
Murdock is doing several events in the area, including one at Next Chapter and another at Books and Company in Oconomowoc. She normally doesn't do city stores; let's see if our appearance breaks the urban curse.
But how to have a successful event? How many teenagers read this blog? How many kids have friended us on Facebook? And our email newsletter? I don't think so. We're hoping some word of mouth helps. A blog posting like this might get us some extra hits from kids searching for Murdock-related happenings.
Perhaps one day we'll have some sort of teen board (How very classic department store!) like some of our other bookstore friends. Knowing what's involved in starting things up and keeping them going, I'm going to tell you it's not happening in the near future.
I'm nervous before every event, but these are out of my comfort zone. I'm hoping that a year from now, that statement won't be true.