Last weekend, Barnes and Noble bookstores did something they’ve never done before. They held a nation wide teen author book fest, or as they called it B-Fest. Stores across the U.S. would be participating – from writing workshops to author signings, this event had a little something for everyone.
When I first heard of this, I wasn’t sure my “local” Barnes and Noble would be hosting anything. After some digging around on their website (which admittedly doesn’t always make it easy for customers to search upcoming events, it’s a bit clunky) I found out that teen author Sarah Dessen would be in to chat and to sign some books.
This was great! Sarah Dessen, queen of YA romance, would be in my home state! And only about a half hour from where I live!
The event was super limited — seat wise. Only the first twenty (20) who purchased a book written by Sarah Dessen would receive a wrist band that would guarantee them a seat. But fear not, if you didn’t receive a wristband there would be plenty of standing room.
Even though I got to the store three hours early, I didn’t get a wristband. The wristband didn’t matter. I would still get to hear Sarah talk, and have her sign my books.
Barnes and Noble were prompt. The event kicked off exactly at one, which a store employee letting everyone know of all the upcoming events that they would be hosting throughout B-Fest weekend. They explained how the event would work, and then finally introduced Sarah Dessen.
I’ve met Sarah Dessen before at previous BEA Conferences. From that I knew she’d be super nice, and that she’s a signing pro! But what I didn’t know was just how great a speaker she was. Granted, I did assume she was.
Sarah talked about everything! She talked about what she was like as a teenager – a young girl who hung out in parking lots, not getting the best grades, and having a lot of friends that are reminiscent of St. Anything’s Payton.
She talked about writing – St. Anything was her twelfth (12th) published novel, and since it’s publication she has started three manuscripts all of which are very much unfinished. But she’s been writing something steadily since January. I smell book number thirteen (13) in the works!
She talked about her books – how Dexter and Remy (from This Lullaby) are her favorite characters. They are the characters that she always wants to revisit, and even though she prefers to write stand alone novels, if she were to ever write a sequel it would probably be a sequel to This Lullaby.
And she talked about what she hopes her books convey – that high school is short and life is long. And that you probably won’t have it all figured out – not in your teens, not in your twenties, and probably not even in your forties.
After chatting with us for a while, Sarah got down to business — the business of signing books. There was a bit of confusion, not on Sarah’s part, but on the store’s part. Going into the event it seemed like everyone was told something different. I was told that St. Anything HAD to be purchased and signed, but that she would sign any number of books (as long as it was a reasonable number) from home. From the murmurs of the crowd, others were told that they just had to buy any Sarah Dessen book from the store and have it signed, and that one additional book from home could be signed. And still, employees at the event were saying that Sarah would only sign one book, and that it had to be the book that was purchased.
As it turned out, Sarah was willing to sign every book that her fans brought up to her (I only had three … which is nothing for me. Usually I’m that girl at the book signing with a stack of books). She not only signed my books, but I had the chance to chat with her. She offered a piece of advice that I can’t ignore – cause when the queen of YA romance author offers your advice, you take it. And I even got to take a picture with her to document the day and the event.
Even though there was a lot of confusion (on the store’s part) it was a great event. And one that made me look forward to other events at my local B&N.
Since I already had a hardcover copy of St. Anything, and had to buy a paperback copy in order to attend the event, I figured it would be the perfect opportunity to host a giveaway!
I’m giving away a Sarah Dessen Prize Pack, which includes a signed paperback edition of Sarah’s latest, St. Anything. Plus samplers of: Something in Between by Melissa De La Cruz, Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth, and The Amateurs by Sara Shapard.
This giveaway is open to U.S. residents ages 13 years and older, and will run from Thursday June 16th until Thursday June 23rd. One winner will be selected via random number generator and will be notified by e-mail. Selected winner will have forty-eight (48) hours to reply to e-mail with shipping/mailing information.