Saturday, February 17, 2007

Tea & tales (or, Other places to promote our books)



"Tea & Tales" is how the St.James Tearoom in New Mexico described the tea party they had for me this week. I was a little apprehensive about speaking while people were eating, but they said they’d give everyone 45 minutes to get “fat and happy,” and that I could have tea during that time, too.



These are some of the things they gave us for tea—sweet or savoury, all the little treats looked like very elegant doll’s food. The tea itself was real, loose tea (and very good too: I had Lady Londonderry), made in a china pot.



Some of the treats NOT shown in the pictures were an artichoke tart (alas, also doll-size), smoked salmon rose (the salmon was twisted into a rose shape with, I think, a spear of dill through the middle and a dollop of crème fraiche on the side), and instead of the lemon curd you see in the picture, passion fruit curd.



I had piously said that I wouldn’t eat anything before presenting – but by the time I went into the tea room to give my talk (can you guess the end of this sentence?), I was quite full and quite happy.

In the tearoom, everyone was dressed up – the little girls all wore mary janes, and some of the ladies floppy hats. Maybe because of that, maybe because the description of me and my book was so well-written and inviting (I didn’t write it!), maybe because the food was so good and the setting was so pretty, everyone was in a festive mood and smiled at me as though expecting more treats. I’d been nervous about presenting to adults and children at the same time – something I don’t usually do – but I think I got more laughs during this talk than I ever have….and at the end, one of the little girls came up to me and gave me a hug, and then all the other little girls did, too.

Okay, very nice and fun for you, Libby, but what’s the point for the rest of us? That maybe there are more places to promote our books than schools, libraries, and bookstores. Maybe we should all try to find places where our books are good fits and then set up events! There IS a connection between Blow Out the Moon and tea, so tearooms are a logical spot for that book. I bet each of us could think of places that would tie in to our books and be fun for us to visit, too….I have some ideas but I'd rather hear yours -- what are they?

And if the thought of maybe getting snacks and treats isn’t motive enough: a very little bit of promotion goes a long way. In the last month, I’ve done 2 school visits and this tea room (much more than I usually do, I don’t usually do anything!) and my bn ratings are up (or rather, down!) by over 100,000 places.

8 comments:

Libby Koponen said...

PS The food was much tinier than it looks in the pictures--and much yummier, too. I should have brought a camera!--libby

Elaine Magliaro said...

Sounds like a great time, Libby!

One of the rewards of being an elementary teacher was all the kid hugs I got. I never tired of them. They helped to make some of the frustrations of teaching evapoarte into the air.

alvina said...

Oh, that all sounds so delightful and delicious! I wish I could have been there.

Grace Lin said...

yum! You should do that here, no reason why it's only done in NM...and then I can come. I've always wanted to go to a proper tea with a big hat.

Elizabeth said...

Thank you, girls!

Idea: Grace, what if your birthday party were a tea party? We could all wear big floppy hats and bring cupcakes and tarts and little tea sandwiches and salmon roses....and maybe you could make (or tell us how to make?) origami place cards & decorations -- they could be animals & vegetables from all your books, especially LISSY'S FRIENDS!

We could have it at my house in Mystic -- there is a yard -- and I bet the local (independent) bookstore down the street, Bank Street Books, would be DELIGHTED to be part of it to the extent of having lots of copies for sale and some decorations there too. Just a thought! We have a yard and there are 3 children in the house.
--Libby (Elizabeth Bennet is another email account I have)

Gretchen Olson said...

Dear Libby,

I love book presentations in unsual settings. A friend had one at a hair salon. My first booksigning for "Call Me Hope," (Alvina edited) will be in April at New To You clothing resale shop in McMinnville, Oregon. In my book, main character Hope Elliot finds refuge from her verbally abusive mother at "Next To New" along with the two zany owners, Ruthie and Anita.

The event is a benefit for the local women's shelter, the child abuse assessment center, and the Hands & Words Are Not For Hurting Project.

Two women are making a quilt using children's drawings depicting "I feel hope or happy or safe when....." The quilt will be raffled off that night.

There will be a 6th grade poster contest with the same theme. The drawings won't be judged but all names will be entered in a door-prize drawing.

A local woman has volunteered to speak about the life-long struggle she's had surviving a verbally abusive childhood.

A local teacher will sing the lyrics to her original song, "Broken One," which is included in the book....

A women's service organization (Soroptimist International)will provide cookies and punch.

Now I just need to figure out what to say. Like your event, there will be children and adults (I hope)....

The tea room setting sounds and looks delicious! Thanks for the beautiful pictures & I'm glad it was such a lovely success.

Gretchen

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