At a Glance: Six Months of Promo and Events for Dare Me

I have been promoting Dare Me for the past six months. It was fun, exhausting and very rewarding. However, I am glad that the crunch is over. The time and energy it takes is extensive and wreaks havoc on anything else scheduled––you know like the rest of my life 🙂

That’s not a complaint, just a simple fact. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love the craziness, and I’m fortunate enough to be doing it all over again for my next novel, which will be released in the fall (details to come).

Therefore, for those of you who might be interested, I’ve outlined all that I did, or that happened regarding Dare Me for half of a year. Many authors do more, and many do less. This is what I did, and I hope it illustrates the business of books on the personal level. Because trust me, if I were to write about the behind-the-scenes work, this post would have to run for a week straight.

July 2013

I didn’t get started until the end of the month, but I kicked things off with a bang, releasing my trailer for Dare Me through a blast, released by over 50 bloggers, worldwide. There was a copy of the novel and a t-shirt giveaway that netted over 5,500 entries. Not bad, right?

Then I wrote an article for one of my favorite librarians and her site Teen Librarian’s Toolbox, titled “Careening with our youth culture“. It’s all about why teens like to do crazy things, and especially why I felt compelled to do some of my own. It was paired with a giveaway, too.

August 2013

August is always busy, and so I only managed to release the flyer for all of my scheduled events for Dare Me. I put it on Scribd, which made sharing so easy.

September

My publisher printed 200 copies of those same flyers I posted to Scribd and I sent them to local high schools at the start of the school year.

Then I had my Dear Teen Me letter posted. Go read it, if you haven’t. It’s awesome.

I then held my first signing at Market Block Books.

October

Dare Me was published in October, so things got cooking. I was interviewed by our local WNYT affiliate, and then held these signings and events:

Signing @   Clifton Park-Halfmoon Library

Signing and panel discussion Troy Author Day @ Troy Public Library

Signing @ Barnes & Noble:  Saratoga Springs

Release party & Signing @ McGreivey’s Restaurant

During this time I also ran a five-day giveaway for Dare Me as a build up to the publishing day.

I also received this awesome review from Kirkus

November

I was interviewed by Kori Miller of Back Porch Writer for her podcast. It was a blast, and if you have a half hour, go listen.

Awesomeness hit in November when I went to NCTE. I signed copies of Dare Me and met English teachers from around the country. A couple of my colleagues even showed up, which was so nice. And then I met a few authors whose work I love, and I even got my picture taken with A.S. King.

December

The last month of the year started out fantastic with both the LA Times and the Chicago Tribune selecting Dare Me for their holiday books gift guides for Young Adults.

Then I got to use my author status for some good by participating in a signing/fundraiser for the High School I work for at another, local Barnes and Noble. If you have kids or are an author and teacher like me, contact B&N and set up a Book Fair. So simple, yet so effective.

January

The American Library Association’s Widwinter Meeting was held in Philadelphia this year, home of my publisher, Running Press. Therefore, I got to go to the city of brotherly love, sign, meet awesome librarians, and then have a blast wining and dining with everyone from Running Press and some of my pub siblings. I even met Daniel Kraus while at our cocktail party. I refrained from getting all fanboy and we had an awesome chat.

For the duration

I ran four giveaways at Goodreads, at various times throughout these six months. I now have only two copies of those I receive from my publisher left. But it was worth it, as close to 2,500 people entered the giveaways and, therefore, have Dare Me on their radar.

Now

Phew. That was a lot. Or maybe it was just enough. Possibly there was more I could have done. I have no idea, because that’s the impossibility of any business. Some analytics cannot be measured.

So what matters to me are the answers to these questions:

Did I have fun? Yes.

Did all of this enrich my life? Yes.

Would I do it all over again? Absolutely.

And I will, in another six months. Be sure to join me, and thank you if you did this time around.

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My Dear Teen Me Letter

Dear Teen Me is a website (and an anthology) of letters from Young Adult literature authors to their teenage selves. I had the privilege to have mine posted yesterday. Due to technical glitches on my end, I couldn’t include it here. Therefore, today, my letter is below, along with the link to the original, which has comments from those who appreciate this insight into my life. I hope you enjoy the letter as well. It is one of the more emotional pieces I’ve written, because all that’s in it, just like those teen years, has never fully faded away.

Dear Teen Me from author Eric Devine (DARE ME, TAP OUT) « Dear Teen Me.

Eric,

Eric's senior photo, taken months before homecoming.

Eric’s senior photo, taken months before homecoming.

Here’s what’s going to happen: On this kick return, homecoming game of senior year, the other team is going to try to take off your leg. They’ll come really close and there will be times later in your life when you wish they had. A prosthetic leg would, in some ways, be easier than the nerve damaged and muscle atrophied stump you’ll see through surgery, only to have let go from beneath you for a year. Maybe longer.

But here’s the thing, the hit will be good for you, possibly the best. You’ve lived pretty close to the edge as is. Have woken up countless times wondering where you were and how you got there. Until that one night, when your friend Bryan forced you to talk to your girlfriend, in spite of your haze and indifference. Really, that night he begged her not to give up on you.

Because of him, she’ll be with you as you live the amazing cliché of homecoming-court-member-injured-during-the-game. She’ll be there during the surgery, and after, when you lose a host of friends, because partying with a gimp isn’t much fun. And she’ll be at your side, when, incredibly, still on crutches, you’ll suggest that you were stupid when you said, “I plan on being single when I go to college.” In fact, you’ll suggest that this relationship should last longer, like… forever. And the next day you’ll think this through and you won’t cringe.

Eric and Carrie on the court at the homecoming dance, post-game. Note the crutches and the pain.

Eric and Carrie on the court at the homecoming dance, post-game. Note the crutches and the pain.

And by the end of senior year, when your world, like your leg, has been whittled away, there will be a clutch of friends still standing with you. Somehow they’ll be around much longer than you could have ever imagined. It’ll be like a Friends episode, except without the money and living in the city and being beautiful.

But right now, you’re not thinking about that. You’re thinking about what it takes to be a man. How hard you’re going to have to hit the other team. Much later, probably when you have two daughters, you’ll understand what it truly means to “man up”, but for now you’re a testosterone-filled psycho. Except you’re not. You write poetry and rock your English classes and have a disdain for self-centeredness, especially in yourself. Those traits, including being a rage-fueled boy, will serve you well. Because you are going to leave a piece of yourself here, on this field, and you will forever be tied to the tumultuous wave of adolescence, because you will refuse to let go. In many ways you will never grow up. And in extraordinary ways you will.

Writing will be an outlet. Purely emotional at first, so don’t be embarrassed by what emerges. Talking to yourself on paper is better than talking to no one at all. That conversation will eventually turn and you will hone a voice for telling these stories–not just yours, but of the teens like you. Because there are more than you can imagine, and they will be thankful that you don’t pull punches and that you speak with honesty. Trust me, this isn’t “popular”, but when have you ever cared about that?

Eric and his friends for 50s day at school. Goofy, yes, but Bryan is the one wearing plaid.

Eric and his friends for 50s day at school. Goofy, yes, but Bryan is the one wearing plaid.

And so, that hit that’s coming, you’re prepared for it, as if you’ve trained for the moment, as if the past five years battling diabetes has shored up your defenses. You are strong and you are weak, and you’re about to find out how to live with that contradiction.

The referee blows the whistle and the kicker lines up. You stand near the end zone, taking in the crowd, your girlfriend with the rest of the homecoming court, and October of your senior year feels glorious.

The football slices the air, to your teammate. You prepare to block for him. This is you, right before it falls apart. This fragile self you’ve bound in muscle, about to learn, again, just how delicate we all are.

Grown-up Eric.

Grown-up Eric.

The opposing team streams your way. You see light and your teammate at your back. You sprint and block until they dive, one on each side, your left leg their aiming point.

Your scream reverberates off the concrete of the nearby building. The game halts. Your attackers slap hands, congratulating each other on a job well done.

And it is. Because only when you lose yourself can you then find yourself, and you’re already slipping, with the grass at your back and the bright sky above. And pain, so much pain.

Embrace it. Your former life is over. From here you will build, and you have everything you need to succeed.

Sincerely,

You at 35.