I have no one to blame but myself, and I know it.
Some time ago I made a pretty obvious joke among friends and then online about Fifty Shades of Kay. People were amused, I suppose for pretty obvious reasons.
Months passed, as they do.
On Twitter very recently someone posted a photo of their copy The Fionavar Tapestry on the breakfast table beside the pancakes or eggs and a fruit smoothie. Made me smile, as I really like battered (no pun intended), well-loved copies of my books. Just after that, a couple of other people (reviewers, booksellers, authors) happened to post photos of their early copies of River of Stars.
An idea entered what I am pleased to call my mind.
What if we run a contest, I wrote my publicists, marketing people, editors. Do it in the first week after books start arriving in bookstores, give a prize to the cleverest or funniest or most creative photo of a copy of River of Stars in a bookstore.
Fabulous idea, word came hurtling back. (They flatter me when they aren’t harassing me.) But, asked Charidy Johnston, one of the senior marketing people, why limit it to bookstores? Let people have more room to be creative.
She was right. So we all agreed the photos could be taken anywhere. I made a joke or two (I do that) about maybe getting more creativity than we bargained for. After further emails back and forth Nicole Winstanley, President and Publisher of Penguin Canada, editor and friend, agreed to judge this with me.
Cut to New York last Thursday, a day of meetings. Over lunch with a trio of Wunderkind PR publicists, finalizing plans for the photo contest came up and I joked (see the ‘foolish author motif’ emerging?), ‘Given that these are photos, I guess it’ll be like Fifty Shades of Kay after all.’
Laughter, then a sudden, intense, extreme silence around the table. So profound that other diners looked over at us. I felt the first sadly belated premonitions of doom.
‘You realize we have to call the contest that!’ Tanya said. ‘It is too perfect.’
‘Of course it is,’ said Elena. ‘That is what we are calling it!’
See? No one to blame but myself.
So, here we go. Here’s the deal:
The first copies of River of Stars shipped from warehouses this past Friday. Should be arriving in bookstores any day. So, from today to April 7th, the Sunday after the official on-sale date of April 2, readers are invited to post to Twitter their best photos of the books ‘in the wild’. And to be egalitarian, this includes e-book versions, if you can get a good photo of one – which means the UK can play too, as e-books should be out there on the 2nd. (Hardcovers not till July.)
Post your picture with the hashtag we’ve been using: #riverofstars. That’s so we can find them.
People are invited to comment (politely?) on each other’s photos, that’s part of the fun, I hope. After April 7th, Nicole and I will have a drink and look at what’s come in, and pick a winner.
Prize is an extra, signed hardcover of River of Stars, shipped to wherever the winner is and, as a bonus, a double-signed CD of my absurdly talented friend Martin Springett’s just released (this past weekend) “River of Stars Suite” – music inspired by the book.
The music can sampled at http://martinspringett.com/riverofstarscd.html
So there you have it. Start your cameras. Enjoy the book, enjoy the game. Behave.