Curious, aren’t you? What do children and the types of books often featured on The Righteous Perverts have in common? Admittedly, not much.
In 2008 my first book, Her Dark Master, is published by Red Sage Publishing. It’s official! I’m a published author! There is much rejoicing. I get a great cover (albeit one with a slight historical inaccuracy) and make a pretty cool trailer. At this point, I’d like to point out I’m a halfway intelligent human being AND a pretty good mom. You’d think I’d know better, but really, I think I was too darn excited about the book to think about what I was saying when my son, Dr. Kidlet, and friends wandered into my office and asked what I was doing. I told them I’d made a trailer for my book but they weren’t allowed to watch it. Really?! REALLY? Tell tweens not to do something? Good grief.
They come back a few minutes later and say “Nice trailer, mom, but what do whips have to do with romance?”
“They ride a lot of horses.”
They totally bought this for the next two years.
Right after the release of Her Dark Master, Dr. Kidlet started high school.
Cue Meet the Teachers night. I walk into the school ready to find out how I can help Dr. Kidlet (and his friends) succeed and transition to college. Instead…
Dr. Kidlet’s English Teacher: “Dr. Kidlet and Friend A told me you’re a romance writer and you have a book out.” Long wink and (honestly!) a nudge with the elbow. “I can’t wait to read it. He gave me this bookmark with the cover and buy info.”
Dr. Kidlet’s Theatre Teacher: “So, Dr. Kidlet says you’re a published author! Congratulations. I can’t wait to read it. Great bookmark, too!”
Friend B’s Algebra Teacher: “Ms. August, Friend B gave me this bookmark for your novel. Looks saucy. Is it?”
School Librarian: “I can’t order your book for the school, but I did buy it for my Kindle.”
And on and on and on. This was just the tip of the iceberg. During the course of the year, the teens pilfered my bookmark and postcard stashes and passed them out with programs at football games, band events, and other schools. I had no idea this was going on at the time.
Ah, how quickly they grow up. Remember when they believed whips in book trailers meant riding a lot of horses? Yeah, well, in sophomore year of high school, the newly-educated kids coined a term for my writing: Chick Porn.
The first time they called it that, I about peed my pants. I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, or pay someone for coming up with the term.
As the high school years went by and I had more books out, I had more swag to give away and they delighted in brainstorming ways to guerilla market for me. They had some really awesome ideas. Their brains hadn’t yet been tainted with the “No, you can’t do that” kind of mantra we often have as adults.
They left my literature in every city they visited, in public restrooms, in textbooks they turned back in at the end of the school year, even in yearbooks as they were handed out at the beginning of the next year. When our local grocery stores started carrying and aggressively marketing books by Sylvia Day and Maya Banks and Shayla Black, Friends A & C (who worked at said stores) slid my postcards into the middle of all the copies on the shelves (I’ll admit that was my idea, that time). I received several emails and sales because of this.
The last day of meeting with teachers came and I was a bit overwhelmed by the positive comments I received from them regarding my work. Most were supportive and had read some of my books (AWKWARD!) and all wished me luck with my career.
My favorite part, though, was when his English Teacher and the chair of the National Technical Honor Society, asked me for my autograph and a stack of bookmarks and postcards because she was going to a NTHS conference in New York later that summer. She wanted to hand them out for me. Wow.
Dr. Kidlet chose to go to a university to study medicine (hence his nickname) which has a huge Christian mindset. The entire summer before he left, I cautioned him over and over again about not mentioning what I do. By now I’d segued into ménage as well as bondage. I’m thinking a conservative Christian school and its students are not going to appreciate my swag.
The first time I visited him during college, I was instructed to bring swag, books, and a sharpie for signing autographs. I was shocked, to say the least. I even sold books to his professors. Holy crap.
Turns out, Dr. Kidlet completely ignored me, swiped some of my postcards and brochures and passed them out (judiciously, thank heavens) to people after he’d made some connections and assessments. My brochure, which has some pretty racy info and covers, hung in his dorm’s public study room for the entire year. A whiteboard beneath it had all the titles of my books that weren’t in the brochure, along with where-to-buy links.
I dropped him off last week for his sophomore year. I packed an entire box of swag for him to market me down there. He told me this weekend he’s already had texts and emails from friends asking what’s come out since last semester. They are especially excited about Bound by His Blood, which comes out in October. He said the moment he told them they were “Vampire Bondage” books, there was much excitement.
So, there’s the saga of how my child and his friends helped market me, my books, and my swag for the last five years with pretty good success. He’s going to be a doctor, so I have at least ten more years to look forward to this. I’d better get to writing!