There’s been a lot of buzz about Kara Taylor and her anticipated debut Prep School Confidential. In the wake of Gossip Girl, exclusive academics with gorgeous rich kids with dark secrets and a few unexplained deaths have been making an appearance in the constantly changing stream of YA titles.
Of course, such a dramatic title couldn’t make its debut without a party – and Book Revue of Huntington, NY, was more than prepared for the task.
Book Revue is a family-owned brick-and-mortar bookstore – one of the largest in the United States – with a star-studded history and a never-ending line-up of some intriguing and famous faces: upcoming guests include Billy Crystal, Meg Cabot and the Long Island Medium.
As a debut author, Taylor had her worries about the success of the event. Long Island is a quiet area – nearly an hour out from the bright lights of New York City, and the constant stream of publishing activity that it is so famous for.
However, she needn’t have worried. At least fifty people initially showed up.
“All of them knew me in some way, which is typical for a debut author,” said Taylor. “A lot of friends and family brought their friends, and a couple of curious bookstore shoppers came to check out the refreshment table!”
Taylor prepared for the occasion with special skull cookies to match her book cover – though “they came out looking more like octopi.”
Book Revue’s event coordinator, Jen Pesner, started off the evening by introducing Taylor to the audience, and Taylor proceeded to choose a few pages from chapter two of Prep School Confidential to read aloud.
After the reading, the audience was ready for a session of questions. “One of the questions I got was ‘How long did it take you to find an agent?’” Taylor recalled. “It was over a year – it’s not a process for the patient!”
Taylor happens to be an alumni of Long Island’s Stony Brook University. Another audience member asked her if her English degree from the university had prepared her for being a writer. “I learned a lot about style and revision from my English degree,” Taylor admitted.
Of course, a debut release party would not be complete without a signing line. It’s the norm to warn debut authors not to expect too much, and often with good reason. Without an established brand and dedicated readers, they often have to steel themselves for small events and empty seats.
However, Taylor’s experience was surprising – and pleasing.
“I thought only thirty people would show up, so I had the bookstore order fifty copies… but one person bought eleven copies!”
Besides the books, Taylor was armed with some extra swag and goodies to pass out to her audience. The younger guests were thrilled with temporary tattoos, and even some specially signed bookmarks.
“After I signed all the copies, we mingled and had refreshments – coffee, iced tea, lemonade, cookies and cupcakes,” said Taylor.
Taylor even had a surprise visit from her agent, Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary and Media, and the agency’s head, Joanna Volpe.
Looking back on the party, Taylor was pleased with the outcome. “Overall, it was a real success. The Book Revue was so helpful and supportive – and they have an amazing YA and children’s section for anyone in the area!”
She did, however, have one piece of advice for anyone looking to have their own debut signing. “We sold out of books before everyone arrived!” laughed Taylor. “We probably could have used fifteen more copies. So for anyone planning an event: overprepare!”
To find out more about Kara Taylor and Prep School Confidential, visit her website or follow her on Twitter. A full description of Book Revue and their forthcoming events can be located on their website.
All photos courtesy of Book Revue.