This afternoon I raced (literally) across the valley to get from the school where I teach to a high school across town to meet with their creative writing club, mentored by a friend of mine who used to teach at my school. It was a ton of fun (meeting with the club, not the racing across town).
Since I'm a teacher, I had none of the jitters about which I've heard many authors complain. I don't fear public speaking, for one thing. And I certainly have no fear of teenagers. (Geez, these kids were older and better behaved than what I normally face anyway. They were highly amused that my first words to them were, "Thank you for not being 7th graders.")
I began with a bit of background on how/when I started writing, then talked to them a bit about why I self-publish -- and HOW. They wanted the HOW part. And that was fine. I thought they would. We talked about formatting and making covers and advertising. I let them know the harsh realities of how self-published authors don't really make much money, that one does this because one likes it.
They also got a BIG talking-to on revision, on how a first draft is NOT a final product. I told them that NaNoWriMO is fine, but that they should put that finished first draft away for a month -- at least -- afterwards and let it "ripen" while they write something else. I told them that first draft will look a LOT less perfect when they see it with fresh eyes.
They ate this up. And that's a good thing.
We talked about POV and intended audience.
They wanted to know where I got my ideas for each book. They were enthralled as I talked about authors I'd met; Neil Gaiman, of course, was an impressive name to drop.
One of the girls had borrowed the teacher's copy of Becoming Brigid and read it. She was an avid reader; she told me she'd read over 200 books this year. (No one contradicted her; apparently, she is well-known for constant reading.) She went on for 2 or 3 minutes about how she loved the multiple plots and parallel times going on in Brigid. She said it was the best she'd ever read like that. (I basked in my warm, fuzzy moment while she talked.)
And, at the end of the meeting, as 4 or 5 kids hung around to tell me shyly what they were writing and/or ask more questions, she began gushing over Dougal.
"I LOVE Dougal!" she half-shouted. Then she went on and on to 2 other girls who hadn't read the book yet, telling them how intriguing he was. I was SO pleased.
Yes, I now have a teenage girl in love with my fictional character. Once again, I have passed another milestone as an author. :D
I didn't sell any books (but maybe some of them will buy the e-book -- I hope), but I did rally them up to convince their school librarian to buy a copy. I told them about my current contest, and one girl got very excited about writing a book review (so I hope she really will read the book and review it).
I gave away a Half-Vampire tee shirt and lots of bookmarks. And I got about 15 volunteers to beta read The (Dis)Appearance of Nerissa MacKay. In fact, there was much disappointment that I only had 3 copies -- until I pointed out that it's only a novella and they could pass it around to more people at their next writers' club meeting in 2 weeks.
So, overall, I'd say it was a huge success.
Plus, I get to come back and do a workshop with them in a month or so. :)