Here is the second part of my interview with Elana Johnson. She had way too much great stuff to share with me to fit into a single post.
Randy: During your recent “Possession” party you seemed to be everywhere and doing everything. What was that like for you?
Elana: In a word: Exhausting. But fun at the same time. It was nice to feel the support from the online universe, and feed off that energy.
Randy: What sort of things went through your mind when you were planning the “Possession” party?
Elana: For me, I really wanted to be able to bring something to the Internet that everyone could participate in whether they’d read POSSESSION or not. And I wanted to give away a lot of stuff. Everyone likes free stuff, you know?
Randy: What was the toughest part of planning an event like the “Possession” party?
Elana: The logistics. What I was going to give away where. Getting pictures of those things, putting them up at the right time, being online at the right time, getting the webcams to work. That kind of thing.
Randy: Is there any part of that event that you feel could be left out and still be as effective? Or should all of us future-published-authors do even more to get our books noticed?
Elana: Oh, yeah, there are things that were more successful than others. I think the twitter chats/giveaways were wildly popular. I think some of the stuff in the forums weren’t as popular, and I’ve noted which things I didn’t like doing, or that didn’t seem to bring enthusiasm from the crowd. I won’t be doing those things again.
Randy: What was the most thrilling moment of the launch party?
Elana: Dude, the launch party was epic. The most thrilling moment was getting up and standing behind that podium, and seeing all those people… I’m crying just remembering it. Totally surreal, yet shiny at the same time.
Randy: What went through your head when you first found out that Simon and Schuster were going to publish your book?
Elana: “No way! Simon & SCHUSTER?? Are you sure??” It was a completely unreal conversation with my agent. Sometimes I still can’t believe it.
Randy: The Inside the Resistance fan site was a great idea to promote you book. How did that come about?
Elana: Ali Cross is one of my critique partners, and one of my best friends. She brought up the idea of a fansite at a critique group lunch one day. Things sort of spiraled from there. She did all the work, asking me for images and input along the way. I really owe it all to her.
Randy: I really loved the barcode that everyone was sporting in association with your book. How did that come about? Any plans to expand on that?
Elana: That was a 100% copy of Lisa and Laura Roecker’s (THE LIAR SOCIETY) pink hair thing. When their book came out, they pinkified the hair on people’s avatars. So the tagged barcode avatar was a copy of that for POSSESSION. And it was Christine Fonseca who spearheaded that Photoshopping endeavor. I have the greatest friends!
I’ve used the tags before in a pre-release promotion. I’m sure I’ll use “tagged” and the bar codes throughout my marketing, as they’re a big part of the book.
Randy: If the rest of the unpublished authors are anything like me they see a lot of interaction between author and fans and think, “Wow, that must be great.” What does it feel like when you receive an e-mail, or a Tweet, or anything similar and a fan expresses how great it was to get a signed bookmark from you?
Elana: Honestly, it’s still all brand new for me, and it feels weird. Like, “Why in the world would they want me to sign a bookmark?” You know? I hope it always stays new and fun like this.
Randy: There were some published authors that showed up for the book signing during the launch party. What goes through your mind when any of them ask you to sign their copy of your book?
Elana: Yet another totally weird thing! I think authors are some of the most supportive people, especially of other authors. It’s always nice to see a friendly face, but I still think, “Oh my heck! I just signed my book for Ally Condie! She’s, like, FAMOUS.”
Randy: Of anyone alive today, who would most want to ask you to sign their copy of your book?
Elana: Scott Westerfeld. I love his books, and signing my book for him would blow my mind.