My Very First Contest Ever!

I learn something new with every book I publish. What I’ve learned with AlphaOops: H is for Halloween is:

1.) It is WAY easier to write the second book if you already know the characters, what their motivations are, and what they look like.

2.) It is more helpful to write the manuscript in actual theatre or film script format instead of regular short-story prose. Less to edit out later.

3.) If your book is a “holiday” book — say, Halloween, for example — its release day will be WAY before Halloween, because it will stop selling ON Halloween.

4.) Your book will not be in stores the day it comes out. There are no Halloween tables out in mid-July (unless you’re at Costco). Don’t be disappointed, just be patient.

5.) If October rolls around and you start to see Halloween table displays in stores and your book is not among them, you will get weirded out. It’s perfectly normal. You *should* be weirded out.

I am currently, officially, weirded out.

I spoke to Martina at my local B&N today; she was putting my name down on a reserve on a copy of Robin McKinley’s Pegasus when it comes out on November 2nd. I asked out of curiosity what the deal was with the considerable lack of AlphaOops. She looked it up for me and commented on how cute a book it was and how fabulous a publisher Candlewick is (because they are). “I have no idea why we don’t have this book,” she said. I told her it had gotten a starred review in PW. “A starred review?” she exclaimed. “Then I really don’t know why we don’t have it. That’s just weird.” (See??)

When I got home, I expressed my concern on the intarwebs, and quite the conversation occurred on Facebook. What we discovered was that the book is doing a very fine business to libraries (I LOVE LIBRARIES!!!) and over the internet (I LOVE MY INTARWEBS PEEPS!), but the book itself is in virtually no brick-and-mortar bookstores. WHICH IS JUST WEIRD.

And so I’ve decided to hold a contest. You can win your very own personalized copy of AlphaOops: H is for Halloween (and you know how much I draw when I personalize books). Here’s how it goes:

1.) Go to your local bookstore.

2.) Take a picture of AlphaOops: H is for Halloween in a Halloween display at the bookstore. (Make sure you’re far enough away from the table that I can tell it’s not your living room.)

3.) If AlphaOops: H is for Halloween is not at the bookstore, take a picture of a bookstore employee holding up a sign that says “OOPS!” (see silly picture of me above for reference) Be sure to tell the employee why you’re in the bookstore, what you’re up to, and which pesky author put you up to it.

4.) Email the photos to me at akontis — at — gmail. (I’m traveling a lot this month, so if you just Tweet it and it’s not in my mailbox folder, I’m going to forget to enter you in the contest.)

5.) I will post the photos, giving credit to the photographer, here on my blog. YOU ARE ENCOURAGED TO MAKE THEM AS SILLY AS POSSIBLE. I am The Princess. Amuse me.

6.) I will choose one entrant at random from the entries (and possibly an extra prize for originality, if I so desire). Contest ends at 11:59:59pm EST on October 25th. (That way I have time to sign the book and get it to you by Halloween.)

That’s it. Any questions? Good. Now go forth and photograph. And thank you!  xox