March 13, 2012, Tuesday, was a big day for debut YA author Lissa Price.
She launched her debut YA book, Starters.
It was a big day for me, too. Because I get to see one of my closest writer friends fulfill one of her biggest dreams.
I first met Lissa when she joined my writing group, the Children’s Book Writers of Los Angeles. Back then, our group was called the Torrance Children’s Book Writers, and I didn’t yet know her as Lissa Price.
After our group’s session, we hung out for a bit and chatted. We instantly clicked on our many similar interests and we constantly emailed each other with writing tips and tidbits.
A few months later she shared her wonderful news and since then I’ve been watching her rising star explode into a full blown supernova. And I couldn’t be happier at her success. She truly, truly deserves it. I feel lucky to have been a witness to her writing journey, and to see it bear fruit.
So at her book launch last Tuesday, I was just as excited as she was. My best buds Lena and Maiko were friends with Lissa, too and we decided to surprise her at her book launch by having some Starters shirts made.
She was so touched and pleased by what we’d done. I told her we had promised to be her groupies long ago, and so here we were fulfilling our bargain.
I saw a lot of familiar faces and friends. Several YA authors, members of The Apocalypsies were also in attendance. They came to to show their support for Lissa.
Jennifer Bosworth (Struck) & Kristen Kittscher (The Wig in the Window)
The book signing area at Vroman’s Pasadena was packed by the time the event started at around 6pm. After the Vroman’s event manager introduced her, Lissa stepped up to the podium and began her talk.
She began by thanking everyone for being there, and thanking several important people, both present and absent from the launch.
She told us about her amazing journey from writer to author. Before Starters had been picked up by Random House, Lissa had had a top New York agent. But he let her go when he couldn’t sell her dystopian YA book, so she could find other agents who might be a better fit. Immediately after he’d done that, she’d sent out a query and got 3 agents interested right away. One of her dream agents, whom she’d shared a taxi ride in New York with previously, offered her representation within 24 hours, and after thinking about it, Lissa decided to go with Barbara Poelle.
Lissa was brimming with gratitude at all her agent had done for, and at how fast Barbara managed to get her book out there. Within a week, Starters had sold to Random House’s Delacorte via a pre-emptive bid.
After telling us this amazing story, Lissa opened the floor to questions. Typical of her generous nature, Lissa gave away swag to everyone who asked questions.
The audience asked her about her writing habits, publishing tips and so on.
After the Q & A, Lissa announced the winner of the Starters giftbasket giveaway. The lucky winner sitting in Row 6 Aisle 4, got to take home an amazing giftbasket containing Starters items such as a water bottle, shirt, tote bag, magnets, buttons, bookmarks, light up necklace and mousepad. (I know just how amazing the items were in there because I helped put it together. Kinda jealous at the winner!)
Lucky Starters Giftbasket winner
Lissa also invited everyone who attended the book launch to attend an after party at Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion, across Vroman’s. As they lined up for the book signing, Lissa gave them wristbands so they could hop across the street and enjoy some Free appetizers and drinks at Roy’s.
While waiting in line, everyone got to watch a book trailer of Starters, which was playing in a loop on a computer up front. If you haven’t yet, check out the book trailer. It certainly gave me the thrills!
I was stoked to see another favorite YA author, Marie Lu again. She waited patiently in line to get her book signed by Lissa.
Fellow groupies Lena and Maiko, and I waited until the end of the line so we could finally get our turn to get our books signed.
I had Maiko and Lena take pictures of me while I waited in line so I could remember every moment:
Finally getting my books signed
Lena with Lissa Price
After getting our books signed, my fellow groupies and I headed down to Roy’s to join Lissa and her other guests. I had fun hanging out with fellow SCBWI friends and (also amazing writers).
We ended the amazing night by posing for another picture with the star of the show, Lissa Price, and her new toy–a gift from friends and groupies a.k.a. Myself, Lena and Maiko.
I felt truly blessed to be a part of the totally awesome book launch.
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