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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Chooo Chooooo!!!!

Years ago...and I mean YEARS ago, I would scour my favorite author's websites for book signings and figure out how I could get there. We didn't have social media where we could friend authors and hope they would friend us back or even acknowledge us. We had to go to book signings and wait in line with a rapid beating heart, anticipating our turn to tell the author how much we love their work, yada-yada....

THEN....my heart dropped when my favorite author gave me a snide smile and pushed my book to the side without a thank you or even eye contact. I couldn't believe it!

When I became an author I knew I wasn't going to be like THAT author. I was going to make sure I took the time to thank each and every one of my readers. Something small and intimate. I wanted them to feel appreciated and know my gratitude.

Along came social media and it was game on for me! Not all authors are social, but when they step into the public arena they need to be somewhat nice. Social media has been a game changer. It was my opportunity to take my dream of connecting with readers the way I wanted to connect with my favorite author (who was no longer on my TBR list!).

Over the years I have been able to connect on a more personal level using social media and make sure my readers have the opportunity to hang out when I'm doing live events. I have hosted tea parties while away at conferences, I rented a cupcake shop while on book tours, and I have hosted coffee parties at various coffee shops around the U.S.

BUT....in January I had an idea. What if I made my own annual weekend reader event, invite another author each year to join me and host it in a different city each year?

I was off and running! I had decided I wanted to do something with mystery since the first four in the Ghostly Southern Mystery Series, published by HarperCollins, was being released this year. I found a few murder mystery theatre trains. After making a few calls, I picked The Old Dinner Train in Blissfield, Michigan which is outside of Toledo, Ohio. Then I called a hotel to reserve a block of rooms, and the closest Barnes and Noble to book my own signing.
(Yes...I do have a publicist at HarperCollins and she was like What? Wow! when I told her what I had done.) I called another mystery author, Duffy Brown (because she is low drama and always up for anything) and we unleashed the graphic.
(me and Duffy Brown)
The tickets sold out within hours! We couldn't believe it. It was January and the event wasn't until October!





The weekend exceeded all my expectations! The train's max was forty readers and it was intimate enough to be able to talk and spend time with each of them. The readers loved it and instead of the typical giveaway of a book bag, I had gotten them spa kits with the weekend logo stamped on the kit along with a donated book from author friends.

The last night of the event, I announced 2016's event and what authors I had picked to come along. Another mystery train, only in St. Louis, MO! I opened up the registration that night and the tickets sold out! I will continue to host a yearly, small, intimate event for my readers! I want them to know how much they mean to me and how grateful I am for them.

Have you attended your favorite author's events? Leave a comment and be eligible to win the first FOUR novels in my Ghostly Southern Mystery Series!



For years, USA Today bestselling author Tonya Kappes has been self-publishing her numerous mystery and romance titles with unprecedented success. She is famous not only for her hilarious plotlines and quirky characters, but her tremendous marketing efforts that have earned her thousands of followers and a devoted street team of fans. HarperCollins and Witness Impulse is thrilled to be publishing this insanely talented and wildly successful author for the first time with her hilarious and spooky Ghostly Southern series.

Check out Tonya's Website and sign up for her newsletter for a free ebook download! 


57 comments:

Janel Flynn said...

Love to do a mystery tour but unable to travel to far. So if you ever make it to Wyoming I would be game. This next year though my husband and I re going to try to make it to Longmire Days in Buffalo,Wyoming. Am hoping to get a few signed books from Craig Johnson and a few photos with the cast of Longmire.
Thank you for the chance.

Peggy Hyndman said...

Sadly, I've never been able to attend an event and/or meet any of my favorite authors. Even though I live in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex, it seems my favorite authors and I live states away from each other. I'll keep dreaming and hoping it happens. :)
peggyhyndman(at)att(dot)net

Heather said...

The train trip was a ton of fun! Even the "small" reader events I've been to are not as small and intimate as this one. I really enjoyed it, and so did the others that came with me. Thank you for such a wonderful weekend, and I'm looking forward to the next one! :)

Susan P. said...

No, I have never been to any of my favorite author's events but I sure would love to go to one of yours one day,Tonya! Fingers crossed!

Margo Bittner said...

Sounds like fun! I have attended author events, and would love to do so again. cheers@marjimmanor.com

Jenn Stark said...

I love the idea of your Mystery Train!! Even in the days of our completely connected-via-social-media world, nothing can replace that in-person interaction with an author whose books you adore. :)

Blessed911 said...

I got to meet you at Jospeh Beth in Lexington. I will be joining you for the next mystery train and I can't wait!!!
I did get to go to RWA in 2013, I got to meet several of my favorite authors, but they didn't call me by name :)

jody schwoerer said...

I too have gone to a signing of an author I had felt had an impact in my reading life and was very saddened to find him to be a pompous jerk who barely acknowledged people as they presented their books to be signed. Finding authors that are genuinely grateful to their readers and interact with them has been a joy. Social media must be a great marketing tool, but must add a lot of extra work into an author's day. So kudos to those that do take time to respond to their readers. And, for me at least, I am more inclined to start reading that author or share information and chat about the ones I already read.

Sorry, I tend to babble. I am seriously excited about being part of the Mystery weekend in the St. Louis area next year. I will admit I have not read anything by two of the authors. So I have some work to do!!!!

Laurie Bergh said...

I have never attended an author event. The mystery train must have been seriously fun! I wish there would be something like that in my area. I would definitely go!

Deb Forbes said...

I have not been able to go to any events but would love too. Thought I might get to go next year on the mystery train but I missed the train pun intended because it sold out so fast. I love your books. Thanks for the chance

Deb Forbes said...

I have not been able to go to any events but would love too. Thought I might get to go next year on the mystery train but I missed the train pun intended because it sold out so fast. I love your books. Thanks for the chance

Peg said...

I have never been to any author events but would love to go someday, especially the Mystery Train. What you do for your fans is amazing! Thank you for being such a people person. phalley@woh.rr.com

Sheryl Hagan-Booth said...

I once met are LStein but have not met any as of late. But, I get to meet you all come April!

Carol Schwartz said...

I have not had the opportunity to meet you in any of your travels, but love that you are accessible online and love your books.

Carol Schwartz said...

I have not had the opportunity to meet you in any of your travels, but love that you are accessible online and love your books.

BreAnna Herron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BreAnna Herron said...

I would love to attend an event for Cozy Mysteries. I have gone to local author events, and will always recall meeting Lynne Reed Banks as a child. I believe that if possible showing support to any author is a good deed in the book lover world. And I also know the heart break of how a favorite author can turn out to be cruel. Glad to know the amazing Cozy Authors that love their fans! breannaherron@icloud.com

Anonymous said...

I have never attended a event, but it is on my bucket list. I think that your train ride is a great idea. Mari Hinton

Jeannie D. said...

Hello Tonya! I think you are really wonderful to your fans, as is Duffy Brown. I am going to get to meet you at the "Romancing the Smokies" event next March in Knoxville. So excited.

Mari Hinton said...

I have never attended a event, but it is on my bucket list. I think that your train ride is a great idea.

amy o'neal said...

i've only attend dinner theater, it was fun. I bet a mystery train ride would be soo much fun

kaisquared said...

Both you and Duffy are just great people first, and talented authors second. I have been lucky enough to meet both of you at Lori's get together as well as Barbara's luncheon. One of these years my daughter and i will have to make it to your mystery train.



Mary M.

SandyG265 said...

An author who's books I had read lives a few towns away and she came to do a talk at my town's library. It was nice because there were only about twelve of us (it was a miserable night last winter and she was surprised anyone showed up).

Barbara Khan said...

I love your idea of the mystery train! I am a travel agent and have been thinking for a few years to do some literary trips. I have gone to author signings and my book club hosted a debut author. Thanks for the chance.

spongebob2285 said...

I went to my first Barbara Vey reader luncheon to see Tonya Kappes. Her table sold out but was still able to hang with her. I go to many book events and follow every author I find out about. Tonya rocks and is so much fun 😀

cheryl prince said...

I did once but living up north as I do you don't often get authors who will come close enough for it to happen again. But it was great to meet Victoria Huston. Would love to do it again some day.

Donna Harms said...

I have been able to attend several events that you have been..and feel honored in doing so...some day I will do the train event because I know that will be so much fun! I love that you reach out to us, your fans who have become friends. Keep doing what you do Tonya! You are an amazing author and person, this world is better with you in it <3

Daniele K said...

I have not been to an event, big or small. Both are on my bucket list. The train sounds like fun. Thanks for the giveaway! dmskrug3(at)hotmail(dot)com

Letty B. said...

The Mystery Train sounds like a fun time! I have been to several author events here in my hometown. I might actually be going to one this afternoon!! This is a great giveaway! Thanks for the chance!

JenniSchell said...

The Mystery Train sounds like so much fun. I wish that we had something like that out here in Boise. What a great contest. Thanks for the chance.

Marsha Bachmeier said...

A couple years ago I was able to go to Deadwood, SD (which was a win-win for me, since visiting Deadwood was on my bucket list,) for one of Ann Charles book signing events. She had planned a scavenger hunt for everyone, which was exhausting, but a hoot. She's like you in that way. :) Hanging with her readers whenever she can. I live in ND, and there aren't many, if any, authors who plan events in that area, and unfortunately, I can't afford to travel very far to meet them. As much as I wish! I would love to go to one of your Mystery Trains... maybe one day!

Sara Brockunier said...

I have been to book signings for authors I like as well as authors who are new to me
nhsarab at yahoo dot com

Robyn K said...

Thank you for your generosity. I've never been to an author signing. :(

Anonymous said...

The train thing sounds awesome! I have attended all of Jane Porter's author events that have been here in southern California.
Terri Walsh

Kory Bull said...

No only because I never find authors signing near me. I live near Reno Nevada so you think I could find signings but I can't

Sue said...

I live in the sticks of northern Minnesota so there aren't many author events up here---but I so enjoy following my favorite authors on facebook.
suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

Kathleen Costa said...

I LOVE THIS AUTHOR! Fun reads! I followed Tonya's trip on the train, winning her award, and even learning about her happy family. It's fun to get to know these wonderful authors. kat8762@aol.com

Anonymous said...

I have never attended an author event but I would love to sometime. Thanks for the giveaway!!! Lisa hseaside5@aim.com

Barbara Hawk said...

I would love to join an author event. I have not so far as I live in a rural area and have not been able to get to any. Sounds like you had a blast! Thanks for the awesome Books you write! and the chance to win some!
angelhwk68@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

I have NEVER been to an author event but maybe someday. THANK YOU for the chance to win a wonderful prize!!

dstoutholcomb said...

I've been to several author events

Becky Pancoast said...

I have only attended one author event but got to meet alot of new authors and ones that I love ! And I went to one B&N author signing and she was the first author I ever met! I would love to go to more but always hard to do working around my husbands work schedule

petite said...

I have attended a few author events which were memorable. Lovely photos and congratulations.

traveler said...

Your train event looks wonderful. I did have an opportunity to attend an author signing.

cmitchell1998 said...

I think it's awesome that you do this!
c_mitchell1998(at)yahoo(dot)com

Janet Overstreet said...

I have been to a few events that have been fairly close to me. Loved meeting some of my favorite authors. I plan on being with you on your 2016 Mystery Train event and I have signed up to go to A Weekend With The Authors in Nashville in May 2016. In the meantime I will still try to attend any of the fairly local author events. It is so much fun meeting and talking with the authors!!!

Shelli King said...

Tonya Kappes is AWESOME!! We just love her books! nungwa@hotmail.com

Sharon Baker slpetera@yahoo.com said...

I haven't heard about any author events in my area. Would go if there was. I love a good mystery. Please keepriting them.

Nova said...

I have attended my favorite author's event in the past. i always pray that if there is an event that it is within a 2 hour drive and that it is on a weekend day, so i can go!

Sheryl Hagan-Booth said...

RL Stein that is!

MsKayLib said...

I can't wait to retire so I can attend events like these. I really wanted to get a seat on the train but can't predict what my schedule will be like.

Brooke Bumgardner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brooke Bumgardner said...

So bummed I couldn't make it to this! I have attended a Barbara Vey's luncheon before. :) brookeb811 at gmail dot com

Barbara E. said...

I've been to a few smaller book signings and had a great time, and have attended the huge author signings at RT and RWA several times. I've been able to meet many of my favorite authors and had a blast. I attended a pre signing get together with Sabrina Jeffries at the last RWA I attended in Anaheim, California with my sister. We loved meeting her and the gathering was small enough that everyone was able to interact with Sabrina, it was wonderful. I think your mystery trains sound fantastic, and if I had an opportunity to attend such an event, I'd jump at the chance. :D

Anonymous said...

I love the annual Decatur Book Festival in Decatur,GA and have enjoyed hearing and meeting some amazing authors there over the years. It would be wonderful if you
could be part of that event which is held in September and one of the largest book festivals in the U.S.

Karlene rebarger@bellsouth.net

Anonymous said...

Train trip sounds awesome..... but now you've made me wonder.... how popular is that 'snide smiling' author now???

Kate Sparks girlygirlhoosier52 at yahoo dot com

Kim Amundsen said...

Live in a small city and both Denver and Omaha are about 6 hours away so no have not attend any authors signing. But we do get to see all kinds of cool train coming through the city since North Platte in number 2 in rail cars stop overs.