I used to tell people at conferences that I was like the cobbler's children who had no shoes. Because Blythe received books for review at her home in Colorado and I banned myself from reviewing for most of the years I ran AAR in order to maintain a total disconnect between editorial and sales, I bought just about all my own books, save those I reviewed for PW. Which meant that the biggest perk that goes along with owning a book website just didn't exist for me. Boo hoo.
The Internet exploded during my tenure as AAR's publisher, and included in that explosion were author contests. At AAR authors sent in hundreds of books for our weekly giveaways, but they also gifted books through other websites, and later, their blogs. While I was at AAR, I could not participate in these contests. Boo hoo.
That didn't stop me from occasionally reaping the benefits of website ownership. Jill Barnett gifted Blythe and I an entire signed set each of her backlist, Jillian Hunter sent me two hard-to-find beanie babies, and Kate Douglas included a plush wolf with the book I agreed to review when I had my first blog. Seeking out freebies when I ran AAR was unseemly, so I avoided the temptation except when in attendance at RWA conferences, when I proudly announced my book whoredom.
Now I work at a bookstore, so it's assumed I get lots and lots of free books. Not so, particularly since most of what I read outside of reviewing for PW are ebooks. Occasionally we're allowed to visit the strip pile, but far too much of my salary, even with my employee discount, ends up in the store's cash register. Boo hoo.
So I've embraced my "civilian" status over the past year and a half by entering author contests, and yesterday I won a large package from Marjorie Liu. Earlier in the year I won the Australian release (pictured here) for one of the historicals I loved from 2009, Anna Campbell's Captive of Sin, which I'd reviewed very positively for PW. Although I'd already read it and had my review copy, as well as a digital version for my Kindle, the cover art was so gorgeous for the book - and I'm not one who generally cares about covers - that I coveted it - that's right, coveted. And was thrilled when I won.
Earlier this week I noticed a tweet from @marjoriemliu about a contest on her blog celebrating her sixth anniversary as a published author, and being a fangirl for her Dirk & Steele series, entered it. Last evening she emailed to say I was one of two random winners. Here's what I won:
- Christian Kane’s new music, via iTunes, because she's a fan
- A signed arc of A WILD LIGHT, the next Hunter Kiss novel
- A signed arc of IN THE DARK OF DREAMS, the next Dirk & Steele novel
- A signed trade of DARK WOLVERINE (#75-77)
- A signed Dirk & Steele novel
- A signed Hunter Kiss novel
When Liu publicly announced the winners, she also shared that she just signed for three more books. Two are part of her Hunter Kiss series; the third is, at this point, a stand-alone. Though to this point I've only read her Dirk & Steele books, I imiagine I'll soon be trying her other series. Less likely is that I'll become a graphic novel reader, but I've learned to never say never.