J.R. Ward came into our local bookstore for a signing, yesterday evening to support the release of "Crave" the second book in her "Fallen Angels" series. Her hot selling series "The Black Dagger Brotherhood" are vampire paranormals.
I've heard a few rumors about Ward's relationship to her fans. I wanted to see who would turn up for the signing. Working weekends has always kept me from the fun stuff. I went yesterday to satisfy my curiousity, getting a signed copy was secondary.
I expected a crowd of tween-age Goths, instead there was a cross section of ages and styles of dress. People came from Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, the Carolinas and Alabama. The little store was packed, I would guess 200 people - there may have been another hundred. Waiting in line was fun for me, hubby had his fill of estrogen and retreated to the car.
Ward appeared promptly at 6pm. J.R. is a dynamic woman who knows how to work a crowd. She's twig thin, ghost pale and very tall, she wore a black dress, pearls, 3 or 4 inch heels and dark sunglasses. Now I've seen her I understand why her heroes are giants at 6' 5" to 6' 7". It's all about those extra inches.
I've read "Covet" and enjoyed it. However, her fans were immersed in the "The Black Dagger Brotherhood." The questions were all about the Brothers. Ward knows exactly what her fans want, and is expert at keeping them entertained. The signing was part theater, part Q & A, and a great time.
What I learned from this - not being on the 'inside' with all the characters - is that marketing can mix with showmanship. As with Stephen King, J.R. Ward projects an image - she is, herself, a character.
The warm, gleeful relationship Ward has with her fans is just too cool.