Smart Chicks Kick It: Report From Austin

YA author Melissa Marr reports back from the first night of the Smart Chicks Kick It Tour. The giant author tour kicked off in Austin, TX with over 450 YA fans in attendance. Now get Marr's take on the event, check out pictures and find out where the tour is headed next!

To say that the Smart Chicks tour has been wonderful so far would be VERY much an understatement. It’s already so much better than my highest expectations.

When I first suggested this idea to Holly Black and Jennifer Lynn Barnes in May 2009 . . . and then to Kelley Armstrong . . . and Cassandra Clare . . . and Alyson Noel in July . . . and then a dozen MORE authors in August, I had cautiously optimistic hopes.  Here was a chance to travel with writers whose books I enjoyed (and whose conversations I enjoy!) AND meet readers at stores we knew hosted great events. Of course, with so many moving parts, there was room for a lot to go wrong.

In the past year, Kelley and I have spent absurd numbers of hours getting this pulled together. Authors volunteered; stores and libraries were brilliant; and readers seemed excited. There were snags, headaches and a few more cuss words than I maybe should admit, but the first night proved that it was all worthwhile.

For those who weren’t there, here is the recap of Day 1 Smart Chicks tour. (I’ll omit the blurry meals, but if you want to watch those too, follow us on Twitter—group feed or individual feeds—we’re tweeting madly.)

The crowd was insane. More than 450 people came out to say hello, and the authors there were fabulous and funny and altogether perfect. 

We gave away some swag . . . 

Despite the lack of the tee-shirt launcher, we did find homes for our tees.

And we had moments where it felt just as relaxed as it does when we have lunch together.

We also gave away a monster prize basket with ALL 19 authors’ books and some assorted swag.

I gave away the FIRST advanced copy of the final book in the Wicked Lovely series
to some enthusiastic readers.

Readers came with shirts they designed—and we signed them.

They also printed the downloadable fliers we made and we signed those . . .

. . . and books . . . 

. . . and MORE books . . .

. . . and shirts readers bought on the Smart Chicks café press store.

And as we signed, we chatted with readers.

After several hours of signing, the very patient
(albeit exhausted) booksellers and authors called it a night . . .

The authors grabbed a quick dinner with some readers . . . and then some of us headed on to Houston where we met up with more authors to do it all again.

I am awed to think that a haphazard idea of a tour to celebrate strong women in fiction evolved into this amazing trip. Thank you to all of the authors, readers, booksellers and librarians who are making this happen.

Hope to see more of you out here on the road!

With much love,
- Melissa Marr

Want to know more about the tour? Check out the Smart Chicks Kick It Tour website to find out who else will be appearing on tour and where they will be from now until September 25th. Tomorrow the tour heads to The Refuge (13150 Memorial Drive) in Houston, Texas. You can follow all the tour action over at their website and check back next week for the next author report from the road.

In the meantime, we are pleased to announce that the winners of our Smart Chicks Kick It Giveaway are ... Autumn E., Jennifer L. and Juanita G.!

Don't miss the many other ways RT is celebrating YA this month >>