Seekerville: The Journey Continues | category: Celebrating readers


Seekerville: The Journey Continues

One Thing That Works For Me with guest Roseanna M. White: Surprise and Delight


One Thing That Works For Me with guest Roseanna M. White: Surprise and Delight

Good Monday morning, Seekerville! I (Carrie) am here to introduce today's guest for this month's 'One Thing That Works For Me' series. Please join me in welcoming author Roseanna M. White as she shares about 'surprise and delight'!

For the last several years, my husband has been fine-tuning a marketing approach that he learned via Rob Hardy called “Identity Marketing.” It was originally created for filmmakers but was oh-so-easily adapted to the book world that he invested quite a bit of time into writing out those adaptations…and of course, sharing them with me, mwa ha ha ha. The whole system is amazing and works super well with the outlook I’ve always tried to have—that it’s not about selling, it’s about serving. And one of the tenets of this system that I especially latched onto was the principle of “Surprise and Delight.”

What is it? Very simple—whenever you can, come up with something that will surprise (in a good way, of course!) your readers. We all love plot twists in stories, right? Well, one of our goals should be delivering little twists in our marketing too. Things that our readers don’t expect, and which put big smiles on their faces.

Great in theory…but what about in practice? How do we actually come up with these things? I have a whole list of things I’ve done and tried, and many have worked quite well. But today I want to tell you about my absolute favorite.

So around two years ago, when we were just beginning to test this system, I had the idea for an online Tea Party Book Club. Now, this was before the world went virtual thanks to The Pandemic That Shall Not Be Named. The inspiration came in May of 2018; I had a book coming out…I went to a tea with the ladies from my church at a local tea house…and my husband had been running some virtual events via online meeting tech similar to Zoom. All these things swirled together in my mind and made me say, “Hey! Why couldn’t we do a tea party online?? I could put together packages, mail them out, and then get together with readers to chat about the book and have tea and treats together!”

I quickly became OBSESSED with this idea. (This is pretty typical of me, LOL.) I priced bulk tea. I priced pretty vintage teacups. Spoons. Sugar cubes. Individually wrapped treats. Candy. Mints. I weighed and priced postage. I considered how much I pay for this sort of thing at the local tea house. I came up with a package price and built it out on my website. And then… then… I presented it to my readers.

Would they love it too? Hate it? Not want to pay for that sort of thing? I didn’t know—all I knew was that I found the idea delightful, LOL, even though it would be a ton of work on my part.

I didn’t have to wait long to find out how my readers would receive it. Within a few days of announcing the idea, I had people filling the parties, ordering “starter kits” that involve tea pots and vintage cups and spoons, a lady from my church volunteered to make tea cozies for me, and I even had some people so excited that they signed up for all the extras and then realized an hour later that, oops, they were out of town that day or already had a tea set they could use.

But this was my answer—this idea, unheard of at the time, sounded so fun that my reader friends JUMPED to be a part of it. Where else did they get an hour with other fans of the book and the author and receive a hand-selected package of goodies to go along with it?

Now, granted, in the last year and a half everything has gone online, and we’re beginning to see a lot more things like this. But I’m thrilled to be able to say that I’ve been at it for over two years, that kinks have been worked out, processes have been streamlined…and that the seats keep filling up.

Best of all, relationships have been developed. I have regular attendees, and they greet each other like friends when they see a familiar face come back for this month or that month. Readers have become friends. And the conversations have been AMAZING.

Will I do these tea parties forever? Who knows. But I’m having a blast doing them now—especially because my readers are too. It’s just one thing in the many that I do to try to reach out to them, but it’s been a total success. It’s one way to Surprise and Delight them…and seeing how well it’s worked, it’s an inspiration to keep coming up with new ways to do just that in the future.


One Thing That Works For Me with guest Roseanna M. White: Surprise and Delight

Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing for WhiteFire Publishing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. 

You can learn more about her and her stories at


Roseanna is offering a $15 credit in her online store to one commenter!

One Thing That Works For Me with guest Roseanna M. White: Surprise and Delight

Authors, what questions do you have for Roseanna about her tea parties or her 'surprise and delight' strategy?
Readers, what are some ways other authors have 'surprise and delight'-ed you? 


Let's Hear from Our Readers

 Good morning, Seekerville.  

As I started to type that, I couldn't help it. My brain burst out with this.

We really are our own wonderful neighborhood here. 

So today I was hoping we could grab a mug of coffee or tea, maybe share some donuts, and just hang out and chat about reading. 

I have a couple of reasons why I've chosen to do this post today.

1) Criminal Minds  - I will come back to this.

2) Pandemic Reading

3) A question from a workshop I attended.

I'm going to do these backwards because #3 is the most recent. In a workshop I attended, we were asked to write about things we enjoyed from our childhood. Honestly, the first thing I came up with - and the only one I didn't have to think hard about - was READ.

There were other questions, but my first answer to all of them was either a book title or READ.

I've always known reading was a major factor in my life and development, but answering these questions just emphasized for me how dominant a role books and reading have played throughout my life.

Which brings me to #2 - pandemic reading. 

This has been a mixed bag. There have been books that have totally consumed me for days at a time, and then there have been dozens that (through no fault of their own) couldn't wrangle my skittish attention span. But the ones that did capture me - oh they reminded me of why I love books so much. They allowed me to step out of a pandemic-ridden world into a place of magic.

I guess my daughter knew what she was doing when she gave me this mug for Christmas.

So that brings me to Point #1 - Criminal Minds.

I've spent a lot of days this summer with day-long marathons of Criminal Minds playing in the background as I wrote my next suspense novel. I have sort of a love-hate relationship with this show. Years ago, when it was running, I couldn't watch it because frankly I found it terrifying. But I happened to stumble upon the final episode when it aired back in February, and I was captivated by the personal relationships between the characters and the very believable camaraderie.

I discovered my cable station running marathons, and I learned that I could skip the first five minutes with the bloody criminal introduction, and just focus on the profilers - their relationships and their methodology for solving the crimes. Sure I still had to cover my eyes from time to time, but I found myself feeling like I was hanging out with a group of friends.

{For anyone who may not know, Criminal Minds follows the BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit) of the FBI as they profile unsubs and solve crimes - usually serial killers and always gory. I cover my eyes A LOT.}

Jan and Mary may never forgive me for this comparison, but it reminded me of how I used to feel as a child when I hung out with The Happy Hollisters in their books - me with a group of fictional friends. Hopefully that doesn't sound as pathetic as it sounded to me when I wrote it. 😍

So now, in my roundabout way, I've gotten to the point of this post. Because of my fascination with the characters of Criminal Minds, I read an article about it called "Criminal Minds is ending after 15 years - here's why we're OK with that." There were a lot of of interesting points raised in the article, (and some I disagreed with), but the gist of it was that the world is very different now than it was in 2005 when the show premiered, and that audience tastes have changed. Themes that were popular back then, are not tolerated now. That article really stuck in my head, and I've thought of it often when people talk about likes and dislikes with books or shows.

THAT is what I wanted to talk about today. Have your tastes as readers/viewers changed over the years? If so, is there anything you enjoyed in the past that you wouldn't want to read now? Or vice-versa. Are there topics, themes, locations that you never were interested in before but now want?

And the followup question - what stories would you like to read that you are just not seeing out there?

I know we're talking about books here, but feel free to extend the discussion to your taste in film or TV shows as well.

And if you'd like to talk about your pandemic reading or childhood pleasures, please do. Were books important to you when you were growing up? What role does reading play in your life now?

Let's chat. I'll bring the coffee and donuts.

Image by Skyler H. from Pixabay 

Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay 

One Thing That Works For Me with guest Roseanna M. White: Surprise and DelightLet's Hear from Our Readers

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