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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Lessons Learned Through Travel

It was the trip of a lifetime, the stuff dreams are made of:  My own romantic hero and I were off to visit the land of our heritage, the island that spawned most of our ancestors. For me that included Henry Gale, my model for James Martin in EASTWARD TO ZION, the new Covenant release out this month.We were going to Britain!

We scheduled a bus tour, one of those not-quite-whirlwind adventures with a bus full of strangers. The itinerary included almost all the sites we most wanted to see with a swing up the left side of the map, a turn in the Scottish Highlands, and a return down the map's right side. To counter the rigid schedule of the tour, we chose to spend a few extra days in London before the tour began and an additional week at the end, branching out to see intriguing sites the bus had missed. The combination seemed ideal.

And it was--or very nearly so. 51 of us from the U.S., Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and elsewhere boarded a brand new tour bus as strangers, but soon bonded as a group with common in jokes, shared admiration for our guide, Allen, and loud appreciation for our amazing driver, David, who took that vehicular monster down roads I'd have been hesitant to challenge with a Mini-Cooper. The experience was amazing.

It was also beautiful, fascinating, and highly educational, yet not all of the lessons were fun.

We had carefully planned our schedule so we'd have time to attend the births (or at least the hospital beds) of grandbabies Joshua (April 25) and Evelyn or "Evie" (May 1). We also scheduled around problems with my husband's work and mine--or so we thought.

I had promised readers a Memorial Day sale on at least one of my books, so I planned for THE MCALLISTER MEN, which includes the first three books in the Rainbow Rock Romances, to go on sale from May 23-26. I'd be out of town then, but I had Janice to tweet it for me, Alisa to post it on other social media, and Sharon to make sure the sale showed on all available platforms. Everything would be great! With that in mind, I organized the tweets Janice would send and bought numerous ads to share the news.

The sale never happened. Call it a failure to communicate. The ads came out, the tweets appeared, but the book never went on sale. I learned about it when I got a message while checking email from a hotel room in northern England. Panicky, I dashed off an email to Sharon only to receive an "out of office" message. Her office was closed for the long weekend. There was nothing I could do from where I was, so I watched the plans go up in smoke while ads came out proclaiming my sale and the retail platforms called me a liar. Oops.

The lesson I learned was simple enough: If you want something done right, do it yourself--or at least be close enough to fix it when it goes wrong. Sharon explained the misunderstanding and we're good, but I have yet to make things right with disappointed readers. So I'm now planning a more comprehensive offer and here it is:

SALE PERIOD:  July 1-7
ITEMS ON SALE:  THE MCALLISTER MEN trilogy, the first 3 books in the Rainbow Rock series, $1.99 (reg. $4.99).
                            A LITTLE NIGHT RAINBOW, book 4, 99 cents (reg. $2.99)
                            A RAINBOW IN PARADISE, book 5, 99 cents (reg. $2.99)
                            THE TROUBLE WITH RAINBOWS, book 6, 99 cents (reg. $2.99)
                            RETURN TO RAINBOW ROCK, book 7, 99 cents (reg. $2.99)
                            DANNY'S GIRL, book 8, 99 cents (reg. $2.99)

If you're counting, that's the whole series of Rainbow Rock Romances, all on sale July 1-7. I hope that makes up for the big build-up followed by disappointment. Thanks, folks! And stay tuned for more about Britain. Cheers!

Susan Aylworth is the author of 13 published novels. Her lucky 13th, EASTWARD TO ZION, is available now from Covenant Communications. Mother to seven, she is also "gramma" to 23. She lives with Roger, her husband of 44 years, and the two spoiled cats she serves in northern California. She loves to hear from readers. Contact her at or @SusanAylworth. You can also follow her on Pinterest and Instagram.