Monday, February 10, 2014

A Warm Winter's Afternoon

I had my first book signing for Casting the First Stone yesterday. Despite the snow, friends and family
Photo courtesy of Starbucks Facebook page
trekked to one of my favorite places (Starbucks) to get a copy of the book signed, enjoy some beverages and spend some time chatting.

Like every party, it had ebbs and flows, traffic-wise, leaving me with the feeling that I had spent just the right amount of time with some friends and not enough with others. But overall, I can't think of a better way to have spent a snowy Sunday afternoon.

Sure, I was the center of attention (something I admittedly enjoy from time to time), but that wasn't what made it special. I decided early on that if I was going to be the primary promoter of this book (a job every author must take on, willingly or otherwise), that having fun was going to be as big a part of the plan as selling books - and sometimes, it would be bigger.

Getting a small press book by an unknown author into a big box bookstore has become more challenging. Decisions that used to be in the hands of local store managers are now in the hands of corporate buyers, making out-of-the box promotion essential.

Still, I decided early on that if I was going to get on the promo treadmill, I was going to do it my way (no surprise to those who know me). Venues - especially the early ones - would mean something to me. The Starbucks where I wrote nearly every weekend. The library we'd gone to since my daughter was a toddler.

I don't know what future events will bring - or how many there will be - but I do know that yesterday's event left me feeling grateful. Grateful to the manager who said, "Sure, that sounds like a great idea!" Grateful to the baristas who took good care of us. Grateful to the sales clerk at Chico's (next door to the signing) who agreed to set out some post cards on her counter. Grateful I had chosen a place that felt like my home away from home.

But mostly, I was grateful to those who came. To family and friends, many of whom I've known for 20 years or more. Theatre friends, teacher friends, church friends - different people who together, create a beautiful, diverse mosaic of invaluable friendship.

Putting a book out into the world is a wonderful, terrifying thing. Launching it among friends is a blessing.

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