Sunday, 12 April 2009

Anatomy of a Book Signing

Well, I did it.

9:00 a.m. Took a shower and tried to force my hair into some kind of order. Gave up and let it air dry.

11:00 a.m. Thought about eating but had no desire whatsoever.

12:00 p.m. Changed outfits four times. I decided to wear a sexy pair of stilleto half-boots to make myself taller (I'm 5'2").

12:45 p.m. Dropped the kids off at the mall and frantically searched through Zellers for last minute mints or Easter treats to give out. The package of chocolate eggs was ten bucks! In lieu of mints, I bought gum in case my mouth started to feel like a sewer.

1:30 p.m. Zipped over to Chapters and carried everything in one trip: Two shopping bags, purse, laptop, and box containing books, maple cookies, business cards, flyers, framed book cover, stuffed blue and white dog. It was heavy. I almost lost my grip and the blast of wind in the parking lot ruined any semblance of hair organization.

1:45 p.m. Sweating buckets from the trip across the parking lot, I unpacked everything and chatted with the manager. Signed my consignment agreement (45% goes to the bookstore!) for 16 books because my additional shipment of ten copies never arrived.

2:00 p.m. I hear a voice behind me, and it's my sister Cathy! She hangs out and chats up the customers with me. I heart my sister.

2:15 p.m. My first customer! A white-haired gentleman approached and said, "I'm here for your book."

I didn't even have to chat him up! I was so excited I handed him a book and said, "Thanks!"

He looked at me and said, "Aren't you going to sign it?"

Oops. I signed it for his daughter, and my sister took our picture.

Immediately afterward, Dawn Brown arrived. She's a member of my writers group (Romance Writers Unlimited) and she's published with my first publisher, The Wild Rose Press. It felt great hugging an online friend for real, not just with a little Smiley.

Jim, the manager, had advised me to stand in front of the table and connect with as many people as possible. I got lots of nods and smiles, and a few stopped to look over the back cover of Bad Ice. Some took flyers containing an overview and reviews, some took cards. Some asked me where the Children's Section was, or where they could find little Easter Egg cups. I happily complied.

3:00 p.m. My feet started to hurt.

3:15 p.m. A boy approached shyly and asked me the price of a book about the Montreal Canadiens. I checked the inside of the jacket and told him. Glancing up, I made eye contact with his mother and she smiled back.

Later, the boy and his mother were browsing a table behind me. I noticed the boy still had the Canadiens book in his hand, so I went up to them and told them my dad helped renovate the Montreal Forum when I was a kid.

The boy was impressed. We talked more about hockey, and I told them about the time my mom lost the autograph Maurice "Rocket" Richard gave her when I was born. I mentioned the premise of Bad Ice. The mom took the bait. She asked if it was for adults and I told her yes. She said she'd buy a book.

While I was signing it, the boy said, "Mom, don't lose that book."

I asked, "Why, because I'll be famous some day?"

He responded, "No, because when I get older, I want to read it."

3:30 p.m. My friend Trish came with her two daughters. She bought a book and insisted on a unique caption with my signature. I almost wrote something TMI regarding her recent surgery. Instead, I wrote, "Keep your stick on the ice."

Later, an elderly fellow asked if he could have one of my cookies. I told him yes, and he took three. Then he took a handful of chocolates and started eating. As milk chocolate collected around his lips, he cheerfully told me about the unmarked police car at the rear of the bookstore, stopping motorists by hiding behind a dumpster.

He didn't buy a book.

3:45 p.m. My kids walked over from the mall, laden with Easter treats they bought themselves because I had neither the time nor the inclination. I suppose I have to reimburse them.

4:00 p.m. I reluctantly started to pack up in spite of the bookstore's willingness to let me stay longer. Since it was a day sandwiched between two holidays, I had to decline since I still had errands to run before the stores closed. The time passed so quickly!

Olga, the events manager, took six books for the shelves and promised to put Signed By Author stickers on them. I thanked her for the experience and left a basket of cookies for the cashiers.

Note to self: Do NOT wear three inch heels to a book signing. I could barely walk from the car to the house.

7:00 p.m. Ordered Chinese Food and watched the last Toronto Maple Leaf game of the season. They won.


Ello said...

I just loved the story about the little boy telling his mother not to lose the book so he could read it! That must make you absolutely smile!

Awesome recap! Congrats!

McKoala said...

That's so great! I'm glad you had a good time and overcame the nerves.

jjdebenedictis said...

Yay, you! You obviously kicked butt.

This is a really valuable post; I don't think I've ever read about a young author's experience at a booksigning before (other than brief horror tales along the lines of, "It was horrible. No one came. *sob*")

It's great to hear about how it went, what worked well, what hazards you faced (the Cookie Monster), and the advice you got (standing in front of the desk--so obvious, but I wouldn't have thought of that!)

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

Jen thinks I'm young. Tee hee!

AstonWest said...

Ah, brings back lots of memories... :-)

Glad you enjoyed yourself! Now, get out there and set up some more...


writtenwyrdd said...

I'm glad it went well for you!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on a great book signing!
Anne (aka "stormie" on AW)

Wordtryst - Liane Spicer said...

Congrats on your first signing! Reading about your experience (I felt like I was there and yes, sisters are the best!) has made me less freaked at the mere thought of doing this.

BernardL said...

I'm happy you had a relatively positive experience, Sandra. It's very nice to have a familiar face stop by and boost your morale like your sister did.

moonrat said...

you go, girl.

cindy said...

loved the recap! you look fab, sandra!!!

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Great post, and congratulations on your book signing.

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

Thanks, guys! Next time, it'll be with books the publisher supplies, heh, heh...

Tony Wards said...

Exciting day! Reading experiences like this helps the rest of us starting out to keep the faith.

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

Thanks Tony! Hey, your name sounds like 'Tony Awards' LOL! Cool. Welcome to Chumpletland.