Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Second Time: Book Signing Edition

Photo by Louise R. Shaw
Katherine Russell Rich said that uncertainty can give you power, but I’m pretty sure she was nuts. Sure, you need uncertainty in your life, because otherwise you’re going to spend your entire life in front of the television, but I haven’t noticed it make me any mightier. What it mostly makes me is panicked, though I’ve gotten to the point where the only obvious sign of this is eyes that grow to about three times their normal size (though, since they’re pretty small anyway, that might be a plus).
Still, when it comes to new experiences, the second time is usually easier than the first. My first book signing was last Saturday, with my second coming up this Saturday at the Barnes & Noble in Sugarhouse (if you’re in Salt Lake, come say hi!) Here are some things I’ll know this week that I wish I could have told myself last week (or maybe not – time travel is never a good idea). If you’ve had your own book signing, I’d love for your to add your own insights in the comments.

1. Breathe
A book signing isn’t nearly as nerve-wracking as I thought it would be. You’re mostly there to talk about your book and explain why it’s the greatest thing ever, a process you’ve already mastered when you were trying to get the thing published in the first place. As long as you don’t try to accost people and shove the book into their hands, you’ll be fine.

2. Think about all the people who might want to buy your book
You will be amazed (or at least I was) about the number of people who will come up and ask if your book would be good for kids/adults/romance fans/serious readers/casual readers/goldfish. Give serious thought to the answer – you don’t want to steer people wrong, but you also don’t want to leave out a potential audience. I’ve had everyone from 12-year-olds to women with their own kids say they loved “Fairy Godmothers, Inc.,” but when I was writing it I had no idea the spread would be that wide. 

3. Don’t freak out over the quiet periods
Those moments when you’re sitting alone at a table, watching everyone hurrying by to places that are clearly more interesting than you are, isn’t fun. The self-consciousness comes almost immediately, followed by the flashbacks to less pleasant moments of high school.

The key thing to remember is that these quiet periods are a natural part of any book signing, and it doesn’t mean that your book isn’t the most awesome book ever written. How many times have you hurried through a store to get where you needed to go and not even noticed anything else going on around you? That’s what happening here.

4. It’s surprisingly hard not to knock into things when you have wings sticking out of your back.
 I have so much more sympathy for Kate now.

1 comment:

  1. thanks jenniffer! these are great pointers. i only hope i remember them when i need them the most :)