- by Chris Marie Green
Ah, book signings. Some we love, some we… Well, some we don’t love all that much unless we enjoy sitting by ourselves behind a table, trying to smile at people while occasionally being asked where the restroom is located.
I recently attended a different sort of signing, and it turned out to be one of the awesome ones, but not for a reason I expected. It was a local authors day at my library, and it consisted of two shifts of twenty authors each. I was part of the second session, and we were all assigned tables that we shared with one other writer. I didn’t really anticipate selling any books there, but I thought I might be able to chat with prospective readers while handing out bookmarks in the hope that they might remember me the next time they felt like buying a novel in a bookstore.
Generally, no matter what happens at a signing, I always come away with something valuable, whether it’s knowing that I won over a couple of new readers or discovering where that restroom is located. But, at this particular event, I had the honor of meeting someone I probably would’ve never chatted with in “real” life. See, I’m a bit shy, believe it or not, but when I’m doing promotion, I turn on “the entertainer.” I don’t know where she comes from, but I think she’s borne out of necessity and nervous energy.
At any rate, I was seated next to an elderly African-American man who’d just gotten his first book published–an autobiography. He told me it would probably be the only book he ever wrote.
His name is Dr. Bob Bailey, and as we got deeper into a discussion, I realized that I’d had a stroke of luck in the seating arrangements that day. Bailey is a community organizer who’s been active in education and civil activity for most of his life. Not only that, he was an opening singing act for the famous Moulin Rouge in Las Vegas.
Some of you might have seen a story about the Moulin Rouge on CSI a few months ago, so you’d know that it was Vegas’ first integrated casino. Bailey has worked with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong, and he even met his wife, Anna, there because she was one of the dancers.
Of course, I had to buy his book, LOOKING UP! FINDING MY VOICE IN LAS VEGAS, and I look forward to reading it. He was nice enough to pretend to want to read one of my vampire books, too, bless him. Now, I have to tell you that I’d just turned in a big project, and I was drained, but I came out of this experience feeling so privileged to be a writer and to have the opportunity to encounter people like Dr. Bailey and Anna in this profession. There are so very many perks to this job–the places we go, the people we meet, the lovely fact that I get to work in my pajamas when I’m not in public. This signing was just one of those times that reminded me of how fortunate I am to have this job, and I think I need to be reminded of that when the deadlines loom and I’m in “my cave,” shutting out a lot of these realizations.
Yeah, it was a good kind of signing–and I even sold books.
(Hey, you all, tune in tomorrow when my editor, Susan Litman from Silhouette Books, posts answers to her interview!)