As an introvert, I don’t know if there are any two scarier words than “book signing.”
Up until a few weeks ago, I hadn’t planned on doing any because being in the spotlight isn’t really my cup of tea. But then a fellow writer invited me to a group signing. Even though my insides were a quivering mess at the mere thought of this, I heard myself saying, “Sure, I’d love to.”
The next day, she emailed me the particulars, including the yikes-inducing information that I’d have to introduce myself, read a scene from my book, and answer questions from the audience. Oh. My. God. Anything off the cuff (like answering questions from an audience) is enough to make me sick to my stomach.
In the days leading up to the signing, people kept saying, “You must be so excited for Saturday.” I’d smile and nod my head, while inside I was kind of hoping I was coming down with the sickness that was making its way around my place of work.
In order for me to be the most comfortable, I needed to be well prepared. I tried on the clothes I planned to wear well in advance, making sure they were clean and free of dog hair and dog slime. I wrote down a brief statement what my book was about, because my biggest fear was if someone asked me that, I’d go brain dead and say something like, “Uh, well…um, it’s about a guy and a girl, and um…duh.” I highlighted and bookmarked the scene I would read, and tried to figure out what questions I might be asked and what my answers would be.
The day of the signing, I got all my stuff together early in the day: my books, my bookmarks, the bags of chocolates and the pretty little bowl to hold the candy. I left early enough to stop at the store to buy flowers for the bookstore owner (I don’t know if that’s customary, but I figured it was the least I could do and it certainly wouldn’t hurt anything). I allowed myself enough time to get lost. Just in case. And I had the bookstore’s phone number handy, too…just in case.
Once I got there and introduced myself to the owner, my nerves disappeared. The store had set up some tables with hot cider and cake, and tables for the five authors who would be signing. I immediately saw that my space was empty. The owner said my books hadn’t arrived yet. But I was prepared and had brought 10 copies of my own. Just in case. The other authors arrived and they couldn’t have been more welcoming and sweet (Shelli Stevens, Anthea Lawson, Deborah Schneider and Megan Chance).
One of my friends was the first to arrive and she bought four of my books. Cool! It turned out we didn’t do a Q&A and I didn’t have to talk at all, except to the people who approached my table. One on one I can do. No problemo.
Turnout was pretty good and I sold all my books. The best part was all the support I received from family and friends, and getting to know my fellow authors a little better.
This was stepping out of my comfort zone big time, but I did it. And I actually had a good time. I might even plan another signing…without a Q&A, of course.
Funny how things are rarely as bad as we imagine them to be. What about you? When was the last time your reality trumped your fears?