Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Book Tour

Remember I told you I journal? Well, I went back to a few years ago and found this entry about a three-day "book tour" that I did. I was new at all this at the time, but found it to be a great rewarding experience. What you are reading is that week's entry verbatim. Don't laugh.

My First Three-Day Book Tour

Okay, so it wasn’t a nation-wide tour but it was nonetheless a three-day tour arranged by a big chain grocery store. Three cities in the same state. One book signing on a Thursday, one on Friday, and the last one on a Saturday.

At the first one, I was pleased to see that a nice table with a white tablecloth and a bookshelf full of my books had been set up by the time I got there. It was a good location too—right at the front entrance where grocery customers couldn’t miss me. They had to go by my table as they strolled into the store. Putting on my biggest smile, I greeted them with a friendly “Hello” as they came in pushing their grocery carts. Most smiled back. Some hurriedly escaped from my upcoming sales pitch. Children waved as their parents scooted them along probably hoping they wouldn’t linger at my table and they’d have to buy a book.

But then the real book lovers came by. Many of them teachers eager to buy my book for their classroom, paying out of their own pockets. Or parents who wanted to read the book to their children. Or grandparents who wanted the book autographed for a grandchild. Some just stopped to talk about other things besides the book. Like, "do you know where they're giving the flu shots?" One man asked, "where do I pay my electric bill?" I think he thought I was the information lady. Grocery lists in hand, others just went right by, ignoring me.

Second store: different city. Bad timing. Too early in the day. Most people were at work or at school. This time, however, the signing table looked more professional. Balloons, a big poster with a picture of my book and my photo on it, plus a nice display of my books. Even a bottle of water by my side. Again, great location by the entrance except right behind me was the bakery lady with the microphone who kept enticing the people to come buy the delicious pastries. Next to me was another vendor hawking a soup mixture giving out samples of the hot soup in little cups. Needless to say, I got a sample of the pastry and soup.

Third location: my own city. Good timing. Store bustling with customers. Very cold day. People hurrying on a Saturday to get their grocery shopping done early so they can have the rest of the day to do other things. Again, grandparents and young parents stop by. Buy books to be personally autographed. Employees from the store come by on their breaks. Admire the books. Talk to me—some about their own aspirations to be writers. The lady with the deli chicken samples comes over and we have a long conversation while she stands with her tray of tiny sandwiches and the customers pick them off the tray one by one and she hardly notices as we talk. Says to me, “I’ve been watching you from over there. You watch people closely because you’re a writer, right?” I nod yes.

Then lo and behold, some of my relatives stroll in with their baskets. They are just as surprised to see me as I am to see them. Of course, we gossip and talk for a while. They don’t buy books; they’ve already bought them at an earlier booksigning but it looks good to have a crowd around my table. Finally, my signing is over, I pack up and stroll over to the deli counter where I buy a sandwich. All the sampling of food has made me hungry. It’s different having a book signing in a grocery store. Different but wonderful.

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