Saturday, March 25, 2006

Crossing the Continental Divide

It was a lot harder for Lewis and Clark. All I do is jump in my car and drive over the mountains. I'll be doing that tomorrow for a booksigning at the Hastings in Great Falls, Montana. It's not always an easy drive--the pass is often icy and there's always the possiblity of running into a deer. But the 3 hour drive is the simple part.

The hard part for me is appearing in public. First, my usual writer uniform--sweat pants--is not considered appropriate. I'll have to find something decent to wear. Once I'm in the store, the challenge really begins. Like most writers I am shy. I like people, but I'd rather be able to edit, delete and re-word what I say. I can't rely on my mouth and tongue to come up with words spontaneously. Not with strangers around. But there is no point driving 3 hours each way to sit and read a book (I have seen authors doing just that at signings).

So I have my tools. Bookmarks to hand out. A prize to give away and plenty of chocolate. These are my ice breakers. They give me something to say and something to hold so that I can fight that urge to duck under the table when someone looks my way. A little coffee for courage helps too. Fortunately this Hastings has a nice cafe.

If I'm lucky, I'll meet someone nice readers. Very likely I'll meet others who will not be interested in my books. And there always seem to be one or two who want to rant about the amount of sex in books these days. That's okay. They still get a bookmark, a chocolate and a smile. Yes. It's the life of a famous author.

Monday morning I'll be back in my real life. And my sweats.


Colleen Thompson said...

Good luck with your signing, Teresa - and be careful driving!

It sounds as if you have the right idea. I've found that being open, friendly, and approachable works sells a lot more books than being either withdrawn or aggressive. But a lot of booksigning success is about luck. Readers have different tastes, and it certainly helps to have some walk in with a yen for what you're selling.

If you keep a positive attitude and foster a relationship with the bookstore staff, I think you can call the day a success regardless of the number of books sold.

Jan said...

Chocolate is a great ice breaker--need to remember that when I do my first signing next year. :) It's been years since I was in Great Falls--I drove in from the south via White Sulpher Springs. Beautiful country! If it was possible, I'd drop by the signing. Good luck! Oh, I'm reading MHHABC anthol and I'm loving your novella!

Teresa Bodwell said...

Thanks, Jan. I'm glad you're enjoying the story.

It is beautiful country--I love that drive. The roads were good on the way there, but the way home was a bit scary. There were deer everywhere! Then during the second half it was dark and raining really hard. But we made it safely.

The signing was very quiet. But I did meet some nice people including one who told me she had read both of my novels and loved them. That pretty much made my day!

Jan said...

We have to watch the deer too--they dart out into the roads at any time. I'm glad you met some nice folks at the signing. :)