Now THAT was a book signing

It seems I’m running a day behind this week. Yesterday I posted about something I did on Tuesday; today I’m posting about what I did yesterday. Will I post about what I did today tomorrow? Not likely…in fact, I probably won’t post again until I finish my revision of The Truth About Truman (or whatever the new title is going to be!). My editor reads this blog, and if I’m not done with that revision next week, I’m going to have a hard time convincing her that I have spent every waking moment slaving over my manuscript and therefore am deserving of a little more time if she continues to see new blog entries almost every day.

So, anyway…what happened yesterday? I had a FABULOUS book signing at the North Liberty Public Library! They did a book signing/reading/visit with the fire fighters/climb on a fire truck sort of event to promote my F is for Fire Fighting. And wow! Does that library ever know how to bring in people! There were somewhere between 80 and 100 people there (the children’s librarian stopped counting at 80). They didn’t even all fit in the room…some people were stuck out in the hallway. And I only knew two of the people there (except for the library people). One was a friend of mine who came for moral support (she was one of the people stuck out in the hallway) and the other was Junior High Kid’s first grade teacher! Everyone else was a legitimate attendee (and Junior High Kid’s first grade teacher may have been a legitimate attendee, too), which means they came for the event rather than because they were friends of mine who felt like they had to come.

If anything, there were almost too many people there. The people in the back couldn’t see (I’m not even sure the people in the MIDDLE could see!). Whenever I’m out in public with this book, I like to let the kids find the hidden fire dogs on each page, but it was so crowded that there were only about twelve kids who could see well enough to do that. I’m sure it got pretty boring for everyone else to watch a few kids find the dog on 26 different pages.

But having those fire fighters there really added to the program. I couldn’t believe four of them came! The children’s librarian expected two. They brought their turnout gear and once I was done reading, they showed the kids how they put everything on. They put on air tanks and face masks, too, and then they showed how they sound like Darth Vader when they have their masks on. They had a brand new fire truck outside, too (one that hadn’t ever been on a fire) and they even let the kids go on it.

Who wouldn’t want to come to an event like this?

I definitely learned something from this…first, schedule ALL my future book signings at the North Liberty Public Library rather than at a book store. 🙂 Seriously…the most important thing I learned was it’s way better to schedule an “event” rather than just a plain old reading and book signing. This particular book lends itself well to events, but if I give it some thought, I’m sure I can come up with events to center around future books, too. (I’ve already got some ideas for things I can do when The Truth About Truman comes out…)

I wouldn’t say I sold a ton of books, but I certainly sold more than I did at my Prairie Lights signing a few weeks ago. And I got to talk to a lot of people. The North Liberty fire department is now familiar with my book, and we talked about doing some joint activities in the fall. They want to bring some of the gadgets I talk about in the book, like the Jaws of Life or the thermal imaging camera, which would be really cool.

This event went so well that I came home and immediately e-mailed three other area libraries about doing similar sorts of events (Wow! Look at me get out there and promote myself! This is a new experience for me.). I’ve already heard back from two of the three. In fact, one has already scheduled an event. A second would like to schedule an event. And well, I haven’t heard from the third yet, but whether they schedule something or not, at least I’m making an effort to promote myself.

I’ve got another book signing in Cedar Rapids on Friday. I’ll be signing books at Barnes & Noble’s summer reading program kick-off. I did this last year, too. This was a great event – I did it with a friend of mine (which made it even more fun), and Barnes & Noble brought in kids from several different organizations and gave them copies of our books. So we automatically had people lined up at our table. Then they also made us part of a store scavenger hunt, which gave people a reason to come and talk to us. There were a lot of other things going on in the store at the same time, too. In other words, it was another “event,” rather than just a reading/signing.

Other than that book signing, I will be doing nothing but writing for the next week. Honest.


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