I'm finding out that book signings, which I dreaded after publishing "The Leather Man," can be some of the most pleasant moments in an author's journey. Yesterday's, my second overall and first in a Barnes & Noble store, was a good example.
The first person at the table _ set up just inside the entrance off the Grand Teton Mall promenade _ was a lady who wanted to buy a copy for her husband. He had been a star athlete at American Falls (Idaho) High School decades earlier, when I was a newly minted prep-sports reporter for the Idaho State Journal in Pocatello. She said he'd kept a clipping of every story that mentioned him and wanted to read the book as soon as he heard about it, but they'd missed an earlier signing in Pocatello. Her visit put me in good mood that lasted the rest of the night. Friends kept stopping by, including a couple whose house is next to mine. I was so surprised I nearly apologized for having to sell them the book.
Everything about the process of becoming a novelist, from trying to write a prologue that invites readers to keep going; to keeping track of themes developed early that need to be repeated later; to choosing the right ending; to query letters and looking for an agent has been a learning experience for me. But, in the end, it all seemed to come naturally until I got to marketing. As I indicated in my first post, just starting a blog was an unfamiliar experience, but nothing to rival the feeling of sitting face-to-face across from people and having to ask them to spend mortgage, food, furniture or education money on a product of my imagination _ made tangible only because it now comes with pages and a beautiful cover.
After two signings, however, I'm looking forward to many more. The experiences have been nothing but positive: Will Peterson of the Walrus & Carpenter bookstore in Pocatello and the staff at the Idaho Falls Barnes & Noble made me feel at home from the start.
Still, I think a signing at the Twin Falls Barnes & Noble on Sept. 13 will top everything. After all, the city nestles on the south rim of the spectacular Snake River Canyon, with 212-foot high Shoshone Falls, the nation's most massive unshared waterfall (most of Niagara Falls' water drops on the Canadian side) lurking a few miles east. Shoshone Falls also graces the backdrop of this blog, along with the front and back covers of "The Leather Man." I'll find it inexplicable if the upcoming signing doesn't attract a lot of visitors.