Book signing: a first-time experience
This observer had never been to an author book-signing event until last Sunday, so I had no idea what to expect. Mind you, our library contains a number of books signed by authors. But those came as a result of personal contacts with authors or the happy result of having a friend who came in direct personal contact with the author and got him or her or them to inscribe a copy.
In this case, the authors are a “them” and, as Pogo might say: “Them are us.” The author book signing was for The Grand Conspiracy by William Penn, an action-adventure novel, for which Wonder Wife and I are the co-authors. Wonder Wife is good at thinking up exciting plots and yours truly does the world processing. So, the writing of novels is a family endeavor.
Some of our friends marvel that we can co-write a novel without incurring marital strife. Listen, after wallpapering, painting and doing all the tile work on all the flat surfaces of our mountain home, we can do anything without rancor or recrimination. We can even “team-groom” the family canine-American without a single bicker. Of course, our canine-American might have a different view of the process.
The venue for the book signing was the President Lincoln Celebration held by our county’s dominant political party. Because the outline of President Lincoln is on the cover of our novel and because the novel appeals, primarily, to conservatives, the chairman of the county party invited us to offer our novel for sale and to inscribe whatever we sold.
The book signing was sponsored by The Furniture Store (Yes, that’s the name of the store because up here in rural/mountain American we are lucky to have one of anything.)
The storeowner is helping to raise funds for the building of a new Presbyterian Church and we were more than happy to donate the proceeds of the book signing to that fund.
The event had several highlights. The centerpiece of the meal was a huge hog that had been cooked on a gigantic rotisserie. That one hog provided enough pork to feed a small Army. Following the pig roast was an auction with the proceeds of that going to benefit the county political party. The auction raised over $7,300 which, for a rural county, is a lot of money.
We donated, among other things, a copy of The Grand Conspiracy to the auction and it sold for $47.50. That’s pretty good when you consider that some came over to our booth and purchased the novel for its cover price of $19.95 plus tax.
Book buyers ran the gamut from those who said: “Oh, just inscribe it anyway you wish,” to those who spent an entire half hour writing out and trying out different inscriptions before submitting them to us to inscribe.
Another highlight was the number of attendees who already owned the novel and just stopped by to tell us how much they enjoyed it. Something we didn’t realize when we wrote this novel is that, in many ways, the result is like the nine blind men who are touching an elephant in nine different places and come up with nine different descriptions.
We thought we understood the central theme of the novel. But a number of readers have seen things in the novel that we never intended. Now, we know how teachers of English literature come up with some of their ideas about what authors intend or were trying to say. Frankly, I always suspected it was more the teachers’ imagination than fact.
But the novel is about terrorism and it has already produced a positive result. The single lock securing the door to the elevator house on a major dam described in the novel has been replaced with two locks encased in a steel guard designed to defeat bolt cutters. Seeing that one security improvement makes the entire novel-writing effort worthwhile. We suspect other security enhancements will follow.
William Hamilton is a nationally syndicated columnist and a featured commentator for USA Today.
© 2001. William Hamilton.
The novel mentioned above can be seen at: www.iuniverse.com, www.amazon.com, www.bn.com and www.thegrandconspiracy.com.