Monday, February 25, 2008

The Best Thing About Book Signings

I don't make a big secret of the fact that I don't love book signings. I have a pathological fear of being rejected. That's a very old wound, and I often wonder when it will ever heal. It crops up at the darndest times, like when I am preparing for a signing.

I think I'll sit there alone with a stack of books nobody wants because nobody wants to see me. I know. It's a little silly. Maybe a lot silly, but I ache with anxiety every single time.

But I can't say my signings haven't been a blessing. A sold books, and connected with readers. I think the best thing about book signings however, is the grace that God gives you just because He loves you so much.

I prayed that somebody--anybody!--would come. God answered my prayer. When I arrived at the Big Noble, to find a big poster of me on the window--horrifying--they'd set up chairs for me to do a reading. It was a little early and no one was sitting there, so I hung my coat over the chair and hoped that somebody would come in to sit in that chair.

A woman I met, of all places, on Shelfari was the first to arrive. Then came my spiritual director and her mom. My friend's mothers oddly love me. And I love them RIGHT BACK! Next was my bff and partner on the spiritual journey, my fabulous artist/mystic friend Gina. She had flowers. That's the kind of God chick she is. My neighbors came, and my babies. A lot of people I loved. That gave me plenty of confidence to read in a freakin' major book store!

So, I told a few stories, and read. I LOVE to read aloud. I do it to my friends and my real life sister Carly all the time. This would be a first at a signing for me, but honestly, it made all the difference. The audience laughed in all the right places, and when I was done said I should do the audio version. In my dreams, lovies. Truthfully, if you've ever met me face to face, I'm a big ham when you get me telling stories. My friend Terry is notorious for getting me started in a crowd. And speaking of crowd, lots of people in the store had gathered round. Apparently I make quite a spectacle of myself. I got to be Bell for real. We had a blast!

Anyway, after I read two chapters I told a few more stories and mid-sentence I stopped. I looked up and my bestest friend, Evette was in standing in back of the crowd. Evette lives in South Bend, Indiana. She never let on that she was coming. In fact, that goof made me think the opposite. It was one of the best surprises I've ever had. So this was one grace-filled evening, full of love, laughter, new connections, and dare I say friendships. God was good to me.

The publicist called the store the following day and they said they loved having me. A few employees bought books, too!

And here's my big cheap thrill. MY BOOK WAS ON THE SHELF AT THE BIG NOBLE!!!!!!!!

Lovies, it's been a long time since I've seen Murder, Mayhem, and a Fine Man on the shelves. it was a journey, full of twists and dark alleys, but I emerged on the other side and am happy to say Bell Brown lives!

When my book was canceled in 2006, what I grieved most is that I thought I left my great-grandmother down, who I'd named Amanda Bell Brown the character after. But like Maya Angelou said, "Like dust we rise."

Look at this, lovies! Right there above the Ted Dekker BLOCKBUSTERS! God is so kind.

And look at this. It's even better! So many people I love are in this piccha. Can you see how happy I am? Can you see that fine man, standing behind me. That's my "Jazz". He makes so much of what I do easy on me.

Thanks for thinking of this ragamuffin, lovies. You all are the best.



Anonymous said...

Bestest Friend,
It was my absolute pleasure and delight to be there. Actually where else would I be? I am always there with you in my heart. I am so proud of who you are. I am so blessed to have a friend like you. I am so thankful that you have the courage to rise and up and follow the dream that God has given you. You are an inspiration. I love you.

Mary DeMuth said...

I resonated with your rejection comment. I'm so there, so freaked about rejection. Go figure that God has called me into rejection-ville as an author! Perhaps He is honing us both.

That's a terrific result for your booksigning. I'm so thankful. Sometimes this publishing road is rocky and we need a little respite (like the PW review and a great signing) to keep us at the path.

paula clare said...

Dear Sistuh,
CONGRATS and woohoo! I am SO THRILLED to see your books on the shelves of the big "N"!

I prayed for you the whole time you were in Africa...I hope you journaled the experience as well as lived it? I expect once you are able to process the emotion of it all, it will end up in a book...or a photo journal. Or something?!

Meanwhile, WOW! WE are glad to have you home!

sr Paula Clare

Dany said...

I KNEW it would be a great night for you...And, again you have me in tears here at my desk.
So blessed to know you - LOVE You!

Alison Strobel Morrow said...

Oh Mair, I am so happy to hear it was such an amazing night for you! Signings freak me out too. Heck, they freak my dad out, and if he gets freaked with the size of his following then I think we're justified. :) But God is always good, isn't he? :) What an amazing night for you--and you totally should do the audio! I'm not the greatest out-loud reader, but I love when authors do their own audio. I would love to hear you read it--so wish I could have been there!

Elysa said...

Thank you for sharing all the fun and grace-filled details. I just love all those details.

Can't wait to see your book on MY local bookstore's shelf!:D

Robin (PENSIEVE) said...

Something about this day was redemptive; I was reminded of Joel 2:25.

Everything you shared here made me smile from the inside out...those are the best kinds :).

nedra smith said...

Mair, my heart is full of joy for you. I didn't know before I came to blog land that I could feel such great love for people I might not get to meet in this lifetime.

I'm so glad that love showed up to replace the fear. Blessings today and forever!

wilsonian said...

Of course you were fabulous.
You're just fabulous.


Joni said...

And I'm still just so jealous that I couldn't be there, too!

How incredible to see your work sitting on the shelf...ready and waiting to be bought up quickly!


Caldonia Sun said...

Sounds like you had a fabulous time! What a blessing God has bestowed on you through the use of your talent and obedience.

Many years!

Tracey Michae'l Lewis said...


Honestly, you don't know how much you have blessed me with this entry. As a writer, I so identify with the fear of rejection at booksignings. As a matter of fact, I would rather sit behind the computer than have to face the people I believe are my critics. But God is merciful and there is always a blessing on the other side of a signing experience whether there is one person (I've been there) or forty (been there, too.) What touched me most was the last portion of the blog... I recently had a book canceled and I don't think a knife stab to the gut could have felt worse. Thank you for sharing your journey! I pray that mine ends up as well as yours. I see the God in you, girl. You're awesome!

Tracey Michae'l Lewis

lisa said...

Yay!!! What a great night you had. I'm so happy for you!!!

Melissa said...

I love your book....thank you for encouraging me to just do the thang. I, too, worry (constantly) about rejection and as a result have shelved so many unfinished novels, short stories,..... whatevers. But thanks to you, Marilynn G., Mary Demuth, Lisa Samson I have been enCOURAGED to step out on faith and really let God hone this gift He has given me. Be Blessed, Mair...

Melissa (abba's chile)

upwords said...

Oooh! I love the piccha. Tell the babies (and the real Jazz they looking good!)Is that Ken's mom in the front? She looks like him. I'm digging the blog pic and vibe as well.

RhondaN said...

Wonderful Claudia. I can only imagine that fear of not having people show up. My book doesn't come out until end of 2009 and I already feel the anxiety of passerbys passing by.
I love the new cover. Great pictures. Can't wait for book two.
Many Blessings,

Esther said...

Oh, I'm so glad it went well!

PS My middle name is Belle. :)