Monday, July 6, 2009

Best Book Signing Ever!

Dear Friends:

I had the best book signing ever on July 3rd at Hill Country Bookstore in Georgetown. I've been doing book signings for many years now, so I have plenty of experiences for comparison! Let me tell you about why it was the best book signing ever . . .

First of all, the signing took place in the most darling bookstore you'd ever want to step inside. The bookstore in the movie "You've Got Mail" reminds me of this bookstore. But the one in "You've Got Mail" was in a big city. Hill Country Bookstore looks like it belongs in Mayberry, RFD, not a big city. :-) It's on the square in downtown Georgetown. Here are a couple of photos of the bookstore from the outside.


On the first Friday of every month, downtown Georgetown stays open a little later. Not every store stays open late, but the ones that do have signs on their doors or marquees that say "First Friday Participant." Some of the roads are blocked and a tent is set up. Musicians arrive and so do a lot of people. They set up lawn chairs under the trees, or claim one of the many benches available on the square. Some come with their dancing shoes on (this mainly means "boots" in Texas). Some visit a sweet bookstore named Hill Country Bookstore. At 8:00 the live music begins and there is dancing in the streets.

My book signing was scheduled for July 3rd -- the first Friday in July. I had no idea how much fun it would be to see everyone getting ready to have a good time! And little did I know that Margueritte (Hill Country Bookstore's owner) intended not to be outdone by the musicians outside!

Our book signing was scheduled from 6:00-8:00 p.m. When I arrived, to my delight, I saw a little blackboard outside the bookstore welcoming me and Poetic License. We were going to have a signing and live music!

Once inside the bookstore, I had a chance to chat briefly with Margueritte, the store's owner for the last 14 years. She made my father and me feel completely welcome and at ease. She set up a little table for us with two chairs comfortably close to the check-out area and in full view of the beautiful window facing the front of the store and people preparing for the festivities. We also had a perfect view of Poetic License!

I think what made this a perfect book signing is the fact that people who enjoy First Friday events are either locals or out-of-towners who heard about Georgetown from friends or family and who choose to come downtown to enjoy the festivities. These are people who want to meet other people and have a good time. Couple all of that with a welcoming bookstore owner who knows most of her customers by name, and who supports local artists such as Poetic License, and you're bound to have a great time.

(Dad and me at Hill Country Bookstore)

(Poetic License: Martha Pinto and Lissie Connolly)

So the set up was ideal. Beautiful bookstore, fun and welcoming people, live music . . . what more could you ask for? How about generous, warm and friendly customers?

Frequently at book signings, I feel that the customers wish I wasn't there. :-( I know that may sound mean to say, and I don't wish to be mean, but what I'm saying is that frequently customers don't know what to do when they see an author sitting at a table. It's so interesting to see how people respond! At two of the recent signings we had, the bookstore managers put us at the front of the store to be greeters. We were happy to do this, so we were surprised when people did everything they could not to be greeted! We weren't yelling, "Please buy our books." We were saying, "Hi! How are you?" and if people acted interested, then we'd tell them about our books. Many people would come in the store and duck their heads to avoid eye contact when we tried to greet them. This was disheartening. We knew we wouldn't sell tons of books; mostly we have signings just to get the word out, hoping that if someone has a child with a heart defect, or knows someone with a heart defect, they'll find our resources helpful.

At Hill Country Bookstore, you could tell that these customers knew how to talk to authors. They weren't afraid of us. They were happy to see us, to talk to us, and some even chose to buy our books! A number of people came over to us to tell us about a mother in Georgetown whose son had a heart transplant. She's a local celebrity because she has become an extremely strong advocate and has helped purchase AEDs (automatic external defibrillators) for local schools. In fact, as legend has it, one of the AEDs in the middle school was used to save a student's life! I was told over and over again that I need to meet Teri Lucas. This is something I hope to do in the near future.

At one point, some newly married friends showed up and I moved from behind my table to speak with them and give them a hug. They purchased a book and Dad and I autographed it for them. We chatted a few more minutes and when they left, I noticed two new things on our table. One thing was a tri-fold brochure for a local restaurant down the street. The other thing was a little napkin with two chocolate truffles on it! Just for me! Dad has his own little napkin with two truffles on it! The restaurant proprietor of Silver and Stone had quietly put the brochures and the truffles on the table while we were talking and left before I could thank her!

(Thank you for the truffles! I can't wait to take my husband to your restaurant some day!)

Martha and Lissie made beautiful music. They sang with acoustic guitars. They sang accompanied by a tambourine and some other gentle percussion instruments. Then they sang a capello. One little boy was captivated by their singing and I caught a photo of him.

The two hours flew. We met wonderful people, enjoyed beautiful music, ate delectable truffles and even spread the word that you don't have to feel alone if you have a child with a congenital heart defect. I didn't want this magical book signing to end! I came away feeling inspired, relaxed and happy.

We're scheduled to do a book signing at The Twig Book Shop on Broadway in San Antonio on July 18th. I am very excited about that signing because I've already been in touch with a lady who runs a support group in San Antonio and I'm hoping to meet some heart families. We'll be reading from our books and sharing stories. I hope I have cause to write about another perfect book signing after that.
July 18, 2009 book signing and reading by Frank Jaworski, Bob Daigneault and Anna Jaworski from 1-3 o'clock.

2 comments:

vgb said...

that sounds like it was so much fun! more than a book signing, it was an event!

you and your father look a lot alike. I'm so happy everything is going so well for you and your new book.

Vicki

samantha said...

very interesting to read and informative blog....Thank you for sharing this great fountain with us.I loved it. Thank you for having the courage to be real......
Samantha
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