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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Booksignings: Then and Now

My first book signing was about 14 years ago....

It was on a Saturday.

I bought a new dress.

I did my hair.

My friends had a party for me after with cheesecake, hors d'oeuvres and champagne.

The only glitch was that they ran out of books (Houghton Mifflin had just moved there warehouses and sent only a few boxes...not expecting there to be that many people that wanted to buy my book...first time author and all. My parents had to scramble to the other bookstores in town, buy all the copies and bring them to bookstore I was at and re-sell them.)

Lovely day.

Flashforward to yesterday:

5:45 Wake-up, check e-mail, read blogs....prepare mind for day to come.

6:50 Discover that the black shirt I thought I had spotted in the closet was really a black skirt. Scramble for black shirt.

7:00 Struggle with zipper on daughter's skirt for 10 precious minutes...until we both throw in the towel and she changes. (It wasn't too small or anything....just temperamental).

7:10 Realize that teenager won't get to school on time unless prince consort, who is lounging in bed, gets up and takes her due to loss of 10 minutes. Make snarky comment* which thrusts prince consort from bed, into the car and down the road.

7:30 Stick paper bracelets in teachers mailboxes to put on kids' wrists so they won't forget to come to the book fair.

7:40 Don StoryQueen garb. Force youngest child and two of her friends to put on the dragon costumes to stand in front of the school with a sign reminding people to come to Barnes and Noble. (Laugh while the dragons do the macarena for the parents dropping off...)

8:00 Take child (not mine) who is crying and won't go to class to my room to help tape signs on my puppets (Please return me to the StoryQueen) for the scavenger hunt...BEG her to be a good girl and go to class because the StoryQueen is slammed today and just can't deal.....she consents.

8:00-2:30 Teach about a million classes (not really, just seemed that way).

2:30 spend time in office, calling parents of kids who forgot that we cancelled writing club due to the book fair to come and pick their kid up.

3:00 Race to B and N, having procured the appropriate pens at Rite Aid for signing along the way, putting on lipstick in the rearview mirror.

3:30 Me: Um....where are the books?
Them: And, who are you?
Them: They are probably in some boxes in the back....
Me: Okay (taking a deep breath) what you don't understand is that in 30 minutes, the drill team is performing outside the store, and then they are coming. Andy by THEY I mean hundreds of kids and families. It is going to be a zoo. This is the only chance we have to get ready.

Them: (Strange expression)
Me: Trust me.

4:05 Drill Team performs.

4:15 Kids pour into store. I sit in the chair and sign books. My hand never stops moving.

5:30 I take a break from signing to do a reading.

6:00 Butt in chair. Signing.

7:20 Run out of two titles (Still have three titles left....) Still signing.

7:30 Take a break for another reading.

7:45 Signing again**

8:00 Things slow down due to bedtime...They find another box of my books (with the two titles I'd sold out of) but the sleepyheads are gone.

9:00 I stumble into my house. Prince consort procures some take-out and I don't even remember chewing. I drink a glass of champagne from the bottle my brother-in-law left in the fridge at Thanksgiving. (Thanks, Michael.)

So, there it is...the very glamourous life of a StoryQueen.

True, things are different...I miss the dress (for now I wear the royal garb...), the hair, the moments of soaking it in...But let me tell you, seeing kids wound around in a snakey line through the store just to have me sign their's as close to a rockstar moment as I am likely to get.


*Okay, probably I said something like, "Darling, would you be a dear and take Issy to school? There's a good chap." Yeah. That's the ticket.

**I signed not only my own book last night...I also signed Wimpy Kid (sorry Jeff), a book by Diane de Groat (sorry), an anime graphic novel (sorry) and 'Twas the Night Before Christmas illustrated by blogging friend Richard Jesse Watson (sorry, Richard) and four autographs on bookmarks, because, it's not like these kids see me every day or anything....except that they do.


Catherine Denton said...

Whoa, I'm exhausted. But it still sounds so...romantic...and charming...and FUN! (Obviously I've haven't even done ONE signing)

L. T. Host said...

Awww how cute. :)

I would have loved to have been there, Shelley. Seeing you all decked out and reading... sounds priceless!

MG Higgins said...

Oh, it is a very glamorous life indeed! (And by "glamorous" I mean tiring and satisfying). Thanks for the peek.

Corey Schwartz said...

Wow. Still sounds kind of GREAT. I've gone to signings and had only a handful of kids show up.

PJ Hoover said...

Your book signing sounds made of awesome! Congrats!

Lisa and Laura said...

AMAZING! I hope that our book signings are like this someday. I always envision us sitting at a table with the occasional customer wandering by and giving us odd looks!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Holy cow - I think I need a nap after reading your post! What a wonderful way to have a signing go, though. We all hope for crowds like that someday. ;-)

Kelly H-Y said...

YOWZA!!! What a day!!!! Hilarious the difference between then and now! Love your play-by-play! :-) Oh ... to do a signing, though! That's got to be the BEST!!! Congrats on a successful one!

Weronika Janczuk said...

Haha, oh, man, Shelley. That's intense. Thank you for sharing!

storyqueen said...

Catherine-romantic? Well, I'd say yes to the Fun part, for sure.

L.T.- Thanks. I sound kind of whiny in the post. Sorry about that. I have rarely been as tired as I am this week.

MG-Actually, more like glamourless....

Corey-I've had that, too! That's why even though this was a pain, I loved it. Better than the alternative.


L and L- Been there, done that. "Uh, no, I don't actually work here...I just, well, see there's a book here that I wro...what? The biographies? Um, I think there about two aisles over..."

Shannon-Still waiting for my nap!

Kelly-It was a blast, but oh-so-tiring.

Weronika-No,dude, your life is intense right now!

Solvang Sherrie said...

How cool is that?! Definitely a rock star moment!

Stephanie Perkins said...

Oh, I love this story! My most sincere congratulations on your continued success!

Love live the Storyqueen!! :)