It was interesting. It was my first book signing at a big book store. I had done a few smaller book signings at smaller bookstores and this was my first one at one of those major chains that you would know if I told you. However, because this one particular chain continues to sell my books, I cannot mention who they were.
I had been looking forward to this signing for a long time. I had a bit of a cold, though, and was not feeling quite 100% that morning. I had been battling the cold for a few days. Still, I was excited for my first big signing. So, I did what I could to rest that morning and then headed out into the cold and drove to the signing.
The store was down in the city. I was to be working the book signing with another author from the same publisher who had something like 70 books published. He was a big deal and he even had his own assistant with him to run around the store and talk to the store manager while he sat in a chair and I looked nervous.
There were no signs stating that I was going to be there or the other author. There had been no publicity. No table had been set up. There didn’t appear to be any space for a signing. I talked to the manager, a frazzled-looking woman with blond hair. She wasn’t sure who I was and she had no idea what book I was signing.
I was supposed to be signing “Forgotten Tales of Illinois” which had just come out. It was December and a nice Christmas-time signing would help boost sales. I could tell from the look on her face and the absence of my book on the shelves that something was wrong.
The signing was supposed to start at 2 pm and go for two hours. The other author did help me and found about three copies of some other book I had written, for an entirely different publisher. He found many, many copies of his books. Tables and chairs appeared and I sat behind one table with three copies of the wrong book in front of me and he sat behind another table with a mountain of copies of his books in front of him.
The manager of the store apologized. When my parents showed up she sat down in a chair and looked exhausted and embarrassed. There were no copies of my book that they could find. When a friend of mine showed up he and I shared a good laugh about it and he bought a copy of the other book I had on my table and I was thankful for that.
I got a free cup of hot tea out of the deal. I stuck around for an hour and then left, back into the cold. I went back home, crawled into bed, and went to sleep.
They say to live and learn. I have a book signing for “Silas Jayne: Chicago’s Suburban Gangster” coming up September 4 in West Dundee, Illinois. It’s at a Barnes and Noble. I’ve already called that manager to confirm they have copies of my book and they plan on putting out a press release about my appearance. So, I hope this one goes much better.