I received an e-mail a few weeks ago from a local bookstore. They told me about how they were busy organizing an upcoming event for me. That made me pause. After all, I hadn’t contacted them. I immediately checked with another writer who has more years in the business, and she confirmed that bookstores don’t traditionally book author events without actually talking with the author first.
Maybe they got me mixed up with another cozy writer. Or somehow my e-mail address got entered into the recipient field by mistake. Deep down, I knew neither explanation was correct, so I decided to do what I normally do when I don’t know what’s going on. I ignored it.
Well, the mystery was solved a few hours later. I had a new publicist. She was the one who was working with the bookstore on my behalf, setting up a book signing. All I had to do was show up on the agreed-upon date and give a little speech.
Wait, she wanted me to do what?
I had to quell the rising panic. I’d done a brief, local book tour when my first book had come out. While I hadn’t suffered a heart attack or hyperventilated or even fumbled the situation too badly, I was happy to see the tour end. I’d put the entire situation behind me, secure in the knowledge that I’d never have to do it again.
When my publicist asked if I was willing, what could I say? Thanks for trying to drum up sales of my book, but I’d rather not because public speaking makes me uncomfortable? That’s not a valid reason.
Instead, I immediately asked if I could invite a couple of other authors to join me. For my first tour, I did my book signings with three other writers, and frankly, that’s the only way I survived. Knowing someone else would jump in and help if my mind went blank kept my nerves from fraying.
Thank goodness, she said yes, and so did Penny Warner and Carole Price when I asked if they could join me. So if you’re near Orinda Books at 5pm tonight, feel free to stop by. After that, I’m retiring from book signings for good.
At least until the next one.