My first ever book signing. Denise, a reliable supporter, invites me to hold my signing at an important community event that she coordinates. I purchase a case of books. I pack extra pens, plenty of change, and throw in my pocket dictionary. Someone might ask me to use a difficult word in the inscription. Paul comes along for moral support and to handle the sales if I get busy signing covers.
The night before, Wendy, a book club friend, texts me. She would like me to hold four copies for her. Wow. I pack them in a gift bag. I dash to the dollar store for more gift bags in case other customers want multiple copies. Perhaps I’ll need to take orders. I toss in a yellow legal pad. I lay out the clothes I will wear. No jeans for my coming-out event.
Saturday morning Paul and I arrive twenty minutes early to set up my station for the Egg-Stravaganza, a family event. The library has a table all ready for me. I brought ceramic chicks and eggs to accessorize. I hang my sign to blend with the theme: The Chicken or and the Egg. I fill a basket with chocolate eggs and arrange sheets of scented stickers. I had Staples print shiny book markers featuring the book’s cover. I will place one in each edition, page 241, my story. What can be more family-friendly than a book titled Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grandparents?
The doors open. Parents and children stream in. Denise has placed my table along the busiest line of traffic. No one can access the live rabbits without passing my station. Strollers push by me, as do all ages of children making a beeline to the rabbits. A crowd gathers around the cottony creatures. All sizes of munchkins hug, stroke, and pet the fluffy bunnies. As promised, Wendy walks in the door and approaches my table. She gives me names so I can inscribe the four books. I grin the whole time. What fun to sign my name inside each edition. Wendy exits, but no other adults look my way. More families arrive to adore the six bunny rabbits.
“Would you like a chocolate egg?” I invite as youngsters cruise by heading the other direction for photos with the Easter Bunny. If parents give a disapproving look, I counter with, “How about a scented sticker?” A few young ones cover their eyes in fear of the Easter Bunny. At least I don’t scare anyone. Decorating a cupcake and creating a craft rank ahead of me, as well. Paul consoles, “Consider the demographic. Face it; the rabbits are stealing the show.” I should have worn ears instead of an invisibility cloak.
Another friend, Melissa, enters and heads directly to my table. She purchases three copies for new-grandma friends and does not give a sideways glance toward the bunnies. That’s loyalty. I sign the books and use a gift bag. I’m thrilled. She salutes me with a cupcake as she departs.
Everyone smiles. Babies scoot on all-fours among the book stacks. One toddler pushes his stroller into my table, toppling the book display. I give away dozens of aromatic stickers. One middle grader comes back to my table four times for fistfuls of Hershey eggs. Munga, her grandma name, has her hands full with a teething infant and a pre-schooler. I help the little guy open a plastic egg and figure out how to use his ink stamper on a piece of my yellow paper at a near-by table. By now I’ve almost abandoned my station.
A photographer for the local paper snaps plenty of shots at the petting station. She glances my way a couple of times and I try to catch her eye. Perhaps a bit more publicity could help later book sales.
The event nears its close, and the rabbits are still mobbed by doting fans. Munga goes to her car and returns, both of the grandchildren in tow. She buys a copy of the book. I inscribe it honestly, “For a patient, dedicated grandma.” The newspaper photographer does not take a photo, but asks me to sign a book for her mother. As if she hasn’t done enough, Denise buys a book.
I pack up plenty of leftover books. They may come in handy at the Mother’s Day Tea. When I came in the door today, I had a special billing: bunnies, author, crafts, Easter bunny. Before today I was a mere writer. The Egg-Stravaganza elevated me to author. I may have been out-fluffed, but I was in good company.