Apprentice at a Book Signing

About five months ago I took over the position of Area 3 Representative for Pennwriters, a writing organization that I joined in 2004 when I first got serious about writing as a profession. It’s a great group of people, both published and unpublished writers, all helping each other toward fulfilling our goals, whatever they may be. But at the time that I accepted the responsibility of being an area rep, my life was insane. I knew I was nuts for taking on the challenge, but I’m glad I did.

One of the first duties that was dumped in my lap was to round up a couple of published Pennwriters and plan two “readings” for them. Each of the six in-state reps was given two months to host an event. I was assigned February and December of this year. This is part of a new Pennwriters program. The Pennwriters Reading Series. Eventually I was reassigned to May instead of December, but that still left one wintery month to deal with on not a lot of notice.

I emailed my good friend Nancy Martin. Subject line: HELP!

The event was initially set up for last Tuesday night. Yep, the night of all the snow and ice. We quickly rescheduled it for this past Tuesday. Thank goodness both Barnes and Noble and Nancy had both weeks open. Especially since Nancy is on deadline for her next Blackbird Sisters Mystery and is only weeks away from beginning her book tour for A Crazy Little Thing Called Death, available early next month.

Nine people, including me, not including Nancy, showed up. According to her, this is a nice sized crowd. Mostly, we all knew each other, although some of us, only from online. So it was fun to put faces to names. It wasn’t really a “reading.” More like a visit with old friends, cookies and coffee provided by the gals at the bookstore.

I’ve been to plenty of author events in recent years and I always come away with some tidbit that I hope to use when it’s my turn. This was an especially helpful evening, though, since I help set it up. I learned to chat up the staff at the store and how to find out who’s in charge of such things, how to follow up and make sure all the details are handled. I learned how to reschedule when a blizzard hits.

I learned that nine is a big crowd sometimes. At least no one asked us where the bathroom was.

Thanks to Nancy Martin for making me look good in my new position as Area Representative. Hopefully the day will come when I’m the one signing stock and charming the booksellers as well as the book buyers. I think I’ll be fine. I have a good role model.

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