I am a writer. My first book
came out a few months ago, but I’ve been around the industry a long
time, so I have heard many stories about the dreaded book
Now, to a reader, the whole idea
sounds terribly glamorous: long lines, screaming fans, and hundreds of
books sold. You know, your average book signing . . .
I can hear the virtual laughter
from every writer. Most book signings are nowhere near that cool.
Instead, the poor author who is doing the signing is more likely to sit
at a table that bookstore customers avoid at all costs for the next
four hours. It is a little like trying to invisibly pass by a
panhandler on the street. If the customers can avoid the author’s eyes,
then they can pretend they don’t notice how awkward and embarrassed the
poor author is, and therefore don’t have to buy one of their books out
The running joke in the writing
world is if a published author’s head begins to swell from glowing
reviews, or if he or she starts to revel in the rock star–like status
while attending writers’ conferences, all confidence is deflated with a
resounding pop at a typical book signing.
But a few weeks ago an entirely
different kind of book signing took place at the Mall of America in
Minneapolis, Minnesota. It may have been a world-record signing.
Sponsored by Barnes & Noble and American Christian Fiction
Writers, this mass book-signing event included 127 Christian authors.
A section was partitioned off
and chairs were set up for people to sit and visit and ask the authors
questions. The authors and some of their works flashed across a
projection screen for all to see. The organizers made this book signing
memorable for authors and readers.
At the beginning of this
article, I mentioned that my book came out a few weeks ago? Yeah, the
Mall of America signing was my first ever book signing.
How fair is that?
For the rest of my life, nothing
could possibly top that event. Not only did all of my books sell, but I
got to sit with 126 awesome friends, laughing and talking. I can only
imagine that it would be a little like performing on stage for the
first time in front of a hundred thousand screaming fans as lead
guitarist for the Rolling Stones. How does anything else you do ever
compare to that?
The organizers of the signing
(yes, that means you, ACFW, and that definitely means you, Cara and
Janna Ryan) did such an amazing job that they may have given authors a
taste of the too good to be true life, and it may be hard for some
authors to go back to the meager three-books-sold signings. But all in
all, it was a fantastic time. And I’ll always remember that afternoon
as my guest spot playing with the Rolling Stones.