Old Gringos and (not) Pajama Pants: The Story of a Book Signing

The best things about a local book signing? Getting to see your friends you never see because, life. Meeting people who apparently live in the same town as you do but whom you have never met. The worst things? Figuring out what part of the book to read--you don't want to have spoilers for those who have not read that far, and you don't want to bore those who have already read the book. Another thing? What to wear! And how to wear your beautiful, slippery-soled Old Gringo boots that cost a fortune but darn it, you want to wear them despite the ice without falling and killing yourself.

Frantically I googled "what to read at a book reading" (Clothing choices are up to me, apparently. But not pajama pants.)  Some authors read for a really long time. Thirty minutes?! I settled on a ten minute section that shows the interaction of the characters with the landscape, a big part of the book. I read it to my cat, and he didn't fall asleep. Good to go.

When I arrived at the Bookloft, three people were there. Okay, three people! I can handle this, I thought to myself. But soon, it became standing room only. Nervously I approached the podium (at least my Old Gringos looked good). I don't like being the center of attention (and I usually don't spend much time with people who do), but if it is something I believe in, that is different. I love talking about Southeast Alaska and about my book. But here's what's interesting: after years of poring over every word in this darn book, how did I miss some things? Here, I used "back" twice in the same sentence! 

I signed a few books, ate a few cookies, and answered a few questions.Unlike the book club meeting, most of the questions were about the circumstances that informed the book: my years as a kayak ranger in Alaska. I also love talking about this, because it was the best job I ever had. Sometimes I think back on the things we did and saw and can hardly believe I was fortunate enough to experience them.

My advice for book signings, if you are going to do one? Wear the Old Gringos! Don't worry about the ice. Don't wear pajama pants. Figure out your outfit ahead of time, so you aren't running around a half hour before saying you look awful in everything. Pick something you really like in the book to read, that represents the soul of the book. Eat cookies. Have fun, because the attention span of a book is very short. You have a very small window of time before everyone moves on to the next one. 

Reading this and want a book signing? Contact me and let's talk. I'll bring the Old Gringos.

(picture is from the Sundance Catalog)