I just got back from my book signing at the Scotia Square Coles outlet – and it was a good signing and a bad one – and I’ll tell you why.
For starters, it was a fine and sunny day.
Unfortunately, that is NOT optimal book signing weather. For a good book signing you want to have somewhat gray weather. Drizzly is even better. Not pouring down hard enough to keep folks at home – but just dank and drizzly to make them itchy for the malls and – more important – for the bookstores.
So when I set out this morning I knew that it wasn’t going to be a good book signing.
Now I could have moped around and complained to whoever would listen – and how many people are out there in the world who really want to listen to some old fart writer moping and groaning about how there wasn’t enough people out there to buy his books.
Answer – not many.
So I started planning on how I was going to make this a GOOD book signing.
Well – it was sunny so right away I planned an avenue of approach that would lead me past the Bud The Spud french fry truck.
I hadn’t had any street fries for several months and it was the absolute perfect day for it.
Let’s get a little closer look here, shall we?
That’s what I’m talking about.
Fresh greasy french fries splashed with vinegar and a vigorous shaking of salt.
Then I slowly ambled towards Scotia Square, nibbling away at my french fries, smiling amiably at those folks who walked by me drooling on the sidewalk pavement wishing that they were big enough to take those Bud the Spud french fries away from me.
Somebody could have, I suppose – but I would not recommend trying it.
I am awfully protective about my french fries.
The only thing that would have made it perfect would have been a bottle of good root beer – or maybe some cold Dr. Pepper – but I knew that I had other refreshments in mind.
I got to the bookstore and the first thing the bookstore clerk asked me was if I wanted a coffee.
“Coffee is always good,” I told her. “Bring it to me, black and hot.”
“Do you want Starbucks or Tim Horton’s?” she asked.
“Tim Horton’s doesn’t make coffee,” I replied.
(and if there are any Tim Horton’s fans out there I apologize – but I have always found that their coffee was bitter with a funky weird chicken soup aftertaste that I never learned to care for)
“Vene, vidi, or vici?” she asked me.
“I’m sorry,” I said. “I like Starbucks coffee but I have never learned to speak their language. Just tell them to put it in a bucket and I’ll be a happy writer.”
She came back with her bucket of Starbuck’s dark roasted coffee and I sat there and happily sipped on it while doing my best to look like some beacon of book-buying splendor.
I’m not saying it was easy.
First customer came up to me said that she was looking for a book for her uncle.
“He retired this year,” she said. “And he is driving my aunt crazy. I want to buy him a book but he doesn’t read novels. He has no patience for long distance – when it comes to reading he is strictly a sprinter.”
“You are looking for a potato chip read,” I said. “Something with stories that he can crunch up.”
“I am looking for bathroom reading,” she said. “Something to pass the time between the squat and the flush.”
All right – so I am embellishing this dialogue somewhat.
I am a writer, after all. People pay me to make stuff up.
She bought him a copy of MARITIME MURDER.
I wound up selling about three or four books.
I lost count along the way.
Then I signed the rest of my books at my table and headed home. The sun was still shining so I walked from Scotia Square to my home which is just off Mumford. Probably took me an hour – but I stopped at Staples on the way home – which is a writer’s version of a strip club.
The sun was shining. I grinned at a dog or two. I felt good walking home, maybe even burning off one or two of those street fries. I even felt good about knowing that I had helped ease that aunt’s sanity by giving her recently-retired husband some good and honest bathroom reading.
That’s how you make a bad book signing into a good one.
In fact, that is how you turn a bad ANYTHING into something good.
You’ve just got to learn how to grin at it, is all.
Never mind staring at the shadows in life – get out there and focus on the sunshine.
Life is too good to be wasted moping around.
yours in storytelling