This weekend I had my first book-signing events in the metropolises of Minneapolis and Maple Grove, Minn. One was a reading at a small indie bookstore; the other was a signing event with a bunch of other authors at a big box chain bookstore.
I did the indie bookstore reading first, at Moon Palace Books in south Minneapolis. The audience was intimate and mostly genetically related to myself. (Grin.) But it was fun and I sold a few books. The owner was wonderful and, with thirty bookcases that were only two years old, the place smelled good — like freshly cut lumber.
We were just wrapping up when the Viola Player arrived. Or rather, she swooped in. Judy with the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra (DSSO), is not the type to enter any other way. I experienced her vivaciousness first-hand when I had lunch with her as research for my novel “Plover Landing.” A viola player figures prominently in the story, but I needed to learn more about the life of this type of musician. I brought my plight to the DSSO and they hooked me up with Judy.
I chose the instrument because it’s the one I would have wanted to play if I hadn’t already been a French horn player in the high school band. I just love how it sounds, and the introvert in me loves how it’s a background instrument. From Judy, I learned about the underdog, scrappy culture of violists.
I didn’t know she was planning on attending my reading, so her swooping entrance was a surprise. A nice one, however! She even had her viola strapped to her back, and with little coaxing, treated us to several tunes. That’s one reading I won’t soon forget, and I’m sure the bookstore owners will remember it, too.
The big box chain bookstore event was a bust. Hardly anyone attended. If it had been my only event, I would have driven home in the dark of night feeling like the five-hour round trip was not worth it. I learned two lessons from this experience that I would like to share, especially with new authors who are responsible for their own marketing:
- If you’re traveling more than an hour or two from home, try to have more than one signing event scheduled to hedge your bets on feeling successful. In other words: Don’t put your book signing eggs all in one basket.
- The book signing ain’t over until the viola lady plays!
4 thoughts on “The Book Signing and the Viola Player”
Having just gone through my first book signing event, I know just how good that sense of accomplishment feels. Congrats on the success.
Congratulations on surviving your first book signing. May you have many more!
That’s so cool that the viola player showed up at your reading — and played!
I once drove all the way to Madison, WI, from Duluth for a reading (I don’t remember exactly how long that trip is — 7 hours?), to which only 3 people came. But the long drive gave me the thinking time I needed for a short story I was struggling with, so it worked out in the end. 🙂
Hey Lacey. Glad to hear your reading was successful in alternative ways. And I hope your Rapunzel remake is going well!