What if you throw a party and no one comes? I think everyone has that fear, whether you’re throwing a keg party in the backyard or doing a book signing. I kept imagining reading from my book, The Rotten Adventures of Zachary Ruthless, with two or three employees of Barnes and Noble watching to be polite. One of them claps to make me feel better. The sound echoes through the empty store. In the back, the person behind the coffee counter burps. I buy a couple of books just to sell something, because I feel guilty. The store manager shakes her head out of pity.
So when B&N said they bought a couple of hundred books for my signing, I felt even more pressure. What were they thinking? Were they going to make me buy 195 of them myself?
So, it was a bit of relief to see about 40 kids sitting around my chair waiting for me to read my first chapter during my launch last week. The manager handed me a microphone, and I was off. It’s a big store, but I guess you could hear my voice throughout (the microphone was pretty loud). I’m glad I didn’t know that until later.
Kids, of course are a great audience. They gave me their best evil laughs, and a boy named Jacob did a great hiccupping hyena-laugh for us (you’ll have to read the book to know how that fits into the story). And I don’t think I mispronounced any words. I tend to be a serial mispronouncer, so this was a big accomplishment even though I practiced reading the chapter 46 times at home.
Then I sat behind a desk with a big bowl of gummy tarantulas, gummy internal organs, gummy blood, and gumball eyeballs … all perfectly evil in keeping with the evilness of my book. Barnes & Noble assigned numbers to people wanting me to sign, so they announced over the loudspeakers, “People with numbers 15-30, please get in line for Allan Woodrow’s autograph,” etc. Pretty surreal, actually. It took about 80 minutes to get through everyone’s books.
Then I was home, no longer a big time author person but someone who had to clean the fish tank. The goldfish don’t care I have a book, apparently. But neither will anyone else unless I write another one just as good.
Signing is over. Time to go back to work.