Living in Paradise

Lessons From a Book Signing

Lessons From a Book Signing

Let me take a moment to thank the six people and the bookstore owner who showed up at my “book signing” yesterday. We had a good time, and I’m grateful for the support they gave me and my new, as yet unpublished mystery/thriller, Under the Sand.

The reason my new book is not yet published is because a learned acquaintance, who is a best-selling author, suggested I get an agent. The result has been a forced march through underrepresented voices hell, but that’s a story for another time.

To test the market, I had two hundred copies of my book printed for sale on the little island I have called home for the last ten years. I moved to Sarasota recently, but almost everyone I know and have counted as friends still reside on the island. I see them often and will in the future—although not so much yesterday.

I had anticipated a poor showing but hoped I would be wrong. After all, it was Good Friday afternoon and lots of people are on holiday. But, even so, as the day progressed, I couldn’t help but wonder why more of the hundreds of people I know hadn’t bothered to show up just to say hi and have a cookie with no purchase required?

I had advertised my new book and the upcoming meet the author event in the weekly newspaper—a full page ad. I had already heard from several people who bought Under the Sand at the island beauty parlor. Fourteen others had also purchased it at the bookstore before the event. My deeply felt thanks goes out to all of them.

However, there were none of the artists whose works I have diligently purchased over the last twenty years or for whom I have volunteered to serve goodies at their opening night events. And what about the thirty or so people who have listened to my presentations—which take weeks to prepare—for our mystery readers book club? MIA. I hope they weren’t done in, and I missed their obituaries.

There were no familiar faces from the church, unless you count my three dear friends who showed up; one even brought her family and bought two copies of one of my other books, Scavenger Tides Scavenger Tides by Susan Hanafee on BookBaby. Some of my fellow congregants had already purchased the book, but to the others I say, next time you want to bend my ear don’t bother saying that you “missed me in church.” I missed you at my book event.

The Realtors, whose offices are fifty steps from the bookstore, have made a lot of money off of me and my man the last couple of decades.  But no support from them or the people at the library or who I have entertained at my dinner table on many occasions or for whom I have written articles for the island’s weekly newspaper.

We’re all busy now, aren’t we? One woman who showed up had already read and favorably reviewed my book and put the event on her calendar “just because.” That’s a friend.

I’m a big girl. I can handle disappointment, but the event was a good reminder of a lesson I learned from raising three children. You can spend your life doing things to please others and make them feel good, but you shouldn’t expect anything in return. More likely than not you won’t receive it.

I’m going to conduct myself in the future with that piece of information in the back of my mind. Even more important, I am going to celebrate the six people and others like them in my life who day-in and day-out demonstrate what real friendship is all about.