A little over a week ago I took a brief trip to do a couple of book signings for Eyewall. Now unless you’ve written a blockbuster novel or have an instantly recognizable name, you aren’t going to have people flocking to your book signings.
I don’t have people flocking to my book signings.
I do them for PR: to get my name and face out there, to get a chance to talk with folks about writing and weather, and hopefully to generate a bit of goodwill for books and bookstores.
The first stop I made was Louisville, Georgia. Yeah, I know; I had to look it up on a map. It’s a tiny town (pop. 2000) snugged away about 40 miles southwest of Augusta amidst cotton fields and dairy farms.
Much to our surprise (my wife accompanied me), Louisville turned out to be a lovely place, a sort of Mayberry RFD with a really neat bookstore called the Book Worm. It’s really more of a regional store than a local one. It’s run by an engaging former school teacher, Margaret Newberry, and offers a downright homey atmosphere featuring an area where customers can sit quietly and leaf through books while sipping coffee or tea.
Oh, and right next door is a great little eatery, the Home Fresh Bistro, run by Mennonites. Both my wife and I had one of the best BLTs ever, there.
At the signing table in the Book Worm. Despite the event being on a Thursday afternoon, it drew well and I met a lot of really nice people. Sold over a dozen books, too! (Apparently, I have a thing for blue.)
Next stop, Brunswick, Georgia, and Hatties Books. Brunswick, where the shrimpers put out to sea, is on the mainland side of the Torras Causeway. The causeway leads to St. Simons Island, the setting for much of Eyewall.
The Hatties’ signing took place on a bustling Friday night, the monthly First Friday event during which the whole town comes alive. Shops and galleries serve snacks and wine, and live music permeates the air.
Did I mention the shops serve wine?
Hatties, thanks to its hard working and really nice owner, Marcia Stutz, was jumping. I met a gaggle of interesting people including a retired female FedEx pilot, and a lady whose son is an Air Force weather officer at Hickam AFB, Hawaii.
I also hooked up with some old writing buds from the area. One was Dr. John House–no, not that Dr. House. This one is an urgent care physician and nothing like the acerbic, outspoken TV doctor. The other old friend, Dean Patterson, is an ICE agent. ICE, to refresh your memory: Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He was probably making sure no one tried to smuggle a copy of Eyewall out of the country.
Like I said, lots of interesting people.
Signing books at Hatties. Yes, it’s a staged shot. Usually there were too many people in front of the table to permit a decent photo.
Finally, maybe the best part of the trip was a stay with my wife at the venerable King and Prince Resort on St. Simons and waking up to the sun lifting out of the Atlantic. Oh, and then to cap off our stay, drinks with my ace agents, Jeanie and Holly, in the lounge.
-December 13, 2011-