It has been about seven months since I published the first run of Preacher Kid and one thing that has not dissipated over those months is my nervousness over “putting myself out there.” I have always enjoyed being a behind-the-scenes worker, playing supportive roles, not seeking the spotlight. In my illustrious business career, I have developed decent presentation skills by accepting the requirement of a marketing manager who must present ideas, status, conclusions, strategic plans, and product demonstrations to audiences large and small. But that aspect of the job description has never been an area of great comfort for me. The best feeling I get out of presenting is the relief that rolls over me when I'm done.
From a certain angle, Preacher Kid is one long, continuous presentation – up to this point, made mostly behind the Internet's curtain of anonymity. Even so, I stress regularly at the thought that maybe my writing skills are not really worthy of publishing or at the fact that, stubbornly acting as my own editor, I missed many typos, having read the draft so many times that I could no longer see it. I really do know the difference between “where” and “were!” In fact, I currently get paid to copy/edit. My co-worker even gave me a coffee mug with a spelling rule emblazoned on it, in thanks for my respected grammar-girl role in the department.
But editing copy under a deadline of a few hours is very different than proofing the manuscript I developed as a labor of love for 7 years. Thank goodness for self-publishing, its on-demand printing, and the option to re-submit files with a 24-hour turn-around.
The curtain will open this month as I participate in my first book signing, which takes place on Thursday, July 25th at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Cleveland (11:00am to 2:00pm). I imagined a modest book tour when I first published Preacher Kid – one involving a trip to each of the nine Ohio towns and cities lived in by Esther Miller. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time or resources to take that tour at this stage in my life. So my dream book tour will take place in slow motion, with a start this month and future stops to be determined! I contacted one independent book store in Cleveland (chosen because it had been my mom's favorite bookstore when it was located out on Cedar Road) and they said “yes.” Should I have contacted more? Yes. Do I think other bookstores would be interested? Yes. But I will have to test that theory some other time. Right now, I am only willing to give up one day of my family vacation in Ohio for the book!
So I will bring my box of books and my “favorite pens” (the bookstore's recommendation) with me to Ohio and step onto the tiny stage. Any book-signing advice you can offer me is most welcome. My crew at home has set me up with the advice to bring a crossword puzzle to work on! Thanks for the vote of confidence! If you are in the Cleveland area on July 25th, please come say hello between 11 and 2. I will be the one at the table with the pens and the nervous smile. And no crossword puzzle.