A little less than a month ago, I had the opportunity to take part in a book signing event at my church. It was advertised for weeks, before I decided to participate. When I first saw the announcement, it was during my graduation from Disciple Bible Study III. (I’ll tell you more about my experience with Disciple Bible Study in later post.)
Anyway, I was in church sitting in the designated pews with my classmates when the announcement came on the screen. It was announced that our church’s bookstore was sponsoring it’s ninth annual book signing event. My ears perked up and my mind whirled at the thought. It was as if God was talking to me and telling me that He was opening doors for me. Two of my classmates looked at me immediately and said that I should do it; but I hesitated, saying that I was not ready. Although I had been working on my second book and planning to publish it, I was taking my sweet time, touching it when I felt like it. But, I was really procrastinating more than anything else.
However, my bible study classmates’ encouragement and the timing of the announcement got me thinking that I should just give it a shot. “What do I have to lose”, I thought, “besides my registration fee?” Yet, I was nervous about being outed as a writer, even though it was and is my dream to share my writing with the world. Up until then, only a small circle of people knew that I was a writer, let alone an author.
So, after pondering and praying about it for a few weeks, I decided to contact the coordinator for more information. She responded and told me what I needed to do, but the deadline was now just two days away. Just two days away. Phew! I was glad that I did not miss it, but mad at myself for taking so long to look into it. I weighed my options of trying to make the deadline or waiting until the next book signing event which would probably be a year later. And I chose to give it a go.
I started on the same Friday evening that I got the email and scrambled to edit and proof my document. I was glued to my laptop all day and all night on Saturday, and did not get to bed until early Sunday morning-the day the application was due. After only a few hours of sleep, I went to church to submit my documents which included a copy of my manuscript, my application and my registration fee.
When, I arrived at church, it was shortly after the end of the first of the two services that are held each Sunday, and the bookstore is only open for a short time after each service. I hurried to the bookstore to find the door (a see-though metal gate) closed, as if they were about to lock up and leave. I thought, “Oh no, don’t tell me I missed it.”
Since there were people inside the bookstore still, I stood there looking in wondering what to do. Then, a woman who worked in the bookstore came to the door/gate without opening it and asked me if she could help me. I told her that I was looking for the coordinator of the book signing event. She told me that the coordinator was not there. I asked when will she be there, and the lady said she did not know but asked if I wanted to leave a message for her. I said, “No, I just wanted to pay my registration fee for the book signing event.”
Upon hearing that I had money to pay, the woman opened the gate and let me in. Now, she was curious, because she’d never seen me nor heard of me before. She took my documents and payment, wrote me a receipt, and said, “Welcome aboard.” I said, “Thank you.” Another lady in the bookstore asked me what the name of my book was. I said, “When Silence Is Not Golden”. She said, “That sounds like a nice title…something that I would be interested in reading.” I said “thank you” again, took my receipt, went home and slept for several hours.
The day of the book signing came with much excitement and anticipation. I had been doing a little bit of PR on my own, in addition to the church’s weekly announcement about the book signing event. I had created my cover, published my book, order copies, designed and ordered bookmarks, bought decorations and favors for my table, and I had as many people as I dared about my upcoming event.
On the night before, I packed a small carry-on suitcase with everything I would need, laid out the clothes I was going to wear, took a shower and went to bed. When I woke up, I got dressed, ate a little something, and drove to church. When a gentleman in the parking lot saw me lugging my carry-on, he asked me if I was there for the book signing. I said that I was, and he let me in through the side door, which is a shortcut through the kitchen in the basement to the fellowship hall upstairs where the event would take place.
Once I entered the fellowship hall, I scanned the room and noticed that there were a few other authors already there setting up their tables. It was just shortly after 7:30 am. The coordinator greeted me warmly and told me that I could choose any table I wanted and that there was a gift bag on the table for me. Casting aside my shyness and wondering why the other authors chose the tables they did, I chose the table that was front and center, making my display the first one to be seen when anyone entered the fellowship through the main entrance.
My daughters, Adriana and Roslyn, had come to assist me, but Adriana had to usher during the morning service. So, Roslyn helped me set up and decorate the table. Other authors started trickling in and taking the tables that were left, scrambling to set up as quickly as possible. And I was feeling grateful that I got there early, nervous and excited at the same time. I looked in the gift bag that the coordinator had provided and found some refreshments, including a banana, a granola bar, an apple, and a bottle of water. I thought it was very kind and thoughtful of the coordinator. She was very gracious, and she even lent me a book stand from the bookstore to hold up one of my books.
When the first service let out and people started walking towards the fellowship hall, I stood up from my table, where I was seated and greeted them with a smile. I had several people who came out to support me because they knew I was there, and there were quite a few who were surprised to see me, saying, “I didn’t know you were an author.” Yet, several of them supported me, and I was thankful to be a part of a church community that supported its own people.
My first book signing event was a wonderful and memorable experience. I was able to introduce myself to my church community and others as an author; I got to meet a cadre of fellow authors, made connections with a few, and even got an invitation to speak at another author’s church. It was Sunday, August 19, 2018, and it is a day that I will always cherish.