Monday, April 12, 2010
Should've Demanded No Green M&Ms
My CP Tawna Fenske recently blogged about how she has been asked to speak to writers' groups and readers' groups, and how she's not sure how she'll do. (She'll do fine!) It brought to mind my very first forays into life as a Published Author.
Like my first book-signing "tour."
In Rural, Backwoods, we have, alas, no independent booksellers. We DO have Wal-Mart, which is very good to sell Harlequins. So after I'd swooned over my first actual, real, live copy of my book, I thought, "I should ask the Wal-Mart manager if it's okay if I sign my books."
So off I went to the phone, and my call was first routed to the manager, and then to the regional manager. Turns out, the regional manager's wife was a HUGE fan of romance.
"You've gotta sign in ALL my stores," he insisted. "You've gotta."
So, bemused, I agreed to do so. He said he would get Anderson's (the book supplier for Wal-Mart) to get in touch with me.
They called me a few days later, while I was at my day job. Picture my whiplash when I went from helping one angry and very unsatisfied customer (I was sort of an ombudsman and problem-solver) to the Anderson lady.
"Hi, we need to know what sort of things you'll be requiring for your book-signing," she said.
"Uh ... a table? And my books?" Honestly, I couldn't think of anything else.
There was a long pause. "Of course, we'll have that. But your SPECIAL needs. Do you, er, require a security detail?"
If I'd been drinking coffee, my keyboard would have been a goner.
"No, no. No security detail."
"Okay, then, good, uh, what sort of instrument do you want to autograph your books with?"
"Instrument? I use a Sharpie. But I was planning on bringing one with me."
"Oh, what color?" she asked eagerly. "The fat ones or the skinny ones?"
"Er ... blue. The fat one."
I heard her pen scratching out notes on the other end of the phone line and (maybe I imagined this) her sigh of relief. "Okay, then! I'll have blue Sharpies waiting for you. And refreshments? What can we provide for you?"
"Uh ... water?"
"Water? Sparkling or just plain ... bottled ... water?"
"Water. The plain kind."
By now, I was wondering if maybe I was falling short of this lady's expectations. Maybe what she really wanted was me to ask for a bowl of M&Ms minus the brown or green ones. I was also wondering what other authors asked for and if perhaps I was missing an opportunity or three.
But I couldn't do that. I'm not a high-falutin' kind of gal. I was bowled over by the idea that they would give me a Sharpie! Wow!
We talked a bit longer, and she ended the conversation by saying, "And, er, you're sure that all you want is ... water? And you're sure you don't need a security detail?"
"Yes to water, no to the security detail. But ... thanks!"