Me oh my, what a stinko booksigning on Saturday at the Deseret Book at 989 S. University Avenue in Provo! I'd been looking forward to this one, because it was my first booksigning at a Deseret Book Store, which in this area is the Big Dog. Weather was crappy, and it was a white knuckle drive through Price and Spanish Fork Canyons, but I knew this would be worth it.
Could I have been more wrong? I arrived early at the store, as I always do, but it wouldn't have made any difference. No one told the staff in the store that there was a booksigning! Sigh. I assured the person who was playing manager on Saturday that there was a booksigning, so they started clearing off a table while someone scurried away to call the real manager.
She returned to inform me that yes, there was a signing scheduled, but no one in charge had told them. Also, the books that were supposed to arrive via FedEx on Thursday hadn't arrived. Sigh squared. They did round up 12 books from various other Deseret Book Stores, and put those on the table. I had brought along a poster Cedar Fort has created. They found and easel and put that up in the entrance area.
Since I was already there - the signing was to go from 1-3 - I sat down and went to work. By 1:30, the 12 books were gone. I suggested that maybe they could drive to the very nearby Seagull Books and buy a few, but no, that wasn't an option, apparently. (Doesn't Deseret Book own Seagull Book?) I sat there a little longer, but felt a bit silly, since there weren't any books to sign. I left.
Crazy. Perhaps Deseret Book is just too big to care. Still, if I had been managing that particular outlet, and the books hadn't shown up by Friday (they were due Thursday), I'd have gotten in my car and driven TEN MINUTES to Cedar Fort and bought a few books. Initiative seems to be sadly lacking at that store.
So it was another white-knuckle drive home. At no point in this old, dreary business did I raise my voice to anyone; not my style. I'm not a writer who expects blue M&Ms in a Waterford dish, and shaved ice brought from the Andes by Inca runners, but at a booksigning I expect a) a staff that knows there is a signing b) actual books on the table to sign. Doesn't seem like much, eh?
Of course, part of the problem was that the Saturday before, I had participated in a truly wonderful booksigning at the Cardston Book Shop, in Cardston, Alberta, run by father and son David and Randy Prete, so this miserable signing suffered by comparison. The folks at the Deseret Book on 989 S. University could take notes from the Pretes on how to run a signing.
I have two booksignings next Saturday, April 16: one at a Seagull Book in American Fork, Utah, from 1-3 p.m., and another at the Seagull Book in South Towne in Sandy, from 4-6 p.m. Seagull seems to be more on the ball, so I think they will be fine.
Sorry I'm complaining, but ineptitude makes me grouchy. It'll pass. Right now I'm making a few changes in the Christmas anthology collection I've written that will be out in November, courtesy of Harlequin. I'm happy with it. It's always more fun to be writing.
Still, though, a shout out to Earl and Afton Condie,who had heard about Borrowed Light from their friend Lella, read it, and bought 8 books for themselves and their children, all Wyomingites by birth. They're the kind of folks who make booksignings so much fun.