There will be others: some in Chicago, some out of state, some international.
There will be others: some with less people, some with more.
There will be others: some with older crowds, some with younger, some with fans, others with critics.
Saturday, October 23, 2010, was my first. My first reading and book signing for The Silence of Trees at the Book Cellar in Chicago’s Lincoln Square, and over 100 people came to help me celebrate!
I’ve been to many readings and signings for other writers, some with a handful of fans, others with hundreds. Each one has a different personality, a different vibe determined by the style of writing, the personality of the author, the venue, time of day, etc. They share a familiar format: you read, maybe Q&A, then sign. Different people throw in personal touches tied to their particular book.
For The Silence of Trees, we had free varenyky, a lovely cake adorned with the cover, and pysanka cookies baked and decorated by my sister, Nadya, & her friends.
We also had a magnificent vorozhka, a fortune teller who read tarot cards for anyone who purchased a book.
Prepared by my father, Ukrainian music played softly in the background, and a slideshow of Ukrainian imagery flashed across the screen behind me.
The crowd was friendly and enthusiastic. They ordered coffee, tea, and wine, and they bought additional books to support our fabulous venue. Some people even brought in their previously purchased (and already read!) copies for me to sign.
I read from the first chapter. (My husband attempted to record the reading, and if it turns out I’ll post it, but he was also chasing after our kids who were there and vying for my attention.) A few folks asked questions and made supportive comments, and then the signing.
Holy cow, I never realized that signing books was such a mental drain!
Perhaps it gets easier with practice? Perhaps I need a better pen? I ask those of you who have been doing this for far longer, does it get easier?
(Please share your experiences in the comments. I would love to hear about your first reading/signing, either as a writer or audience-member. )
After the first 50 books, the look of my own signature began to appear wrong, and there were more to sign! If I stopped to think about what I was doing, I got tripped up. Toward the end I was asked to sign in Ukrainian! A challenge on an ordinary day, shifting gears back to my first language at that point in the evening was tough. Thankfully they offered assistance. (Дякую!)
In line, people stopped to chat and offer congratulations. It was overwhelming and wonderful, and I was surprised by some of the friends and family who were able to make it.
While I signed, my mom served varenyky, my sister passed out cookies, some friends jumped in to pass out cake. It reminded me of family parties or my father’s political fundraisers from my youth, when everyone would jump into their roles and help out at an event. We learned early on that you don’t stand around when there’s work to be done.
The staff at the Book Cellar were helpful and courteous, as always. After two Conclave Journal release parties, I feel at home there, and I’m never disappointed by their service.
Now that the book is in people’s hands, so many have contacted me to tell me that Nadya from The Silence of Trees reminded them of their mothers or grandmothers, their wives or mothers-in-law I’m so delighted! I wrote this book to honor those women, to share the type of experiences they lived through.
So that was it. My first book launch, and I wanted to record my impressions before I forgot, before I got caught up with the events on the horizon: Halloween parties, more readings/signings, the Hall of Fame Induction.
Thank you to my family and friends, to all who came out on the 23rd and to everyone who has ordered the book online. If you haven’t ordered your copy, you can buy it on Amazon, through wolfswordpress.org, or ordered from your favorite bookstore.
One last request, if you have read The Silence of Trees, please take a moment to review it on Amazon. The reviews help it to rise in the ranks get and get more attention! Thank you.
To see more photos from the signing, go to: Rob Lambert’s Photos
and Eight Eyes Photography (coming soon)