Today I thought I’d share with readers a small glimpse into the life of an award-winning author. For anyone out there who is not yet published, or who is published but has not yet done a book signing, here is a peek into the lifestyle of the not-so-famous.
Saturday, Sept. 27, 4:50 a.m. Roll out of bed before the alarm clock after listening to a deluge of rain hitting my metal roof for the past two hours. I ditch the nice “book signing clothes” I’ve laid out for a pair of jeans and clodhoppers. In my state of grogginess, I can’t remember the list of things that I had gone over and over in my mind while lying in bed (Note to self: pack your car the night before a book signing).
6:00 a.m. Stumble out the door and hope that I remembered everything. It’s still raining. Maybe I should have borrowed a canapy from someone?
7:45 a.m. Arrive at the book signing – a heritage festival – before the streets close at 8 a.m. Find my spot, unload my Jeep and set up my table, then try to find the nearest parking space (which ends up being a good three blocks away). Sky is looking brighter. Glad I didn’t bother trying to find a canopy.
8:15 a.m. Crawl into the back seat of my Jeep to get a little sleep. Festival doesn’t begin until 10 a.m. It begins raining really hard, and I realize I’ve left my tablecloth uncovered and it will be too wet to put my books on. Oh well, too late now.
9:15 a.m. Give up on trying to sleep. Instead, walk around the town taking pictures of historic houses I’ve read about. It’s only drizzling now.
10:00 a.m. Festival opens. Find a piece of plastic that I had thrown into my suitcase at the last minute which I use to keep my books safe from the wet tablecloth. It’s not raining, but I’m set up near enough to an oak tree that the moisture on the leaves keeps dripping on my table. I have to keep my books covered with the other part of the plastic.
11:00 a.m. Heritage parade. Pretty neat.
12:00 to 3:00 p.m. Sun comes out. Sky clouds over. It rains. Sun comes out. I sell all the books I’ve brought into the festival (you never know how many books you are going to sell – and if you bring in too many you will end up lugging them back out). I have a line waiting and tell them, “I’ll be right back.” I run three blocks in clodhoppers, grab five more books (Ok, it’s 500+ pages-they’re heavy!), and amazingly, the people are still waiting in line. I sell those five books in less than an hour, and have to run back to the Jeep again… and again.
3:00 p.m. Festival ends at 4:00 p.m., but I have to be at work at 5. (Yes, I have to have a real job, too). I pack up and head out after a GREAT day of meeting people and selling books. Make it to work at 4:50 p.m. and get told I can leave at 10:30 p.m. because I “look tired.” (Thanks crew).
11:00 p.m. Take shower and head to bed.
Sunday, Sept. 28
7:45 a.m. Unpack my messy car from the day before. Hurriedly pack up more books. (Since I sold so many the day before, I pack extras). Have a few minutes, so check my emails for the first time in 24 hours. Grab my street map of the area surrounding the Festival, a cup of coffee and a banana. I’m so groggy, I can’t think straight. Hope I’ve remembered everything.
10:15 a.m. I’m somewhere NEAR where I need to be, but I think I have shin splints from the day before so I want to park as close as possible. Roads are closed near the Baltimore Book Festival, so it’s hard to figure out how much closer I can actually get. I park, then look at my map and decide to try to get a little closer.
10:30 a.m. Find a parking space – not sure I’m any closer but I may as well hoof it, as I am pretty much completely lost now. My books are packed in a rolling suitcase so I don’t have to carry anything except the nice silk blazer I wore. It’s hot, sticky and humid. I end up being about four blocks away. Hope I brought enough books because there is NO WAY I can make it back to my car. Today, for reasons unexplained, I decided to wear shoes with heels. Walking in them feels like being on a torture rack.
11 a.m. to 1 p.m. I sell zero (0) books. I go get something to eat and head back to gather up my things at the book signing booth. The girl in the next booth has been waiting for my return, because she wants to purchase a book. (Yea. Now I’ve almost paid for my gas to get here).
2:00 p.m. Drag all those books that I had taken into the Festival back to my car. (Geez, glad I packed extras). It’s so hot and sticky and humid that I take off my shirt and drive in my camisole. I find my way out of the city relatively easily and start to relax – the hard part of the day is behind me. A few minutes later I run into a cloudburst, or more accurately, a perfect wall of rain. When the rain slows down, I find I am heading east when I should be heading west. I drive on, looking for something familiar. I drive and drive. It’s still raining too hard to pull off the road (I can’t see where the side of the road is), and it would not do any good anyway because I didn’t bring a map of Maryland with me. Finally, I see I-95 and decide I can figure out where I am if I hop on that. Right after I do, I see signs that I am approaching a tunnel (did I tell you I have a white-knuckle fear, a panic-attack-type phobia about tunnels?) I repeat to myself the mantra “I can see the light, I can see the light, I can see the light,” until I finally come out – alive – on the other side. Five miles later, I find a sign for 695 west. Yea! I’m back on track. About a half hour later, I see a sign for a familiar road and I am so anxious to get home that I take it. After about five miles of stop-and-go traffic I decide this road is no longer familiar. I have to turn around, hop back on the expressway, and, after an exit or two, I really do know where I am.
4:30 p.m. Home sweet home! I hop on my computer and start looking for that next great book signing event.