I’ll soon be doing my first book signing.
The co-owner of The Book Cellar in Burgaw, N.C., contacted me over the weekend and said she’d like to schedule the book signing for Friday, Nov. 19 in the afternoon. She anticipates getting a variety of readers coming in to the bookstore, including students from the local branch of Cape Fear Community College in nearby Wilmington.
College-age kids are often fans of the fantasy genre. That’s about when I first started reading fantasy novels. I do believe my first one was a Conan novel by Robert E. Howard I was reading by flashlight in the summer of 1970 in a bedroom of a summerhouse at Lakeside, the Methodist-affiliated summer resort on Lake Erie in Ohio. I was telling my cousin Pat about the plot. Pat’s an interesting fellow. He lives in Israel where he helps organize barbershop quartets. You should hear his version of “Get Your Kicks on Route 66.”
Back to my novel, The Emperor’s Mistress…I’m not sure how many books I’ll be able to sell. Unlike some other authors, I do have the ability to generate publicity for the event. I work for a chain of weekly newspapers as the sports editor. I can write my own news release and get it published in four newspapers with circulations in two counties. It’ll be a nice experiment to see how many people show up at The Book Cellar because they read about the book signing in one of the newspapers.
And with luck maybe another bookstore owner in another town in one of the counties will want to do a book signing. At least that’s my hope.
Since bad economic times forced me back into journalism, I’ve struggled to find the time to work on books 2 and 3 of my trilogy, Larenia’s Shadow. A sports editor without a staff has very little time to do anything but cover games and write the stories. It’s nice to see that journalism can also be helpful.
In the last few weeks I’ve tried to find a balance between my newspaper job and my writing career. It’s not been easy, though. When I set aside a couple of afternoons to work on book 2, Thief’s Coin, I found myself finishing up that edition’s football, soccer and volleyball stories at 4 a.m. on a Monday. “Q”, my paginator, was not happy with me.
Two years ago I was an instructional developer writing online training manuals for the pulp-and-paper industry. I spent weeks on end living in hotels, but at least my evenings were free to work on The Emperor’s Mistress. That is until the Great Recession slew the small training company I worked for.
Ten months of unemployment followed, and then an offer to be a sports reporter. Of course, I accepted the job offer. Stay tuned…I’ll do a follow-up on the book signing as well as how successfully or unsuccessfully I juggle the duties of sports editor and novelist.