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Book Signings - A Humbling Experience by Gene Myers

Book Signings - A Humbling Experience by
Article Posted: 10/29/2010
Article Views: 1365
Articles Written: 209
Word Count: 757
Article Votes: 34
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Book Signings - A Humbling Experience

I recently authored a work of fiction entitled, SONGS FROM LATTYS GROVE (August 2010 from PublishAmerica). The imaginary berg of Lattys Grove is based on Defiance, Ohio, located in the northwest corner of the Buckeye state about an hour south of Toledo. Although I am a native son of Defiance and have authored four books, the local Philistines have never shown the slightest interest in my delightful prose. So be it. I can take a hint. (Is it just me? Never mind, I can hear the answer: a resounding YES!!!)

Jack Palmer, a popular, well-read columnist for the local paper, The Crescent News, has always provided space in his column for my efforts. Because of him, I am traveling to Defiance on Halloween weekend for two book signings, one at the "Reading Frenzy" bookstore, and the other at Veterans Park, referred to by the locals as (drum roll) Latty's Grove. I can already hear the crickets cricketing and the chirpeters chirpeting. In other words, if anyone shows up at either place I'll be the most suprised person in Defiance. Although I think of myself as an entertaining writer and amusing story-teller, my books have the same sales trend: they start off slow then taper off.

What brought the idea for expounding on this subject to mind was the comic strip, FUNKY WINKERBEAN. The strip used to play it for laughs, but then the creator, I suppose wanting to connect with the "real" issues of the world, decided to get serious. (Don't these guys realize we read comics to escape reality? They're not called "somber strips".) Anyway, the wife (Lisa) of one of the main characters (Les) became stricken with breast cancer and after a long bout died. Within a week, the strip aged the characters 20 years and fast-forwarded to Les struggling with writing "Lisa's Story". This included support from friends urging him not to give up, and the difficulting of finding agent and publisher until one day (TA-DA!) the book goes to print. Awaiting his first signing event, Les is sitting at a table in Montoni's, the strip's pizza joint wondering...

"Well, here goes nothing...I hope somebody shows up," says Les.

Funky, owner of Montoni's, looks through the front window and observes a long line of eager, smiling faces. Funky comments wryly, "I don't think that's going to be a problem."

Meanwhile, back-in-the-real-world no one cares unless the author is some type of celebrity like maybe a political figure, a news commentator, an air-headed Hollywood type, or Kate Gosselin. These pop-culture mavens get wrap-around-the-corner lines of (mainly) autograph hounds most of whom probably never crack the book.

"Doesn't matter," sniffs American Society, "It's about sales, fool!"

I'm out of step with society insisting, "It supposed to be about literature: words and a compelling story."

"You are sooo yesterday," says Society looking at me as if smelling rotten cheese.

Last year I tried the "Les tactic" after a nice Jack Palmer write-up for my non-fiction book, AFTER HOURS: ADVENTURES OF AN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESSMAN (2009 from Strategic Publishing Group). The signing was held at Scotty's Club 111, a Defiance version of Montoni's. About four people showed up. That said, I plan to dutifully man my Halloween weekend signing stations and cope with being ignored; ever the suffering and under-appreciated writer (sigh). Poor me (sob). However (and here's the bright side), at the Veterans Park event Jack Palmer is bringing Heinekens. Never could turn down a opportunity for free beer. I'm in!

I will still have a mega-blast no matter how sparse attendence is for the book signings. See, my brother, Thom, is flying in from San Diego to blow his trumpet for the Bud Widmer Rube Band. Since the 1930s the Rube Band has played in parades from Ohio to New Orleans, but the real fun starts afterwards when they jam until closing time at a local gin mill. They play for free beer; it's a Rube tradition! I plan on closing Kissner's, a 70-year hangout for the late Bud Widmer's crew, by listening to their rowdy music while pretending to give a damn about Defiance ignoring my latest tome.

You know, it's a good thing I write for my own entertainment. It's a good thing I'm (facial tic, gasp, rattle, wheeze, choke) well-adjusted.

Copyright 2010 by Gene Myers author of AFTER HOURS (Strategic Publishing Group an imprint of AEG Publishing, New York, NY) and SONGS FROM LATTYS GROVE (PublishAmerica, Baltimore, MD)

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