I didn’t expect the coordinator to have a little spread of cookies, candies, water and lemonade prepared. The bookmarks were a big surprise!
There was a podium in the beautiful room, but we ended up changing the chairs around so that I sat in a large circle with the ladies (and later, one gentleman) who came to meet me and hear what I had to say.
It was more like a get together with my ideal audience, really.
I talked about the book, of course — some had already read it, a few weren’t through it yet, a couple people hadn’t started. So I didn’t want to give too much of the story away.
What I liked most was getting the feedback from the readers. It validates a great deal.
We’ve (Merge Publishing) hit the bulls-eye with the cover. That’s thanks to Leslie Taylor of Buffalo Creative, the designer, and the feedback we got when we did a cover war (comparing two different concepts and asking for feedback via social media) prior to publication. One of my audience said, “I didn’t know anything about the book or you, but the cover drew me to read it.”
They loved the feel of the softcover — several people have remarked on that now. It has a velvety surface. Again, that has to do with the printer (Ingrham) and not me. But I think it proves how readers love the feel of a book in their hands.
One woman loved the type and layout of the book inside, the bright pages and easy readability of the font. This is very important in a book! It was something I wanted to make sure of. Working in copy and marketing, I know how important readability is to the viewer. (Again, kudos to Leslie Taylor, who designed and laid out the interior.)
And then there was the love for the story, the settings and the characters.
Here’s what I love most about meeting readers: The look of complete enthusiasm and connection from someone who has fallen in love with a book.
It’s not an ego thing. It’s knowing that I’ve accomplished what I hoped. That I put my thoughts and imagination and revelations out on the line via my story and characters, and it resonated within someone else — a stranger, maybe, but who now becomes a friend.
Last week at another book signing event — and at various times since the book came out, I’ve had women tell me that at some point in their lives, they’ve also been in Italy — and there’s been an “Alessandro” in their experience.
I love hearing about a reader’s favorite character.
Last night, it was Maura, Sara and Bridey who were favorites. I love that someone loves Bridey, because she is fairly self-centered and selfish at times in the story. But I love each character, and I feel happy knowing these characters are safe with the reader.
I read a bit of one chapter aloud, too. That’s a first for me.
We talked for an hour and a half! Many of them bought books, and I signed them all, whether they’d already brought their own copy.
But it wasn’t about making sales for me. Although I need sales, how else will anyone read it?) I just loved being with the readers and meeting them, listening to their observations and questions and gaining them as friends.
Now — where and when can I go to a library again?!
(I just forgot to ask for reviews and comments on Amazon. DOH!)