Jeez, three days before the author appearance in Avilla, Indiana ... a town you probably haven't heard of unless you live in, say, Avilla, Indiana. We got a new shipment of bookmarks to give away, and new business cards, both designed by my wife Emily ... also a new folding table, and a new canopy, not designed by Emily ...
Oh, and we have books. It's very important, when trying to sell books, that you have books to sell.
But I always feel nervous and unprepared before these things. Mind you, we've done at least a few every year, since that first one in the summer of 2011. Well over a dozen at this point.
My first book signing ... which was easier to set up, because I only had one book to sell. Now I have nine!
One of my favorite places to have an author appearance was the Noble Art Gallery in Albion (which, come to think of it, is half a block from where we set up for the first one). It's inside, has all that art, there's a sense of history, and a big window with a view of the Noble County Courthouse. But I've been there three times now, and the most recent time last year was poorly attended; I went to the well too often. Still, they're the only brick and mortar location with copies of our books for sale when I'm not there.
You could say my easiest author appearance was earlier this month, at the Albion Fire Department's annual fish fry. They sold three copies of Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights: a Century or So With the Albion Fire Department, even though I wasn't there. But it wasn't really an author appearance, as I didn't appear, and it wasn't a book signing, since I didn't sign them. It's possible at this point that there are more signed books out there then there are unsigned ones, so maybe the latter are worth more.
Adding to my nervousness is that most of our appearances have been in Albion, although we've also shown up in Kendallville, Auburn, and Cromwell--all within about twenty miles. Our trip to the Avilla Freedom Festival will be my first time in that town, so there's an air of uncertainty. Does anyone in Avilla know me, besides some emergency services people and the crew at the 4 County Mall, the paper that carries my humor column? We'll see.
Meanwhile there's always worry about the weather, and getting set up properly, and finding the nearest bathroom. (Hey, I'm no spring chicken. And even spring chickens have to pee from time to time.)
Will our new awning get blown away in a windstorm? Will people laugh at me for taking books to a street fair? Will I sell zero books, and end up taking a loss? Is that tax deductible? Will they have elephant ears? Will I get powdered sugar all over my inventory?