Sunday, August 06, 2006

Bookseller Love

I'm having the most amazing time meeting booksellers.

Now, I’m a shy person. Always have been. I have a particular phobia about calling people on the phone; I just assume they won’t want to talk to me. It’s like my fear of spiders, which my sweetheart (see previous post) keeps trying to talk me out of. Yes, I know I’m much bigger than they are. Yes, I know they’re probably more scared of me than I am of them. What my sweetheart doesn’t get is that’s why it’s called a phobia—because it’s not rational.

Which means it’s taken a bit of time to get my nerve up to call local booksellers, asking if I can stop in for a drive-by signing. The purpose of a drive-by signing is to meet the booksellers and sign whatever copies of my book they have on hand. Easy, yes?

For me? So. Not. Easy. I’m the girl who will wander through a store for half an hour, rather than ask a clerk for assistance. My boyfriend will ask for directions before I will—that’s how bad it is.

However. Armed with advice on Approaching Booksellers for the Shy and Retiring from Bookseller Chick, the anonymous blogging maven of all things book retail, I called the first store on my list. As soon as I said my name, the person on the other end of the phone cried, “Oh, hi! We’ve been trying to get a hold of you! One of our customers told us about you and we want to set up an event with you!”


I have to say, after that, it got easier. At that particular bookstore—St. Johns Booksellers, right in my own neighborhood—I spent close to an hour dishing with the owners, Liz and Nina, two lovely women who are so passionate about books I left inspired to write the best novel ever, just so they would like it.

At Broadway Books, owner Roberta was just as welcoming. And at A Children’s Place, Portland’s wonderful children’s bookstore, Kira and I got to yakking about the amazing Shannon Hale (who also publishes with Bloomsbury—hi, Shannon!) Kira led me to Shannon’s newest novels, Enna Burning and Princess Academy, and also introduced me to Edith Pattou’s East, which I’m in the process of devouring. Thanks, Kira!

This week I’m going to continue my rounds. I can’t wait to see whom I meet next!

Oh, and that event I mentioned earlier? I’ll be reading from Tallulah Falls at St. Johns Booksellers, 8622 N. Lombard, Portland, Oregon, at 7 PM on September 20th, 2006. See you there!

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