Two weekends ago I launched my book into the world with a tour that began with two events in my “hometown” of LA (I’ve lived here 22 years, which not only qualifies me as a native, but means I’ve been here longer than most of the historical buildings): at Barnes and Noble at the Grove in Hollywood and Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena.
The Vroman’s event couldn’t have gone better – great (and big) crowd, we sold a lot of books, and I didn’t sweat like a CEO at a congressional hearing.
The Friday night event at Barnes & Noble was something else altogether.
This particular B&N store is big and glamorous – it’s one of the bookstores in LA where celebrities do their signings and where, on this particular Friday night, the air conditioning was out. And, conveniently, out ONLY in the section of the store where they hold signings, an area that’s lit like a Broadway stage.
It wasn’t like the attendees (and I was fortunate enough to have a nice crowd) should have been wearing towels, but still – it was pretty freaking hot. Ben [name changed so I don’t have to hear about this later], the very chatty young guy who is in charge of the author events, advised me of this fact during the twenty or so minutes we spent together in the green room prior to my introduction.
This was not, unfortunately, the only thing he advised me of. During that period of enforced togetherness, he kept up a running commentary on past celebrity guests that astounded me for its sheer lack of breaths taken. Not only couldn’t I get a word in edgewise, I couldn’t think. About what I was about to do. About how I would be introducing the book. About the fact that I needed thirty seconds, just thirty freaking seconds of silence to compose myself before stepping out onto the stage for my first ever author event.
So I lurched out onto the stage, unfocused, and proceeded to stumble through my reading, cutting it short because of the heat and wishing that I had been rude enough to ask Ben to shut the you-know-what up in the green room and let me have a moment to prepare.
I would like to suggest to Ben that in the future, he ask the author if they’d like a moment to themselves. Raquel Welch, who had been there a few weeks earlier, needed just such a moment and simply said to him, in a voice that indicated little possibility of negotiation, “Get out.”
Perhaps I should be more like Raquel Welch.
p.s. I will be in San Francisco tomorrow for a book event (www.ericpoole.net/events), so no posting. Miss me. Get misty and dewy and moist and sad.