The very first bookstore event I attended as a published author was on May 7th, for the Mysterious Galaxy’s Birthday Bash. Located in my hometown of San Diego, Mysterious Galaxy celebrated their 23rd year as the premiere bookstore dedicated to a passion for books of “Martians, Murder, Magic and Mayhem.”
Arriving early (theater people know arriving on time means you’re late), I found the bookstore full of people and a writers’ panel going full swing.
It was hard to believe in just a short time, I’d be up there too. Having taught at the university level for almost twenty years, I’ve done a lot of public speaking in my time. At writers conferences and writers workshops, I’ve stood in front of thousands of people. But this was the first time someone could hear me speak, and then be able to go and buy my novel. I’d waited a long time for this moment.
Our panel went great. It was so fun to see the audience. Though I did wonder, would anyone buy my book?
Regardless, it was a real kick to see my novel on the shelf.
The signing was equally amazing. I had decided no matter what happened, I was going to be happy just to be there. I ended up sitting at a table with Kelley. The line for her signature snaked around the bookshelves, people carrying stacks of her books, while my line was a wee bit thin. It was a delight to sign books for friends and family. I felt like a real “author.” Then it happened. The moment I’d been hoping for. A person who didn’t know me and did not have the last name Hartwell, came up to where I sat. She carried a book. My book. She asked me for an autograph. It was a moment I’ll never forget. I’d arrived.
But where had I arrived? I knew it was just a single spot to stop for a moment on the author’s road I’m traveling. But it was an important stopping place.
For the moment, I just sat back and enjoyed the view.