Last week we talked about the power of an online community and how one reader group changed it all for me. (Shout out to the MacPack!) The more involved I got in the online reader community, the more amazed I became. Not only did people spend time talking online about books, there were honest to goodness reader events where fans would buy tickets and show up en masse to meet their favorite authors. WHAAAAAT? I had no idea such things even existed.
Three years ago, I didn’t own a single signed book, I’d never been to a book signing, and I had way less friends. Now I have probably hundreds of signed books (both U.S. and foreign editions - don’t judge me), have been to three different signings/author events, and have friends from across the country who I’ve grown close to thanks to social media and these signings.
When I heard Author Jamie McGuire was going to be in Denver for the 2017 Mile High Author Event, I knew I had to go. I begged my husband to go on a mini-vacation, and we hit the road! This was my first large signing and we had absolutely no idea what to expect. I had one other friend who was attending and several readers I’d met online in MacPack were going as well, but other than that, we were on our own.
I have anxiety, am awkward when meeting new people, and hate crowds. What could go wrong??
Nothing went wrong. It was abso-freakin-lutely perfect and my nerd heart was so excited.
I met Jessica Fu*king Landers & other MacPack ladies.
I saw Jamie step off the escalator and I swear my heart stopped in my chest. I grabbed my husband’s hand and squeaked “There she is! She’s so tall!” Then repeatedly told myself be cool, be cool. Then I stood in line for my chance to get my cart full (yes, cart) of books signed by her.
I met Harper Sloan who checked out my husband and started talking to him before she even noticed me despite the fact that I was fan-girling like crazy and had been dying to meet her.
I also met Felicia Lynn, Kylie Scott, Jay Crownover, Kristen Proby, Emma Hart, and Heidi McLaughlin.
I was asked by a photographer if she could take a picture of my “hot fireman husband” reading a book for PR purposes. (Note: I also learned not to leave my husband alone at a book signing if he’s wearing a fire dept shirt. It’s for his own safety, I promise)
I left that day with a happy heart, a cart full of signed books, and memories to last a lifetime.
Since then, I’ve dragged my husband to another book signing (Book Bonanza 2018) where I met Rachel Hollis, E.L. James, Meghan March, Cora Carmack, Meghan Quinn, Kendall Ryan, Kim Jones, Colleen Hoover, and got to see K.A. Linde, Jay Crownover and Kristen Proby again. I’ve grown closer to several authors and readers thanks to social media, work part-time for one of my all time favorite authors, and help moderate a reader group for another! It all started with a Facebook group and stepping out of my comfort zone by heading to the Denver signing.
I don’t have any signings on the books this year but am already planning on a signing (or two) coming up. If you’ve never been to a signing, I encourage you to go! If you’re a reader and wanted to be surrounded by your people, this is it.
A HUGE thank you to all the event planners and authors who make these things happen! They are so incredibly difficult to pull off, are expensive for authors, and a logistical nightmare on all fronts. The fact that you show up just for us, your readers, is amazing.
Book Friends are the BEST FRIENDS!!