The past few months have been a bit of a whirlwind. The Nightingale Bones was released just as I returned to my day job for the school year. While my publisher has been working the digital end of things, I have been doing what I can to promote myself and celebrate the release of the book locally. I am one of those authors who drives around with a box of books in my car and always has a signing pen in my pocket. Believe me it comes in handy.
Columbus Day weekend I returned to the place from where the seeds of the story grew. The Ashfield Historical Society was thrilled to receive a copy of the book, happy to stock it, and happy to have me sit on their porch for the famous Fall festival to peddle my wares. The historical society features prominently in the fiction of The Nightingale Bones. It was amazing to have people walk by and mouth the words of the title and even more amazing that people stopped in and bought some!
In late October I had my first book signing at World Eye Books in Greenfield, MA. A whole bunch of lovely folks turned out, buying two and three books each. This was unexpected and, since being in the small publishing world, I have to supply my own books, I was afraid I was going to run out for the next day’s event. At a favorite local restaurant, we had a book celebration complete with reading. This attracted family and friends from all over. It was a private event, but it was so wonderful to bask in that moment of The Nightingale Bones finally being a reality.
Some things I learned in those first three events: Ask people if they want the book personalized or just signed. Some just want the signature, so they can pass it on, or…because it will be worth more some day if I become famous. 😉 Also ask people to spell their names as you write. It is hard to spell anything when there is a crowd and so much going on. And of course, the last thing you want is to misspell someone’s name in the copy of your book they just purchased!
At my fourth event, again in Ashfield, at the town library, was small, but people showed up whispering “see I told you it was her…” They recognized me from when I lived there via the write up the local paper did. It was great to answer their questions as to how I took tidbits of the town’s folklore and wove my own story. There were even some folks who came that had informed bits and pieces of characters in the story. It was really quite surreal. At this event, half way through reading my seance scene, I realized I needed to give context to the scene before I read it, for those who had not read the book yet. I hadn’t done this at my first reading either. Lesson learned.
I also found myself at an artist walkabout up in the hills of western, MA where I was outside on a farm stationed near a barn as people hiked up and down a dirt road from artist studio to studio. I actually sold quite a few books that day and found that my husband is a great promoter. While I am shy about approaching people and being like: “Hey, check out this book,” he is not. He would prime them and then send them my way. One woman was talking to me for a minute admiring the view of the farm and then realized I was the author that strange man with the lovely eyes had just been talking up. “Is this you?” she exclaimed holding up my promotional post card. She ended up buying a book and I gave an impromptu book talk right there on the cold, sunny hillside.
In a few weeks I will embark on round two of the homegrown book tour. January 24th I will be at the Harvard General Store from 4-7pm. Harvard is the town where I grew up and is fictionalized in my second novel in progress, currently titled Cold Spring Fire. I am SUPER EXCITED TO SEE ALL MY OLD SCHOOL FRIENDS THERE!!!!!!!!!!! Then on January 28th I will be at the Agawam Public Library for a reading, and in March at the Springfield Public Library for an author fair. Hope to see you there!