Why I love to meet readers

I love book signings, sales and other events where I can talk with readers directly.

Last year, I did a bunch of events. Some were terrific, with lots of traffic and interaction. Some were … not so much, where I sold one or two books. But still, the experience was positive enough that I have signed up to do some more.

Marc Laisne and Angel Tiah set up a lifesaving umbrella right behind my table.

Last month, I set up a table at Arts in the Park in Stittsville, just down the bicycle path from my home. It was great, except for having no shade on the first really hot, bright weekend of the summer.

Luckily, the table next to mine was set up by Marc Laisne, an honest-to-god French artist. He set up a big umbrella, and I was able to steal some shade every now and then. It honestly saved my life—or at least the skin on my nose.

Marc’s art helped draw more people toward my booth, especially when he started painting a picture from scratch on a canvas at least 120 cm wide. I’m sure it contributed to my book sales at the event.

Another highlight was meeting a return customer. John bought Army of Worn Soles at last year’s event. This year, he looked for my table, told me he loved the story, and bought a copy of every other book I had.

My younger son, Nicolas, and his friend Shannon helped man the table for a while.

I also met other writers, like Michelle Young, who wrote and published two very moving books of poetry. I plan to write reviews of them soon.

Why do I like it?

Writing is a solitary art. So is reading.

That makes actually interacting with other people, with books and writing as the subject, a real treat for me. It’s exciting, and yes, gratifying as well, to talk with other people about the books that I write.

What’s better is finding out what readers like to read, what they don’t, and what might make them pick up a book and open it.

As I write this, on July 16, 2019, I am getting ready for my next event, a book signing at Prospero The Book Company on Bank Street in downtown Ottawa. I’m hoping it goes well, but so far all the events I’ve attended at actual bookstores have gone well. I’ve never done a midweek event, though. The manager promises that mid-weekday is when this downtown location gets the most traffic, so we’ll see.

In the meantime, here are some pictures from my previous, successful events.

My display at Arts in the Park this year had a beautiful backdrop, courtesy of artist Marc Laisne and the custom jewelry display on the other side.

 

Marc Laisne also helped draw attention by creating a new painting on the spot.

 

The Ottawa Authors Market at the ByWard Market in July 2018 was a fun event.

 

The Authors Market at the ByWard Market I participated in during September 2018 was in the middle of Frosh Week. Some Carleton University students helped me out.
My book signing at the Coles bookstore in Carlingwood Mall went very well.
The ByWard Authors Market in July 2018.
At the first ByWard Authors Market, I shared the display space with another local author and a publisher.

A new reader named Deborah discovered the
Eastern Front trilogy at my first Arts in the Park in 2017.

 

My first in-bookstore signing was at Billings Bridge in 2017.

 

Hiding under a tree at the 2018 Arts in the Park kept me out of the sun and the rain that year.
In 2018, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson (blue shirt) and then-Councillor Shad Qadri at Arts in the Park.

 

The Eastern Front Trilogy on the Local Authors rack at Coles, Billings Bridge

 

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