Skip to content

Michigan Book Signing Tour: Final Thoughts

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Well, I say these will be my “final” thoughts on last week’s book-signing tour, but I know I’ll be thinking about, talking about, and processing everything I experienced for a long time. I’ve just had a lot of folks ask me about the end of the week, so I thought maybe a wrap-up was in order before I get sidetracked by judging Genesis entries (which came in while I was in Michigan) and trying to get the first draft of A Case for Love finished.

When we last visited the greater Grand Rapids area, The Fearsome Foursome had just come back from an event at the Leighton Township Library in Moline, Michigan (about 20 minutes south of GR, but feeling like we were WAY out in the country!). The event was so different from anything else we did. It was extremely laid back, and there was absolutely no pressure on us to jump up and try to drag people over to our table as soon as they walked in. . .because these people were there specifically to see us. And we didn’t have to try to “sell” them our books—because if they didn’t want to/couldn’t afford to buy them, they could very easily check them out of the library later. Still, I think we each sold a couple of books anyway.

Oh—I forgot to mention Wednesday afternoon!

I can’t tell you everything that happened. . .because some things that happened in Michigan stay in Michigan. Let’s just say that Mary Connealy and I make a great team in the car with her driving and me navigating. As long as we have the correct map for the correct day.

Wednesday afternoon, we met with the local group of Christian writers in Grand Rapids including Patty Hall, Lynda Schab, and Micah and Sandra Widdis. We had a wonderful time chatting with these fellow authors and just getting a chance to be ourselves with a group of people instead of having to be “on” for the entire time. From there, we went to the B&N that I mentioned in Wednesday’s post and to the very successful book signing that evening.

Thursday evening, after such a wonderful time at the library, we’d expected the momentum, started the evening before, to continue. However, we ended up spending most of the evening at Jude 3 reading each other’s books and chatting with a few of the staff at the store. I think one or two people came in, but it was apparently just a slow night for them.

Friday, we were in for a long day. Our first event was in Lansing, Michigan, about 70 miles from Grand Rapids. Since Christine Lynxwiler had driven up from Arkansas (she doesn’t fly) and had been driving to all of our other events, she was getting a little stressed out, with almost no down-time whatsoever. So I volunteered to drive her SUV for this trip—which was relaxing for both of us, as I find driving somewhat restful, and Christine (when not stressing about having someone else driving her truck) was able to relax as well. 😉

As with most of our afternoon signings, the one in Lansing was slow—not a lot of traffic in the store, and of those who did come in, almost none of them read fiction at all. And since we were all cold, tired, and homesick, that didn’t make the time go by any faster.

From Lansing, we had to drive another 80 or so miles to Kalamazoo. We stopped in Battle Creek (where we’d had our first book signing on Monday evening) for an early dinner, then continued on into Kalamazoo. The Family Christian Store where we had our book signing that evening was the largest I’ve ever seen, and beautifully decorated and laid out. The manager had set up our table right in the front—right where customers had to walk past us to exit from the cashiers’ stand to the front door. So if we didn’t catch them coming in, we caught them on their way out! And we did a pretty good job of it, too! Several people had already checked out and had to go back to buy our books after we convinced them they really needed to read at least a couple of them.

By this point in the week, we each knew each other’s “pitches” (descriptions of our books) so well that we were able to go down the table and talk about each other’s books just in case one of us had stepped away or was speaking with another customer. In fact, at one point in time during this signing, I sold one of MaryLu’s books (The Red Siren) and MaryLu returned the favor and sold mine—to the same customer! And this was a young woman who told us when she first walked into the store that she doesn’t read fiction. She bought our two books, and then her mother or friend who was with her bought books from Mary and Christine so they could share them with each other.

The store manager told us that a couple of times when she’d had to go back to the “bargain books” room at the back of the store, she could still hear us laughing and having a good time up at the front of the store. So it made a nice way to cap off the end of a long week and a long day.

After packing up and checking out of the hotel Saturday morning, we went to our last scheduled event, at a very nice store in another new-looking retail shopping area (Alpine Drive in Walker) on the north side of town. As we suspected, there wasn’t a lot of traffic for the first hour and a half of our 10:30 to 12:30 event, though it did start picking up the closer we got to lunchtime. Had it been an afternoon event, we probably would have had a pretty good number of books sold. But by the time 12:30 rolled around, we were ready to go. After a “farewell” lunch at Olive Garden, we said goodbye to Christine and her daughter and headed to the airport. MaryLu, Mary, and I had over an hour to sit and have Starbucks and check e-mail (they did—my laptop was in my suitcase which had already been checked) before we had to part ways and go through two separate security gates since my flight took off on the other concourse from theirs.

I was really antsy to get on the plane and get home. I started reading Christine’s newest book, The Reluctant Cowgirl, on the first leg of the flight, but then once I got to Detroit, I couldn’t concentrate on it.

I never realized how HUGE the Detroit airport is. My flight came into Terminal A. The flight to Nashville was departing from Terminal C. I had to take a tram from where I came in (at the end of A) to the middle of A, then walk what seemed like at least half a mile—down a very long escalator to a tunnel that goes under the tarmac. There are moving sidewalks in the tunnel, so it went a little faster. And they have a light-and-sound show in the tunnel that makes it feel as if you’re under water during a thunderstorm. The flight from GR arrived about 15 minutes early and I’d originally had a little more than an hour to change planes, so I had plenty of time to wait once I found the correct gate. The weird thing was that the plane from GR to Detroit was much larger than the plane from Detroit to Nashville. I chatted with a few people in the waiting area—and handed out a couple of the last flyers I’d taken with me (the ones that detail both the contemporary and historical series). Then I ended up sitting next to a very nice gentleman on the plane who was on his way home from China and who happens to be an aspiring writer. So talking with him made that last leg of the trip go by very quickly. (Thanks, Mike!)

I was SO happy when the wheels of the plane hit the runway in Nashville. I’ve never been so happy to see the inside of BNA nor even to hear the cheesy recordings of all of the country music stars reading the safety reminders over the PA. The luggage seemed to arrive much faster than other times I’ve flown home, and as soon as I grabbed the fifty-pound monstrosity, I hightailed it for Ground Transportation and jumped into a taxi, and was home before 9 p.m.

So that was the rest of the trip. And now I’m about to make a liar out of myself by saying that tomorrow, I’ll be posting some of the things I learned about doing book-signing events while on the trip. So much for this being my “final” thoughts!

  1. Wednesday, April 8, 2009 4:32 pm

    Sounds like you have some great travel fodder for your contemporaries. I’m glad it went so well for you and that you’re back safe and sound!


  2. Carol Collett permalink
    Thursday, April 9, 2009 7:39 pm

    Sounds like a whirlwind trip. I’m sure you learned a lot. Can’t wait to hear more about it. Glad you’re home safely.


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: