All of which is true. But nah. J doesn’t do touching. I’m gonna head off into the sunset with some practical advice: How to build your event bag.
My very first event as a published author was in a bookstore with two other debut authors. I showed up with a stack of bookmarks and a very brave smile. Before the event even started, a girl brought me a copy of my book and shyly asked me to sign it. I scrambled through my purse for a pen. It was out of ink. My husband had to lend me his.
My next event was a little better. I had a pen this time – purple, bought special to match my endpapers – but then someone asked for a signed bookmark, and the regular ink wouldn’t show up on the dark background.
It wasn’t that I didn’t have these things. It was that they were in the closet and on my desk and in ten other places. And more to the point, it was the lingering sense of unreality that I would be doing author visits on a regular basis because, well, I was an author now.
I pulled out my favorite tote bag and put in all the things I wish I’d had during those first few events:
* Pens. Lots of them. Some purple, some plain black, and my silver paint pen for signing bookmarks.
* A copy of my book. Sometimes at library events, all the copies were checked out. And I made sure to clearly mark it so there was no confusion if I was in a bookstore.
* Bookmarks. Some signed, some unsigned. Sometimes you just want to hand someone a signed bookmark, but some people like to see you sign it, or you can personalize it just like you might a book. I keep mine rubber-banded together in a sock, partly to protect the corners but mostly because I like saying “sock of bookmarks.”
* My calendar. You never know when you might need to schedule the next event.
* A notebook. You never know when you’ll have to wait, or when an idea will strike.
I can sit down at any table, stand at any podium, walk through any audience because I know everything I need is there, ready for whatever the day brings.
So off I go.