Worcester Public Library Trip Report
Yesterday was AWESOME. I'm talking ice-cream-sundae-with-six-maraschino-cherries kind of awesome. I'm talking unicorn-for-your-birthday kind of awesome. I'm talking you-suddenly-have-superpowers kind of awesome.
I had my very first book signing.
So here's the recap: my husband and I woke up ridiculously early and drove through the pouring rain to Worcester, Massachusetts. We arrived ridiculously early and scouted out the library -- they'd put up lovely signs with the INTO THE WILD cover art as the background and had lots of flyers all over the place. Here's me with a sign:
We went out for lunch, and I talked through what I planned to say (which probably made me look like a crazy person since I kept talking even while my husband went to the bathroom, but whatever). After lunch, we returned to the library and met the woman who coordinated Worcester Reading Week -- a week-long series of events, including costumed story reading and culminating with "Meet Author Sarah Beth Durst"! Then Anne Hrobsky (the awesome librarian who coordinated this event) gave me a tour, introduced me to the other librarians, and showed me the enormous library basement, in which they keep hundreds of ancient books and two giant stuffed giraffes.
When we came back upstairs, everything happened rather quickly:
Two booksellers from Barnes & Noble wheeled in a handcart with three boxes of INTO THE WILD. I jumped up and down. Literally. Up and down like a four year old at her birthday party. Three boxes! Three whole boxes of my book! I'd only ever seen one single copy. Three boxes!!!
As soon as the booksellers opened a box, people descended. I hadn't planned to sign books until the end of the event, but all of a sudden, there were people there with books standing in a line waiting for me (me!) to sign them.
It was awesome.
And I had a cool purple pen too.
A few of my favorite moments:
- I looked up from signing a book and saw the woman who ran my nursery school, Do-Re-Me, who had come to tell me how proud she is of me.
- Two librarians from Northboro (Julie's hometown in INTO THE WILD) elementary schools came. One of them said she'd told my fifth grade teacher about my book -- this made me very happy because my fifth grade teacher was the first teacher who ever encouraged me to write, and he had a huge impact on my life. I'm glad he now knows.
- My neighbors from Northboro, Uncle Bill and Aunt Julie, who have known me since birth, came and had me sign a program from when I was the Velveteen Rabbit in high school. (How sweet is it that they kept that?) Also there by complete coincidence was a friend of mine who was stage manager for that same play.
- The parents of one of my bestest friends (who couldn't be there because she's in Africa, which I think is a very good excuse for not coming) came and bought SIX books.
- My brother came, totally unexpectedly. I talked to him just a day or two before, and he hadn't mentioned he was coming. I'd assumed he wasn't since I have a slew of other events scheduled, including one much closer to where he lives. But he came! That meant a lot. And my stepbrother and stepmother also came, even though my stepbrother already heard me read at the Princeton Book Bash and will most likely hear me read again three more times. Very cool.
The whole thing was like that old TV show "This Is Your Life." I had people there who knew me at every stage of my life. And I had people there that I'd never met in my life, and that was also extremely cool. Complete strangers, including a bunch of kids, came and were excited about INTO THE WILD. One mom took pictures of me with her kids.
A little after 2pm, Anne introduced me, and I began to babble. I was a wee bit excited, but I'm proud to say that I didn't cluck like a chicken or say anything horribly embarrassing (I think). I calmed down a bit when it came time to read scenes from the book. (I've done readings before, and I really enjoy doing them.) While I was reading my first scene, my aunt and uncle came in, which was a lovely surprise since I had no idea they were coming.
And throughout the reading and signing, a photographer from the Worcester Telegram & Gazette was there, snapping photos of me for the paper. I felt like a superstar.
Afterwards, I signed more books, which was an incredible feeling (and surprisingly challenging -- signing books and talking at the same time is a bit like patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time). I loved every single second.
By the end, Barnes & Noble had sold 40 books, and I was floating about four feet off the ground. It was awesome. I can't wait for my next signing!!! I want to do them every day forever. :)