I asked the first employee to greet me for the location of the author signing. She had to call someone else and told me there were two possible places it could be within the store. She finally pointed me in the right direction. I expected to see more signage, maybe gaggles of teenage girls around, but I was the first one circling the author table.
To make use of my time, I bought a mocha I didn’t need and strolled the YA and Fiction sections. I treated the hour I was gifted like I was at Costco sampling books instead of food. I nibbled on beginning lines of some books, devoured first chapters of others. I read author bios and picked up books with covers that called to me.
When Gennifer and her husband arrived, I was already chatting up a lovely lady, Margaret, who was also circling the author table. She told me she arrived by ferry for this very event and we both agreed that we thought we would be out of place with a group of teenage girls. Margaret said her daughter was a blogger who reviewed books—a dream job if I wasn’t a writer, or a librarian, or anything else involving writing. The blog, Making the Grade…which I researched to find it is now Jenna Does Books…
Gennifer waited at the empty Information Booth and as much as I wanted to tell her where her table was, I kept quiet. Instead, I waved hello.
After she was seated, Margaret and I waited. And waited, knowing that it was indeed past 4PM. We listened for someone to announce her presence. Being an author myself, I wanted there to be more fanfare for our visiting author…maybe even a marching band.
After the weak announcement, I finally looked at Gennifer and greeted her. I told her I learned about her from NaNoWriMo—the National Novel Writing Month group. She was one of the success stories and inspirational speakers so to speak as I trudged through November 2012 trying to meet my quota of 50,000 words in 30 days. Her husband perked up and asked if I succeeded, and I was happy to share that I did. I told them that manuscript (Wonder Summer) was ‘marinating’. Mr. Albin shared that he too did NaNoWriMo.
Geek girl that I am, I wore my NaNoWriMo shirt and flashed it to them. Ahem…
Gennifer shared that an author friend told her of author signings at Costco…needless to say, my Costco comparison paralleled hers, but I wasn’t about to share that, for fear of being too fanatic.
There was no B&N employee there to facilitate the exchange between fans and author and I felt like since there was no official start bang or someone in tights declaring, ready, set, GO! I asked if we could proceed and she happily signed my book.
"To Tanya, Believe who you are."
She told her husband to snap a photo of us. I showed her for approval and reassured her that I would use Instagram to filter it so we could both be supermodels. She chuckled and said she forgot her phone and asked if I could tweet it.
The Albins wished me luck in my writing endeavors and for me, that was like a blessing. She was in the world I hoped to one day be a part of. I’ve had nominal success with Sirena and Attitude 13. When I say, nominal, it means I was able to pay for the fees to create the books. And, I hope that my upcoming romantic comedy, Secret Shopper—which I hope to release in May 2013 will reach a wider audience than my very supportive Chamorro community.
So, authors are rock stars because it’s a tough market. To create worlds from your imagination, to offer nuggets of truth, to make loveable, believeable characters who can resonate with someone…that’s tough. And, if there’s an author putting their world, their book out there, I will support them. I can only hope for the same. I’ve sat at my various Pacific Islander festivals, slinging books, pushing my imagination and hoping to connect. I’ve had events where I’ve only sold one book, but made connections. I’ve had events where I couldn’t even sit down, let alone eat from being busy.
So, as a fan of reading and as a career writer, I support authors who make that effort to meet their fans. I walked away enriched by my in person encounter with Gennifer. I will continue to support her career and wish her continued success.
So, of course, I’ve tweeted the pic to Gennifer, added it to her Facebook page (and mine) and now I’m blogging about it.
Writers need to uplift each other and I’m glad to have met Gennifer today.
Find out more about Gennifer Albin and her novel, Crewel here.