Lessons Learned

I love Texas.

There aren’t many other ways to express how I feel after my book signings in Austin and Dallas. Cynthia Leitich Smith and Don Tate have some great observations about the book signing here in Austin at Barnes and Noble, so I won’t go into too much detail about it. I will say that I was super-nervous. The only time I’ve been more nervous was on the day I got married. I consider myself a pretty good speaker, but on the night of my first book signing, I was terrified. It really helped to have so many friends and co-workers there – we had a GREAT turnout. I’ll post pictures in a few days.

My book signing in Dallas at Black Images Book Bazaar also went pretty well. I was a lot less nervous, being that I had made it through the first book signing. Again, it was a great turnout, and we actually ran out of stock.

There are a few lessons that I’ve learned from my book signing experiences:

1) I probably spoke for about 10 minutes too long at B&N. I felt myself rambling during my talk, but I couldn’t force myself to stop. I think I did a much better job at Black Images.

2) It helps to have a lot of friends in the audience.

3) I have to be careful not to get on a soapbox when someone asks about something near and dear to my heart. At B&N, a small child asked if I wrote books for kids. Instead of answering his question, I spent five minutes talking about how YA books are so great and that not just teenagers should be reading them and that people are really missing out on a good thing by not reading YA and….well, you get the point. Upper YA books, African-American Literature, and censorship (especially censorship) are topics that really get me riled up.

4) People are very interested in how I came up with the title of the book.

5) People like it when I smile.

In closing, I got my first review from a teenage reader. In her own words, “I finished your book in the same day and i believe it was a really good book and i haven’t cried so hard over a book in a long time.”

Somehow, that makes all the nervousness worthwhile.

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