Some of my online contacts and buddies already know about my trip Saturday. The manager of Viva, a nifty bookstore in San Antonio, and I planned an event around the Guppy anthology, FISH TALES. We spoke in person, emailed back and forth, and talked on the phone. We nailed down what I should present.
Then I worked on a presentation that would go 15-20 minutes. I got it up to about 18 and figured that would work. I would speak about the history of Sisters in Crime and of the Guppies, the group that put out the anthology. Then I would go into some detail about how we planned the project and how it came together. I had gathered, from the short story authors, short passages about how they came to write their stories, and I ended with some of the mistakes that we may have made. All with the aim of helping any writers planning on putting out an anthology.
Carla Pena, the manager, had about ten chairs set up when I arrived, plus a nice sturdy table for me. I put my handouts on the table, along with some bookmarks, and a pile of anthologies, of course. She even had a pitcher of water and cups. It's still very hot in central Texas.
One person arrived. We waited a bit for the appointed time. We waited past the appointed time. Then I started in giving my talk, informally, since I was giving it to Carla, my audience of one, and my husband in the back row.
The nice woman listened intently and asked me some questions. In fact, we all four chatted through my talk and discussed things along the way. She took all my handouts and bought a book. I signed it to her sister, who owns a used book store.
OK, my first thought at the end of the day was, this was a lot of work for one person and one book. But then I remembered the eventual recipient owns a book store. She must talk about books to all sorts of people, all day long. If she likes the antho, I'll bet she'll mention it to someone.
I left five signed copies at the bookstore, so this may turn into six copies sold, not one.
The other advantage is that I have a presentation all put together that I can give again somewhere else. Even if I don't, I can use some of it elsewhere.
One more plus: I'm not a very good public speaker and the more I do it, the better I'll be. With such a small, friendly, attentive audience, that talk was easy to give. Maybe the next one will be, too.
interior photo of Viva Bookstore by Esme Araiza
Fear, figure from Charles Darwin's The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, public domain