Last Friday I had the opportunity to attend Steven Peck’s book reading at Pioneer Book in downtown Provo. His new Wandering Realities: Mormonish Short Fiction came out at the end of July through Zarahemla Books. It was wonderful to hear him read and discuss his views on science and religion as they influence his writing, and to network with some other authors who are fans of Dr. Peck’s fiction. Steve also gave a shout out to us authors involved in the Windows into Hell anthology based on his novella A Short Stay in Hell (I got to turn around in my seat and wave at everyone). I had some wonderful discussions with people afterward that merit their own post on writing life advice.
Most often, the books I “read” are either audiobooks, or ebooks I can trick my phone into reading to me while I’m at work. However, I love going to in-person signings and readings to pick up physical copies of books. It’s a great way to show support for local authors and bookstores, and it fosters friendships that simply don’t happen when all one’s interactions are online and, in case of purchasing books or leaving reviews, largely anonymous.
It feels so good as an author when someone comes to your signing or reading event, either because they’ve heard of you or they already love and feel a positive connection to something you’ve created. It feels equally good to see the face of an author you’re fond of light up and hear them say “it’s wonderful to see you again!” You may get to remind them where they’ve seen you before or catch up on what you both are doing in your lives. He or she will shake your hand, and maybe even offer you a big hug.
One of my favorite things to get at book signings are personalized notes or words of encouragement along with the author’s signature in the works we’re celebrating at their event that day. This is another perk of an in-person signing that really isn’t available in online-only interaction, or at least not with the same effect. In an effort to celebrate the authors I meet more, I want to feature these events I sit in on and some of the signatures I’ve collected.
Today, here are the words of encouragement from my good friend Dr. Peck, “one of Mormondom’s most interesting authors,” according to the folks at Pioneer Book.