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How the Book Signing Went

yeshiva girl with dogs

I have discovered that three out of four writers can stand for two hours at a book signing event, and I am the fourth writer. I did stand for the short presentations, where each of us described our books, though I had to lean on random pieces of furniture while the others spoke, and then I almost tripped myself when it was my turn. For the rest of the time we were set up at four small tables, side by side, though, again, I was the only one actually sitting at my table, with everyone else sort of floating nearby. I chose the table with a Picasso-like picture of a girl with brown hair, because it looked like I felt, and sat behind a copy of Yeshiva Girl set up in a Lucite holder. It occurred to me that I should have made some kind of display – two crocheted dragons, maybe, like the YA Fantasy writer, or a blow up of the cover photo on the book, like the memoir writer – but, too late. All I had was me.

I was the newbiest of the newbies there, because the fantasy writer had been doing signings for her book since 2016, and the other two were classroom teachers, but I found that as long as I was able to sit down, and people could come over to me to ask their questions or tell me their stories, I did really well. I’ll have to practice my standing-and-speaking skills, though, for the future. People seemed to actually be interested in the premise of my book, which surprised me. I walk around assuming that no one will be interested in anything I have to say, though, of course, desperately hoping that they’ve been waiting all their lives just to meet and hear from me.

Each person I met had a story, or a thousand stories, to tell and I was awed by them and curious about them, and a little bit overwhelmed, as in, who’s going to notice my star in the midst of such a starry sky. I met a local humor columnist, who bought my book, and we talked about wanting to write mysteries, and the books we’ve read, and writing inspirations, and I had to be careful not to geek out too much and ignore the rest of the potential readers in the room. I met one woman who wanted to read my book, but was afraid it would be too painful, though she encouraged her friends to read it, and talked to me about the importance of people feeling safe to speak up and tell their stories. And there was a woman who’d gone to a tiny catholic school in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, way back when, and had plenty of stories to tell about the experience. And another woman who had worked for a Chassidic-run company and felt her otherness acutely.

I’d only started to get nervous two nights before the book signing event, and the anxiety only became acute that morning, with an internal voice telling me that it would all turn to shit, and I was completely unprepared, and I didn’t have the right clothes or makeup, and I would fall into a deep depression after the inevitable and complete failure.

But I did it! I signed books! I stood in front of strangers and presented my book! I didn’t hide under my bed – the way I wanted to – or pretend to be someone I’m not.

I sold four books and signed five (my aunt came with her own copy, and she stayed for the whole two hours for moral support! Yay Aunt Debbie!). And the woman who ran the event, Robin, one of the owners and the superstar event coordinator at Dolphin Books in Port Washington, NY, asked me to sign two extra copies for the store. Here’s hoping I get more chances to try it again, and next time bring one or both of the dogs for moral support, or to scream at people to buy Mommy’s book.

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“Let’s go, Mommy!”

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“Buy my Mommy’s book!”

I want to thank the other authors at the event:

A high school history teacher/coach (Billy Mitaritonna, Last of the Redmen: Memoir of a St. John’s Walk-on) who wrote about the power of perseverance, and said that the secret was in how his coaches and his father encouraged and supported him no matter how many times he failed. He said that his students were the ones who told him to write his memoir, to share his story with others because it had been so inspiring to them.

Then there was the Dragon Girl (Elana A. Mugdon, Dragon Speaker: The Shadow War Saga, Book One), who was brave beyond my capacity to imagine. She dressed as the protagonist in her young adult fantasy series, wearing a long white wig, in pig tails, a corset, and leather armor. Her protagonist is the only non-magical person in her world, and yet she is the heroine of the story.

The fourth author was a graphic designer (Beth Costello, The Art of the Process: establishing good habits for successful outcomes) with a workbook to help people through the process of design. She had the confidence of a practiced teacher, and the social media skills to have a roomful of supporters waiting to hear from her and buy her book (which meant that I had an audience too!).

I could have used a vat of chocolate frosting in the aftermath of the event, to soothe my frayed nerves, but as soon as we got home the girls needed to go out to pee and that helped with the depressurization process. They squealed their excitement at having their humans back home and raced around the yard with their famous author slash pooper scooper Mommy, and then we settled in on the couch to watch something silly and romantic on television. Overall a successful day.

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“Can we watch something else?”

If you haven’t had a chance yet, please check out my Amazon page and consider ordering the Kindle or Paperback version (or both!) of Yeshiva Girl. And if you feel called to write a review of the book on Amazon, or anywhere else, I’d be honored.

Yeshiva Girl is about a Jewish girl on Long Island named Izzy (short for Isabel). Her father has been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior with one of his students, which he denies, but Izzy implicitly believes that it’s true. Izzy’s father decides to send her to an Orthodox yeshiva for tenth grade, out of the blue, as if she’s the one who needs to be fixed. Izzy, in pain, smart, funny, and looking for people she can trust, finds that religious people are much more complicated than she had expected. Some, like her father, may use religion as a place to hide, but others search for and find comfort, and community, and even enlightenment.

 

 

 

About rachelmankowitz

I am a fiction writer, a writing coach, and an obsessive chronicler of my dogs' lives.

153 responses »

  1. Congratulations! I am so hear you are telling your story and being heard. My boys and
    I send you a huge, virtual box of chocolates to celebrate!

    Reply
  2. thecraftingsenior

    Congratulations, Rachel! I’m so happy for you. I also never doubted that you would do very well. First steps are the hardest. 😊❤

    Reply
  3. Congratulations! You inspire me to persevere in my own writing aspirations.

    Reply
  4. You are a noticed star in a starry sky! I predict more invitations and more books.
    If I weren’t 800 miles south of Long Island, or terrified of driving in snow I’d have been there.

    Reply
  5. The thing is that you got out there and you DID IT. Wrote the book, got it published and participated in a book signing. That’s amazing. For many people (myself included) that seems beyond possible. For me especially with the loss of my dear Hunydog. I’d love to read sometime how you coped after Butterfly. I know you had great support from your mother and from Cricket, but the pain of the loss is so incredible that at times I can’t function. And you’re the only person I know (in Blogland) who has suffered such a loss so recently. I now have adopted two other dogs, but I still find myself thinking about Huny and picturing her and I get saddened all over again. Congratulations on your success and if you choose to, I’ll await the Butterfly story. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Losing Miss B was hard and it took a year before we were ready for a new dog, even though I wanted to be ready sooner. I still find myself calling Ellie Butterfly, though it happens less and less over time. It helps to celebrate all of Ellie’s unique qualities and to see her in detail every day. But Miss B will always be with me, and I’m grateful for that.

      Reply
  6. Trust me, it gets easier each time you do it. Sounds as it it went fine.

    Reply
  7. Yay, Rachel! I was so looking forward to this post. Those other authors were newbies, too, and now…..you’re not! You did it and I’ll bet that Cricket and Ellie walk just a little bit prouder because their mom is a published author. Yes! Congratulations to you.

    Reply
  8. Be encouraged! Continue to tell your story. You have more courage than you think that you have. Well done, Rachel. Well done!

    Reply
  9. Congratulations on the book signing! I’m so glad it went well. 🙂

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  10. You did it! Congratulations.

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  11. Yes, take the dogs. You’ll sell more books but the customers would want their paw prints rather than your autograph.

    Reply
  12. Glad the signing went well. Now that you have one under your belt the next one won’t be so scary. Good job! *two thumbs up* 😀

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  13. Great job. It gets easier.

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  14. You functioned in a community of writers, and you deserved to be there. So happy for you to build your own scaffolding and stand on it and work. Kind of huge. You belong.

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  15. : tapping toes: …and where are Mom’s photos of this grand and happy event?

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  16. I’m so glad it went well!

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  17. Congratulations on your great accomplishment!

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  18. Margret Abbott

    Congratulations, I’m glad it went well.

    Reply
  19. Good job! Whew! It will get easier, I bet.

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  20. successfully marvelous
    journey of discovery 🙂

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  21. Well done. Signings like most public events become fun in the end.

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  22. Congratulations! So pleased that the signing experience was good. 🙂

    Reply
  23. thebookofjess7504

    Congratulations Rachel! I am so happy it went well! Have a great day!

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  24. Congratulations, Rachel! You’ve done really well. Hopefully, some of your readers will spread the word, encouraging others to read your book!

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  25. I knew you could do it, Rachel! Good job! (I love how you talk about how interesting some of the visitors’ stories were.)

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  26. I am so pleased for you that everything went so well! Hopefully the next signing will be easier as you’ve already done it now!

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  27. congratulations on publishing your book. Benji & I so pleased for you. Well done

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  28. Nice to hear how you were able to relax and converse with the visitors to the signing, Rachel. Like many things we fear in life, it turned out to be much better than you had expected. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Reply
  29. This is great. I love this journey you have been on.

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  30. Marketing gimmicks are nice, but you did the important thing — making connections with your fellow travelers, seeing each little but shining star you spoke with. I admire your courage and had no doubt that you would do a great job.

    Reply
  31. congrats and good luck on your book!

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  32. Such a cool experience to meet some of your readers. Congrats!

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  33. Congratulations! Proud of you for being strong and putting your great work out there!

    Reply
  34. So good to read about today. Congrats!

    Reply
  35. Good for you, Rachel! I am so pleased that your experience was such positive reinforcement that all the risks you’ve taken in getting your words out there were worth it. I’ve bought the book (it’s still in the Amazon box on my table!!) and very much look forward to reading it. You are an inspiration!

    Reply
  36. Glad the signing went well. Did your dog go too and if so how did she do?

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  37. Happy St. Patrick’s Day

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  38. I am so proud to know you!

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  39. Congratulations! And I am glad you overcame your anxiety that morning. Continue to dream big.

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  40. I felt that I had gone to the signing with you. I felt the anxiety before hand when you wrote about it and rejoiced with you as you succeeded. Who can stand for two hours anyway?

    Reply
  41. Yeah! You did it. The first time is always the hardest because you don’t know what to expect. Next time will be a piece of cake!

    Reply
  42. Congratulations on the successful signing – I have gone to several when I never sold a book so your sales were impressive!!
    Onward.

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  43. Congratulations, Rachel! Mazel tov! I have ordered the Kindle version of your book and I intend to write a comment on Amazon. Best to you and your family and take care!

    Reply
  44. Yay. I’m glad it went so well. I am glad you had a good time. It also sounds like you have ideas of what to work on for your next signing! That is awesome! With each signing you’ll feel better and better about doing them. 🙂

    Reply
  45. Forget about crocheting dragons and blowing up your book cover. Bring cookies and punch! Food always draws a crowd.

    Reply
  46. I’m looking forward to reading Yeshiva Girl…it’s on its way!

    Reply

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