Earlier this month, I had the privilege of hopping over to the Buckhead area of Atlanta to meet up with author Susan Stockdale for Children’s Hour at Barnes & Noble, where she was scheduled to read and sign books.

Being fairly new to this position at Peachtree, I hadn’t been on the professional side of a book signing before, so I didn’t know what to expect upon my arrival. Sure, I had stood in line to get a book signed before, all the while contemplating the PERFECT thing to say during what always promises to be a four-second foray into how awkward I can possibly be (pretty darn, as it turns out, which is impressive given the time restraint!), but I had never had an actual role to play at a book event. I had never had a real reason for showing up early and hanging out late (though that never stopped me from doing just that…awkwardly). Pretty exciting stuff!

So, I figured this would be a perfect opportunity for me to delve into my exploits, to give everyone an insider’s look into the publishing world from a first timer’s point of view, to boldly go where, okay, probably lots of people have gone before!

Friends, I give you: “S is for Signings!”

This is Susan Stockdale. She is AWESOME!

Once I had navigated the somewhat intimidating streets of Buckhead and found our Barnes & Noble, I had no trouble finding Susan in the children’s section. Just as sweet as she always has been to me in emails and phone calls, she was her usual, happy, energized self. She’s truly a delightful person to work with!

There were already a few families gathered, anticipating story time with Susan and finding the best spot to snuggle down in for the hour. I heard announcements over the PA system that “Barnes & Noble’s Children’s Hour with Susan Stockdale will be starting in just a few minutes” and I thought to myself, “Wow, this is a real thing!”

When Susan began reading from her latest book, Bring On the Birds, the kids were immediately engaged. I’d never seen a more attentive audience of kiddos! They ate it up and absolutely loved it when Susan stood up to impersonate the birds in her book. She was a hoot! (No pun intended!)

She even brought along some of her paints and paintbrushes to show us all how she creates the illustrations for her books, which I thought was a really cool idea for story hour. I learned a lot and went home with the urge to start painting. I bet I wasn’t the only one who was inspired by her art!

We all had so much fun listening to Susan go through Bring On the Birds, Fabulous Fishes and Carry Me!, but all good things must come to an end, so we transitioned to the book signing portion of the morning. Everyone was so excited to have Susan sign and personalize books that we almost ran out of copies!
 


A young author shares his work with Susan — it was inspired by Bring On the Birds!



After every book was signed and Children’s Hour came to a close, the children’s section of Barnes & Noble looked just exactly as it had when I walked in. Only this time I looked around knowing that a bunch of kiddos had just seen some magic (because what’s more magical at that age than meeting a real, live author and having her write your name next to hers in a real, live book?). Plus, I had gotten over my fear of awkwardosity at book signings (unless you count standing in the back snapping pictures the whole time as awkward).

Thank you so much to everyone who came, and thank you to Susan for everything you do! (Check out her website for more info!)

Until next time, happy reading!


-E

*For more ‘P is for Publicity’ and behind-the-scenes posts, here are some past posts about seasonal mailings, submitting a manuscript, the slush pile, tips for publicists, tips for bloggers, cover design, the many types of editors, art direction, the acquisitions process and tips for reviewers