I didn't know that Doubleday was going to send me anywhere. I mean, we'd talked about it way back -- the general idea of it. But where do you send someone like me? I'm not a household name. If the people who call out food order pickups at literally every place I've ever been are anything to go by, then it's a safe bet that a lot of people can't even say my name. Never in a million years did I think that I'd be sent to Comic Con.
If I'm being honest, I was nervous. This was to be my first proper book signing. I've signed books before, of course. It took me about two hours to sign all the copies of Penpal that I shipped to my Kickstarter backers. This event was only going to be half as long, but strangely enough, it wasn't in my living room with Peep Show playing in the background. This was going to be in front of people . . . if I was lucky.
I mean there's no guarantee for something like that, right? That anyone will be interested enough to stop by, much less wait if a queue materializes. I'll step out of a line for the bathroom and override my whole biological imperative. So, out of the hundreds of booths and vendors downstairs, someone's gonna stop by to see me? Plus, I'd heard rumors that there was actually a whole second story to the Convention Center, so that reduces my chances by at least half. Thanks, building.
I'd told myself in the days leading up to the Con that it wouldn't be a big deal either way, that I'd be fine with sitting at the booth for an hour, even if I didn't sign a single book. I sit on the couch for hours on end, my movements imperceptible to basically anyone. Like, I keep my curtains closed so my neighbor doesn't think I've died when he passes by and I still haven't budged. I bought a new chair for my desk because my old one wasn't comfortable enough to sit in for longer than a human is meant to sit. I could handle an hour at a booth.
The Convention Center had only been open for a little over an hour when I got there. It was 10:15, my signing was at 10:30, and the place was already teeming. The Penguin Random House booth was pretty much right in the middle of the first floor, and as I made my way toward it, I realized that of course I'd deluded myself and that I cared very much.
And it wasn't just for the sake of my own ego. A lot of people had put in a great deal of work to make this happen. More coordination than I could ever manage had gone into setting everything up, and even though my signing was just a small part of it, I don't want to waste anyone's time.
Oh well. Nothing to be done but sit down and see what happens.
I don't know what I'm saying there. I assume I'm saying something. I hope so anyway; otherwise I gotta be more mindful of what I do with my face when I'm not using it. Maybe I was saying, "holy fucking shit," because that's what I was thinking.
Thanks largely to the efforts of Michael Goldsmith (the Assistant Director of Publicity at Doubleday) and the rest of the Penguin Random House staff who worked the convention, I didn't have a moment's peace at that booth. From the time the first person stepped up, I was signing copies of Bad Man and stealing sips of water. It was more than I ever expected and more than I thought I deserved.
A few people even asked for me to pose for pictures, which was pretty--wait a second. Enhance.
No. Not that way, idiot.
Penpal! Two people brought their copies of Penpal for me to sign. I can't tell you how cool this was for me. First, I never see this book out in the wild, because it's not stocked in more stores. Second, what this means is that two people who were already attending the convention went through the trouble of remembering to bring their copies and find their way to my booth during the hour I was there. You can't really know how much that means to me.
I think I would have had a great time if even a handful of people showed up. That there was much more than a handful still makes me smile. The whole thing from beginning to end was surreal. To those of you who came by: thank you. To those who didn't but wanted to: thank you. To those who didn't and didn't want to: what are you even doing here?
I hope I can do something like this again. It was great to meet some fans and hopefully make some new ones. Maybe you'll see me around your area sometime. I'm a professional, after all. I've got a tag that says so.