First Book Signing (with a shaky hand)

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

I worked hard to finish my book in as little time as possible after we moved back from Sri Lanka because I wanted people to be able to talk with us about it while it was still fresh.

Land of Spice and Heat, a Fulbright Scholar's adventure in Sri Lanka was published (in print) just last month. The digital version is available through iBooks and Kindle. You can order the print version on

The book was published using the hybrid self-publishing company, and we are called "indie authors" by the publishing team. You do not pay to have the book published and receive royalties when copies sell.

It is certainly an interesting way to publish but it is a lot more work when you do it all yourself. You serve as your own editor, marketing specialist, and designer. I designed the cover of my book myself using a template. Obviously this method bypasses the need for an agent and the pitch process to "traditional" publishers. The publishing company gets a cut when the books sell but if you can't get through the design process, there's nothing to publish. That's the incentive to produce a good product.

I learned of this option from one of my mentors at the University of Tennessee. He has used Pronoun for several of his books and I thought that his description of the service was ideal.

I hosted 50 people at my first book signing a week ago. The event was a success and even the reading and question-answer session went well. I was especially excited to see that those in attendance were actually interested (or they pretended to be) and asked several well thought out questions.

James held a photo exhibit during the event to display and discuss some of the pictures he captured of the culture and wildlife in Sri Lanka. They were beautifully presented on easels on the exterior of the event space and people viewed them while sipping wine and enjoying Sri Lankan inspired appetizers.

I made all of the food myself and the chicken curry seemed to be a hit.

The event played out even better than I had hoped for in. All but eight copies of my book supply sold and many guests wanted them personalized in the signing. I found out that when you sign books for people you get to talk and spend a minute or two getting to know them. Our guests were interesting people and I was thrilled to learn more about my community, readers, and why they are interested in travel and Sri Lanka. One gentleman even has a daughter in the Fulbright program. Small world!

My hand shook a bit while I signed books because it was a first, I was nervous, and also high on adrenaline for realizing a goal. One foot in front of the other. Let's find a way to realize what motivates us and practice compassion for ourselves and others along the way.

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