An Event: Meeting Fans and Enticing Readers

I can’t say I was mobbed by fans at my book signing at Old Faithful Inn, but I did meet enough of them to confirm that the species exists.  My favorite was a young man (about 15, I suppose) who asked, “Did you write this book?  Can I get a picture with you?”

Waiting for readers in front of the sign predicting the next time Old Faithful will play.

Second place goes to a guy a little older who said, “I started your book on the way up; it’s great. If I go and get it from my car, will you sign it.”

“Sure, I’ll be here all day,” I replied. The lobby emptied for the next eruption and I made my way up to the observation deck to watch Old Faithful play. When I returned, he was waiting at my table with a beat up copy of Adventures in Yellowstone.  I signed it with a flourish. When I handed it back, he smiled and shoved it into his backpack.

“What’s the book about?” was the most common question I got (aside from “When does the geyser go off?”)  The best answer seemed to be: “It’s a dozen first-person accounts of travel to Yellowstone Park in the Nineteenth Century.” Then I’d add: “real adventure stories—encounters with Indians, falling in geysers, watching bears fight.”  If I held people’s attention for all that, I usually made a sale.

A lot of people asked: “Where did you get the stories?”

“Lot’s of places,” I’d say, “libraries, archives, magazines, books, the Internet; I have more that 300 of them and these are the twelve very best.” Sometimes that cinched a sale; sometimes people said they’d think about it, and, sometimes, they’d just walk away.

A couple of parents asked if they’re were stories they could read to their children. For adventure I suggested Ernest Thompson Seton’s tale about watching a momma black bear fight a grizzly, and for humor, The Earl of Dunraven’s hilarious description of how to pack a mule.

Some people didn’t need any arm twisting.  One boy flipped open the table of contents and announced loudly: “It’s got Truman Everts’ story [about being lost alone in the park for 37 days]; I gotta have this book.”

A little later, a girl methodically sampled the book reading sections here and there.  Then she put it back on the table and marched away.  A few minutes later, she returned with her father in tow. “I never turned my daughter down when she wanted to buy a book,” I said.  “Me neither,” he replied with a smile.

This girl was among the several people—mostly youngsters and teachers—that I handed my business card and asked to email me their reactions to my book.  I hope I hear from them.


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