Friday, October 19, 2012

I Came, I Signed, I Ate a Bag of Chips

Storefront of Illusive Comics & Games. If you look closely, you can see a row of my books in the window announcing the signing. Nice promotional hustle!

You never know what you're gonna get at a book signing. Some writers are guaranteed to draw a crowd out the door anytime and anyplace; I am not one of them. I've never had literally nobody show up, but I can't remember an instance when a line at my table was any longer than, oh, say, three deep. The nice thing about being unpopular is I get the opportunity to really spend time talking to my readers, who are often passionate about my work (true for both books, which makes for some challenging gear-shifting) and smart, interesting people.

Quality > Quantity.

In light of that experience and standard, Wednesday's signing at Illusive Comics & Games in Santa Clara, Calif., was a very good one. Owner Anna publicized the event well both online and on site, managers Perry and Steve were fine and friendly hosts, and we sold about equal numbers of my books to folks who seemed happy to be there. Wednesdays are when the new comics arrive, so they had a steady stream of regular customers coming in to pick up their weekly fix. At the same time, half the store was turned over to gamers who huddled around three or four tables in the back. The joint was jumping.

Steve and Perry took good care of me. If you put their names together you get the lead singer of "Journey." They're probably sick of hearing that but I just figured it out.
They set me up right inside the front door. When I didn't feel I was getting enough attention, I could stick my feet under the table and trip customers as they came in.

I finally met Tim Schmidt, who corresponded with me about WHTTWOT and shot some photos of my book posed in the offices of his employer, Intel (I'm not seeing an obvious way to link to those photos, so you should go "Like" my WHTTWOT Fan Page on Facebook and then find them in the "In the Wild" Album yourself). Tim designs microchips, helping make all our Worlds of Tomorrow come true. In fact, he worked on the very Pentium chip I used as the basis of my Future Superchip in the last chapter of the book. That's cool! Tim is a friend I'd never met in the flesh (funny how many of those we all have these days), so I really appreciated him coming by.
Tim: Taller than expected.
Also surprising me were my friends Tina and Walter, with their son Kevin and service dog Loken. Tina and I became friends in college when we lived on the same dorm floor our freshman year. That was way back in the 20th Century. We both graduated, went our ways, lost touch, had careers and kids, and then reconnected through Facebook a few years ago. It was terrific to see them again.

With Walter and Tina. I didn't know Walter 30 years ago, but I bet he's changed a lot since then. Tina hasn't.

As much as I enjoyed seeing Tim, Tina and Walter, in addition to meeting new folks like John, Adam and Al, the night's highlight for me was being surprised by my daughters. Robin and Laura live about an hour away in San Francisco--in fact, I'd just taken them to dinner the night before--but they had some family business in the South Bay and came just to see the bafflement on my face as they walked through the door. Bafflement achieved!

Robin, me and Laura: Three-fifths of the WHTTWOT creative team (you may recall that my girls and two of their friends did a lot of digital coloring for me). I approve of Laura's sweater.
My thanks to Anna, Steve and Perry (now I'll have "don't stop...believin'..." stuck in my head all day), all my friends and family who came by, and especially all the people I didn't know before who came by. I'm grateful!


Mike said...

I didn't click on this and I didn't read it. Just wanted you to know.

Brian Fies said...

You're a strong man, Mike.

Tim said...

It was great meeting you, Brian! And thanks for the awesome sketches in my copies of your books!

Also nice to see your lonely blog getting some love. :)

Brian Fies said...

Well, thanks again to you, Tim! And shed no tears for the blog ... I'll always have something to blather about and it gets enough visitors to make it worthwhile, even if they don't always comment or I can't post as often as I'd like.

IllusiveAnna said...

No one has ever made the Journey comment and now that song is stuck in my head. I'll make sure Steve and Perry also get the song stuck in their heads.

I'm glad you had a good time!

John Taber said...

Ditto. It was really nice meeting you and talking about our kids. Take care and keep tellin' stories.

Brian Fies said...

Anna and John, thanks again! I did have a good time, Illusive is a great shop. All my best...