Sometimes you have to laugh

Published 9:23 am Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The last few weeks have been extremely busy, and I am definitely learning as I go. A couple of things have become very clear to me in the world of book signings and such. One thing is “Don’t take yourself too seriously.” The second is “Have a sense of humor because you will probably need it.”

When I received the exciting news that I had a story coming out in “Chicken Soup for the Soul” I was thrilled. Soon I had a publicist emailing me and encouraging me to set up book signings. Of course, I knew this was all about upping the sales of their book, but I was honored nonetheless.

MeLinda’s Fine Gifts hosted my very first book signing, and nervous is much too innocuous a word to encompass the enormity of my feelings. I felt like a senior in high school in the ‘70s with no date for the prom!

Back in the day it was not proper etiquette to ask a guy out. The most we did was give a little hint to a friend. It went like this:

“Hey Tom, I think that friend of yours, Richard, is really a cute. “

“Really? I’ll tell him you said so.”

“Oh no! Don’t do that!”

Then, if we got a phone call from Richard we could act surprised.

Funny, the games people play, but I digress. Anyway, I was worried for nothing. Many of my friends, family and even some strangers came out in support of the local SPCA and me. Since it was such a blessing to be selected for my first national publication I decided to donate the proceeds to charity. I felt delighted to be able to bless the local SPCA with a pretty good check.

A large chain bookstore in a major city that will remain anonymous hosted the next book signing for me. This one was just for goodwill and to get my name out there a little bit. It was on Saturday past, and I was not nervous at all. I had one under my belt so I was really looking forward to greeting people and perhaps signing a few books.

My make-up had been painstakingly applied, and I picked out an outfit that said “author.” When I strolled somewhat importantly into the store and looked around I noticed there was not a display of the book I was in. There were no posters about. Beginning to wonder if I had the correct day or place, I rechecked my schedule.

When I requested the manager and told one of the clerks who I was and why I was there I realized something was amiss. By this time I was beginning to get a little agitated. The manager apologized over and over when he realized that he had not only forgotten to set up, but he had also forgotten to order the books! We rescheduled for a couple of weeks out.

After my initial shock I just had to see the humor in it. The manager was young and inexperienced. He tried to overcompensate by ordering way too many books for the next signing.

Long story short, while Mike and I were chuckling over a late lunch I called the manager and suggested he not order quite so many books since I was not well known in his city. I also talked to him about how my first book signing had been handled. This young man seemed so grateful that I wasn’t mad and listened attentively to my advice. What could have been an unpleasant day turned out just fine.

Some days you just have to laugh.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at