Author Betty Dravis

Being as publicity conscious as the next author, it always delights me when I see a stranger reading one of my books. The publishing industry has changed drastically since my first novel was published in 2000. I’ve been pleased to see how creative authors have gotten in finding unusual places to hold book-signings…or actually, the places have probably found us (since we are normally invited to give signings). 🙂

Since I asked a number of authors to share a story about an unusual book-signing location, it’s only fair that I start this session off. And by unusual, I mean any signing not held within the hallowed walls of a bookstore. Well, here goes…

I must say, I got a rush when I saw a man reading my first book, Millennium Babe: The Prophecy, on the Capitola beach. It was all my friends could do to restrain me from trudging through the hot, burning sand, offering to sign it. But I didn’t…

That would have been a bit unusual, but looking back, I think the most unusual place where I held a signing was at a Trinity Networks Team (TNT) Christian luncheon in Modesto, about a half-hour from my current residence. I was invited to be guest speaker at the luncheon by TNT founder J.P. Hurlbert whom I met through Stan Countz who is a promoter, poet, publisher, etc. Countz is another high achiever featured in our book Dream Reachers II.

I truly enjoyed the luncheon meeting/signing because J.P. led the guests in opening prayer and Stan Countz sang and played a little Gospel music. It was, indeed, an unusual venue for a book-signing, but it was tons of fun. My joy was made complete by David Sings who videotaped my presentation for a lengthy YouTube.


Dr. Niamh Clune Has ‘Hit & Run’ Signing in the Irish Dail

When Betty Dravis asked me if I had any amusing book-signing stories to share, one immediately sprang to mind. In my capacity as an environmental campaigner, I was meeting the Minister for the Environment in the Irish Dail (equivalent to the Houses of Parliament). I was in serious mood, fired up for the challenges of the day, poised and ready to fight my corner.

Prior to the meeting, I sat in the Private Member’s bar, drinking tea with some friends. A little wrinkled, toothless man shuffled up to me and said, “Are you the Niamh Clune…” and trailed off, leaving the question suspended between us, a paused moment of seemingly tremendous importance.

He doffed his cap. I couldn’t help but notice his appearance. His trousers were folded over his belt. The legs of them were too short and riding up his calves.  He looked incongruent in such a lofty place as the hallowed ancient building that housed the Irish Parliament.

But I was used to such things in Ireland. And nobody else seemed to think his appearance strange, so I answered, “I am Niamh Clune, but depends on who is looking for me!”

He looked up, nodded his head and remarked how that had been a wise response. He shuffled from one foot to the other. He placed his cap on the table, and like an Irish version of Columbo, scratched the side of his forehead slowly, then pulled on his earlobe and asked gently, “Are you the Niamh Clune from Co. Clare?”

“I am,” I said.

“And do you write books?”

“I do,” I answered.

“Now I have ya,” he grinned, and produced a scrunched-up serviette from deep within his trouser pocket. “Put it there,” he said, handing me the napkin and a chewed pencil.

I must have looked clueless. He urged, “Go on, go on… Put your signature there! Sure I’ll keep it as a memento.”

I did as I was bidden whilst struggling with the thick-leaded pencil on the flimsy serviette.  I gave it to him. He looked very pleased, picked up his hat and wandered off. I called after him, “Which book have you read?”

He paused, turned slowly and said, ”Now I didn’t say I had read any of them, now did I? But I did know your mother, and very fine she was too!”


Slushie, Hot-dog…and Shane Moore’s book, please…

 One of my publishers was friends with the owners of the 7-11 chain in Saint Louis. They were testing the market, so they asked if they could schedule a signing of his best-selling writer at their stores.

He volunteered my services, so there I sat in a 7-11 store, signing books from 11am to 4pm. These books were sold with slushies and hot-dogs… (laughs) I was pleased, though, because I sold ninety-six books. That has proven to be a retail record; no bookstore in my career has ever topped that.


Auto Dealer ‘Parties Hardy’ for Collette Scott’s Books

Okay, my most unusual book-signing was at an automobile dealership, Camelback Toyota in my town of Phoenix, Arizona. They were kind enough to have me out there with a DJ and a local restaurant to serve their customers. It was a huge PR blast for the customers. I signed forty books, with donations taken for a local children’s safe-house charity. It was so much fun. There are pictures on my website and Facebook page.


Author Chris Thrall Surprised by Success…

 I’ve got my upcoming launch in a nightclub. I often go to this club, but I never thought for a minute I would be signing my book in it! As for signing, it’s just a weird experience full-stop– signing a book for anyone! Perhaps the strangest place so far is in my workplace for colleagues… Sorry I haven’t got a funnier story!


Jodie Brownlee Finds Fan While Traveling

 You asked where was the most unusual place I signed a book. It was on a train in my hometown on my way to visit a friend. I hadn’t lived there for over twenty years and was unknown in the area so it was a surprise to see a nearby passenger reading my book. For a few moments I just enjoyed the sensation that comes when you see someone reading your book. Then I plucked up the courage to tell her that I was the author. She couldn’t believe it. I told her I grew up in her town (a small semi-rural suburb of Australia) and I signed her book. Then we arrived at the station and went our separate ways, both beaming. It was a lovely encounter.


Children’s Pirate Books Author Signs in 1874 Lighthouse

The St. Augustine lighthouse is the most unusual location where I hold book-signings. It’s an active lighthouse on the north end of Anastasia Island, within the current city limits of St. Augustine, Florida and was built in 1874. I also wrote a fair amount of the first draft of my first book in the shadow of that lighthouse in a grove of live oaks on the grounds. Also two chapters of Bad Latitude take place in that lighthouse and my books sell like crazy in their gift shop.

Re: another blog you wrote, Mark LaFlamme’s answer to your question about what authors wear while writing was pretty much what I would have expected. He’s a nut… (For the record, I wear t-shirts, cargo shorts and flip-flops most of the times, especially when I write.)

Now there’s a picture of me on my blog with my grandson that you might get a kick out of. He thinks I’m a pirate and tells his classmates that I’m famous, so in anticipation of his visit, I let my beard grow long…for the sake of the picture. Naturally, my wife Deb was happy to see it trimmed hours after the photo was taken. (Endnote from Dravis: I decided to use the photo that Dave’s referring to in the following montage. He does make a convincing pirate, doesn’t he?)