Nine years ago today I published my first book, A Time To Write. Below are the pictures from my very first book signing and an article later that month about my journey to becoming a self published author.
I remember Saturday March 20, 2010 like it was yesterday. It was the first day of Spring and the temperature was 72 degrees in the Camden/Philadelphia area. It was first day of a new season for me as well. It was the day I became a published author.
I chose the date March 20th even before the location was confirmed. Someone who worked as an event planner told me that was "not the right way to do it", that I should "always secure the venue first". But the previous November (2009) when I looked at the calendar for 2010 and I saw that the first day of Spring fell on a Saturday, I knew right away that would be the day for my book signing. The first day of Spring fit perfectly with the theme of my book, which is based on Ecclesiastes 3:1, "To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven." I felt that nudging in my spirit that you sometimes feel when you know God is trying to tell you something. So I set the date for March 20, 2010, and then set out to secure the venue.Once again, I did this in a rather unconventional manner.
Even though the location wasn't confirmed at that time, I also knew exactly where I wanted to have my book signing. Two years before that divine nudging about the date, I felt that same nudging when I first walked into The Walt Whitman Arts Center in Camden. It was early 2007 and a poet friend of mine invited me to an Open Mic at "The Walt". I had never been there before but the moment I walked in and started walking around, I felt something. When I sat in my seat, I felt something. When the poets started coming up on stage, I felt something. I remember looking around at the stage, the audience, the balcony and saying to myself "I'm going to have something here one day". I went back a few more times after that to sit in on poetry group meetings on the second floor and I was even more sure that someday I would have some sort of event in that building that had to do with poetry. So I wasn't surprised when I called the Walt Whitman Arts Center in December of 2009, and they told me that the date I inquired about (March 20th) was available. It may not have been the right order to plan an event, but I had no problems reserving the first floor for my book signing.
The day went off without a hitch. There's a saying "It takes a village". Well, it's true. My family and close friends helped tremendously with this event. After listening to me talk about my dreams of becoming an author for years, they helped make that dream come true. They manned the tables, took pictures, worked as hostesses, and even helped with finances and security. It was my daughter's idea to do the day in "rounds" consisting of signing books, taking pictures, and reading from my book. When I wasn't on stage reading there were "rounds" of a slide show presentation, live music, and performances by the other poets. The weather was so nice that after some people purchased their books, they went outside to read, take pictures and just enjoy the sunshine. The presence of friends and church members who have supported me throughout the years made the day complete. My son couldn't be there because he was recuperating from surgery, so as soon as we wrapped things up we went to see him. As he laid in his hospital bed he was introducing me to all the nurses who came in his room and showing them my book.
As the day came to a close, I was both overwhelmed and excited. Three people had already asked me to come to their church to do a book signing. Others kept asking me what was next. My next dream was to see my book on the shelf of my favorite bookstore: CLC (the following year that became a reality). Also, I have a few more books to publish, but once I've published all of my books, I want to help other people publish their books (that eventually became a reality as well).
March 20th will always hold a special place in my heart. It was the first time I realized that God not only answers prayers, He also makes dreams come true.
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