Sarah Walker On Book Signings, Blocked Shots, and Commemorative "Merch"

Publish date:

As previously promised, here is guest writer Sarah Walker, author of Really You've Done Enough, describing her experience book signing at the F&W booth during the Book Expo of America. My editorial comments are in blue, partially because I'm a boy but mainly because I enjoyed the Paul Walker (no relation) vehicle "Into the Blue".

I was totally unprepared for the BEA. When John, my editor, told me
that F+W was going to invite me to go I only had to hear the words
"expo" and "booth," two of my favorite words, to know that this would
be the raddest thing ever (Yes, I say "rad." Deal with it. Try it out,
you'll scoff at first then end up loving it.) (Kevin Alexander Comment: She also
frequently says 'gnarly' and 'drop it like its hot') My signing was
on Saturday, but I had already checked out the Expo enough on Friday
(as mentioned in the previous entry) to be sufficiently overwhelmed by
the entire affair. So Saturday morning I put on a short dress and then
changed because I felt trampy (KAC: I don't think you're technically
allowed to call a backless tube top a "dress"). So I put on a shorter
dress because one can never be too trampy whilst shilling ones wares
now can one? Young lady authors, remember that.

I met up with the F+W people at the booth and Greg Hatfield, the
publicist, revealed that they had made me merch! (Merch is my third
favorite word behind "expo" and "booth"). (KAC: Sarah inexplicably
only seems to talk in shortened words, catch phrases from the mid-90s
and emoticons.) So out come shot glasses with the TOW Books insignia
and website on them and the phrase, "Never Drink With Your Parents."
My words, emblazoned in ebony on what I can only assume are crystal
shot glasses! Dozens, nay, hundreds of them! (KAC: There were 9 shot
glasses) It was almost more exciting that seeing my book for the first
time in print. I'm totally serious. They even had Jack Daniels to
serve in the lovely shot glasses and a bartender named Holmes!!
Holmes! (KAC: I'm not sure why she insisted on calling him "Holmes".
The bartender's name was Seth.)

So at 3:30 Jason and I were stationed behind our booth, standing in
front of our books and shot glasses. Jason Roeder is the other author
out on the imprint. He's awesome. His book "Oh the Humanity!: A Gentle
Guide to Social Interaction for the Feeble Young Introvert" had me
laughing out loud (there has to be a shorter way to say that phrase)
in Penn Station whilst reading it, something that never happens as
Penn Station is the third to fourth level of Hell even though they
play classical music. Don't be fooled.

(KAC: I was there when Sarah met Jason. It went something like this:
Jason: Hi, Sarah right? It's really nice to finally meet you.
Sarah (offering him a low five): Slap me some skin!
Jason: Um, ok. (Jason goes to try and slap her hand and she quickly
pulls it back)
Sarah: Down low, too motherf*ckin' slow, b*tch!
Awkward silence ensues.)

Then the thundering hordes descended upon us. They lined up, took a
book, Jason signed his side, then they gleefully took a shot served by
Holmes (KAC: Seth) and tipsily handed me the book to sign. I definitely had the
better end of the deal, as the immediate effects of the Jack made them
smiley and happy.(KAC: Sorry, but this is incorrect. Jack Daniels never makes anyone "smiley and happy". Ornery, maybe, socially and emotionally destructive, yes...but smiley and happy?False.) They would scowl at Jason, take a shot and then all
but embrace me. That's basically true.

(KAC: To be fair, there were a surprising number of people waiting in
line. And because I'm a man of the people, I also stood in line to try
and see what it would feel like to not be so wealthy. Jason, for
whatever reason, inscribed my book twice, once to "Timothy" and once
to "Jimbo" while Sarah refused to sign it all, knocking it out of my
hands and smashing my shot glass into... A Million Little Pieces
(!!!?). Then she turned, toasted the bartender ("Mo' Money, Mo'
Problems, Holmes,") and took her seventh shot of the day. That was
the point when Greg, the publicist, began openly weeping.)

I would ask people if they wanted me to make it out to anyone (KAC: Towards the end of the signing, as the whiskey kicked in, Sarah began omitting the "it" and "to" from the phrase and inserting "with". I believe the combination of the misspoken phrase and her several unsuccessful attempts to crowd surf the book line were the reason the publicity photo shoot ended so quickly...)and I must've gotten at least ten mothers who would angrily say, "My son!"
and then have various stories about how their son is a
skateboarder/stoner/slacker who watches TV all day. I refrained from
commenting that that sounded like a pretty sweet life. (KAC: At
different times to different people, I heard Sarah describe her book
as "the written version of the board game Chutes and Ladders", "a dead
ringer for Candace Bushnell" and almost exclusively life lessons she'd
learned "from the oeuvre of Toni Braxton") Instead I assured them that
my book would solve all their problems and clear their credit card
debt and find them true love if they hadn't already found it. And give
them a more sensitive palate while simultaneously inspiring them to
travel to Spain. And I wasn't lying.

(KAC: A random snippet of convo overheard between the two authors:
Sarah: I'm sure you already know this, but I'm the leading shot
blocker in Amherst women's basketball history.
Jason: No, I didn't know that.
Sarah: And rebounder.
Jason: Wow, that's, um, that's quite an accomplishment.
Sarah: 160 blocked shots.
Jason: Mmmm.
Sarah (intently staring): Caitlin Farrell had 149.
Jason (avoids eye contact): .... (scratches his arm)
Sarah: Do you think she's prettier than me? )

The entire affair took about an hour and a half and it was one of the
more exhilarating experiences of my life to sign my book for shining,
drunken people, two of whom may or may not have been hobos. (KAC: They
were wearing "industry professional" badges, but that doesn't necessarily rule them out.)I also swiped about seven shot glasses. I gave one to my friend
that night and she lost it. She is no longer my friend. Just as you
will no longer be my friend if you don't buy my book. And if you're
thinking, "Sarah, I was never your friend and don't really feel like
being friends with you, you sound like kind of a jerk, plus I hear
that you're super tall," to that I say, "Fine. Then you may not get a
commemorative shot glass." Then you'll be sorry.

Question to ponder: Why did I watch all three hours of the 61st Annual
Tony Awards last night and at the end honestly say, "Wow, that flew

Kevin stole my idea for the last sign off so now I have none of my own,

(KAC: It's Just Another Sad Love Song Racking My Brain Like Crazy,


PS- Pictured Below: Bottom: Sarah at the BEA book signing, pictured with unidentified whiskey connoisseur employing the "lick" test to the complimentary Jack Daniels. Above:Sarah's college basketball team picture. She is on the far right in front rocking the Pompadour and Dri-Fit Sailor's Uni.

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