So, tomorrow I have another book signing.
I love book signings. Not only do they afford me an opportunity to shop (especially relevant in the run-up to Christmas), they give me ample space for ministry.
And it is not just about selling books.
Don’t get me wrong. I like selling books. I like signing them for people or as gifts for loved ones. Selling copies of Surviving Singledom is a definite perk. (Yes, that was a shameless book plug.) I consider my book to be one part of my ministry.
But that is not my main focus at a book signing. Surprising, but true.
The main purpose of a book signing is to talk with people. I have had some of the most startling, inspiring, heart-wrenching and uplifting conversations with readers at book signings. I have prayed for people and had people pray for me. I have made friends with readers who have stayed in touch.
The main purpose is to talk with people.
What do you talk about at a book signing? Everything and anything. Given the subject of my book, we often talk about singledom and the highs and lows thereof. We usually talk about the church. We discuss God and the impact of singledom on faith.
Given that I am now writing a book about childlessness, conversations in a bookstore somehow drift in that direction too. We chat about relationships, mental health issues, illness, grief, joy and answered prayer. Virtually anything goes at a book signing.
Some readers return again and again to book signings. I get to know the people who are reading my book. I get to hear how it has moved them or changed them or inspired them. I get to listen to stories of how my book has travelled between friends and within families and to other countries.
I get the privilege of bearing witness to other people’s testimonies.
I get to bear witness to other people’s testimonies.
I think this is the most remarkable part of a book signing. Bearing witness to people’s struggles, hopes and faith journeys uplifts me in just the same way that I hope my words will uplift them. What I intended as help for others comes back to me in story form.
This is the amazing thing about God. He has given me a tiny little bit of ministry to do – writing Christian self-help (with a satirical twist) – and he takes care of the minds and hearts of the readers, meeting them where they are at today, bringing hope and laughter and peace where it is needed.
He brings hope and laughter and peace where it is needed.
And all I have to do is be there. Awake. Listening. Bearing witness.
As I prepare for tomorrow’s book signing at Koorong Penrith (shameless self-promotion number two), I look forward to meeting new friends and old. And I look forward to seeing what God is going to do.
See you there.
Have you been to a book signing before? What do you enjoy about them? What would you ask an author if you could meet one face-to-face? Share your story. Let’s have a countercultural conversation.