It’s Sunday, July 6, 2014. I’m at Old Faithful Inn signing copies of the Yellowstone edition of Who Pooped in the Park? People show up in spurts here. When the Old Faithful geyser is about to erupt, the lobby is almost empty. Right after the eruption, it teems with people. The cell service here is spotty at best (doesn’t work for me at all), so I’m jotting down thoughts in my notebook when I’m not busy. Here’s a sampling of them.
- Hmmm. There’s no WiFi here. I think I’ll set up a WiFi hotspot on my cellphone. I did this last year, too. Every time someone turns on their phone/iPad/computer and looks for a WiFi network, they’ll see this:
- That woman was headed right for my table. She made eye contact. She looked at the sign. She looked at the books. And then her friend stopped her and pointed out something else. HEY! What are you doing? That’s a potential sale right there. Don’t distract her!
- This is probably the strangest thing I’ll hear today. A couple walked up and the man said, “You might want to file a police report. My wife wants to steal that radiator in the hallway.”
- Approximately 34,000 people have walked up to my table and asked me when Old Faithful will erupt next. Here’s a picture of me at my table. Want to guess when the next eruption is? As Bill Engvall might say, “Here’s your sign.”
- If you buy a fountain drink in the deli, they offer free refills all day! That works nicely when you’re sitting in the lobby for 6 hours (today) or 8 hours (tomorrow).
- Sometimes, when I say “howdy,” people respond and walk over to the table to see what’s going on. Sometimes they:
Carefully avoid eye contact,
Say, “I already bought one,” and keep moving,
Find a quick distraction (“ooh, shiny!”), or
Nod and walk faster.
- Fashion faux pas of the day: a checkered cowboy shirt with a bright multicolored bowtie.
- Closing my day with a smile. A young lady (high school? college? I can’t tell anymore) walked up and looked at my book sign. She then looked at me, said “Who Pooped in the Park?”, threw her hands in the air, did a little curtsy, and in a perfect Valley Girl voice, said “eeeeeverybody!”
- My first customer of the day bought one book. The second customer bought two. The third customer bought four. The pattern broke there. I was hoping it would continue. Twenty customers and I could retire. Don’t bother me with logistics.
- A woman walked by with her son (Or somebody else’s 12-year-old. I don’t know.) and said, “Who Pooped in the Park? Is his name in it?” I responded, “It could be!”
- I have a sign on the table saying “100,000 copies sold” (referring to the Yellowstone edition — the whole series is pushing 400,000 copies now). A family bought a book, and as they were walking away, one of the kids turned to me and said, “Now you can change your sign to say 100,001 copies sold!”
- Book signing tip: Don’t make assumptions about who looks like they’ll buy a book. That high school girl could have a little brother. That big burly biker could be a grandfather. Every single person that walks by the table is a potential customer.
- I have a bunch of thoughts about something I’ll call the “intimidation zone,” but I’m going to save that for its own post.
- This lobby is one of the coolest places in the world to sign books.