What I Learned from my First Book Events

(Spoiler: Community is Everything)


5/29/20245 min read

You could say I’m a newborn published author. I’m only a month old, after all. In those few weeks, I’ve been blessed by a launch party, a book signing, and a table at an amazing book festival.

Below are a few lessons learned that I couldn’t have anticipated a month ago, divided into tidy categories. If you’re a new author like me, The Practical will probably help you most. If you’re anyone else, read past The Practical because the sappiness builds.

The Practical

  • I learned I need someone to handle sales so I’m free to talk and sign. Chatting is my favorite part, by far! My husband, Brent, has the rest under control. (He is pictured below with his lanyard from our first book fest. The other side of the badge read "Author Support," so helpers could choose the most appropriate label for themselves.

  • A publisher actually likes it when you sell out of books and make a desperate call in the middle of an event to order more on speedy-delivery.

  • It’s important to be able to tune out the talk in the moment of the actual signing to avoid an embarrassing error because, you know … author. People expect us to know how to spell. Someone captured a true game face in the photo below (I'm pictured in it with Bev, one of the most inspiring women I've known).

  • Eat a lot before it starts, and make a plan to eat afterward (i.e., feed the person handling the sales as soon as possible). I recommend someplace really fancy, as depicted in this photo below.

The Surprising

  • I met an older gentleman in a wheelchair who introduced himself to me as “the man who single-handedly took down the Soviet Union” during his time with the CIA. I told him my book probably has nothing exciting to offer him, in light of his past; he agreed and didn't buy it.

  • I also met several people who had connections to Buckeye Lake’s old amusement park. One lady’s grandmother played piano in the Crystal Ballroom!

  • People bought books for people I wasn’t necessarily expecting, like a couple who stocked up for their lake cottage guests!

  • Okay, everyone LOVES the tiny books. You might recall the short video I made on Launch Day of my book being delivered at my dollhouse, as a joke. Anyway, I put some of those itty bitty books on display, and people are obsessed with them. If you’d like to know how to make your own tiny books in a couple of simple steps and minutes, please subscribe to my newsletter [button below post] … I’m going to do a tiny book DIY in the June newsletter!

The Heartwarming

  • My former students came out in droves to touch base and have me sign their books, and that got me. I mean, some of them are my students now, but others are married and were there with their kids. Or they’d sent their parents to buy them a copy because they couldn’t get there.

  • People brought me flowers!?! Didn’t see that coming.

  • Every one of my current student library aides attended my launch party on Prom day. Added to that is one of my middle school writing buddies who counted out money from his own wallet to buy a copy of my book for his mom.

  • I got to connect with old friends and colleagues I haven’t seen in so long, and my high school friends made a point of arriving together to support me. I loved meeting the book-loving daughter of an old high school classmate who came and introduced herself to me for the first time! Some friends and family drove out to Buckeye Lake because they couldn’t get to the launch party the week before. I was just beyond touched.

  • Some people came to all three events. My mom was among them, I think because she was so afraid no one would show up and she’d have to go out and drag people off the street so my feelings wouldn’t be hurt.

  • Many people with chaotic lives have also tracked me down on the path of my day to get me to sign their books in parking lots and driveways. My UPS delivery driver gave me extra money so I could give a copy to someone who couldn’t afford one.

The Take-Away

The most important thing I learned in my month of “authoring” is that community is everything.

  • There’s the community of people who love you, who bought a book or a pile of books without any idea if it was a book worth reading because they love you so much they can’t imagine it not being a book worth reading.

  • There’s a community of readers who don’t know you at all but who love books and stories. They’re proud to support people in their community writing them down, and they show up to make sure you know that.

  • There’s a community of fellow writers who are a branch of the readers - people excited to connect and talk craft. They want all of us to succeed!

The cheerleaders are all around us, and maybe sometimes you have to put a book out there to identify them all. They’re the people lifting others up every chance they get, and they show up to book events (and other random spots) to do that because that’s who they are. So far, they’ve been the very best part of publishing Pressed Together.

Thank you all.

Thank you, God, for them all.

Romans 12:10: “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”


Kim Garee is the author of the Together Series. Her first book, Pressed Together, is available now in paperback, eBook, and audiobook wherever books are sold. The next book, Packed Together, releases Dec. 1 of this year.