Monday, October 2, 2017

Book signing memorable for right reasons

The first-ever book signing for author Craig T. Greenlee
turned out to be a very special day. (Photo by Cynthia Greenlee)
A few years have passed since I wrote my first book. But even now, I can recall the excitement and sheer gratitude I felt on the day that I had my first-ever book signing event.

I had no idea what to expect. Looking back in retrospect, the timing and location couldn’t have been better – Homecoming Day 2011 at my alma mater, Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia.

Never a doubt

I never doubted that people would come out and show their support. What caught me by total surprise was the ongoing overflow of former schoolmates and well-wishers who showed up at the on-campus bookstore to get an autographed copy of November Ever After

The book is a collaborative account of the 1970 plane crash that killed most of the school’s football team. These collective recollections are told from the perspective of those who were left behind, which includes yours truly.

Pictures, daps and hugs -- just like a reunion

I spent about two hours signing books, taking pictures and exchanging hugs and dap handshakes. And then, all of a sudden, there were no more books -- sold out. By the time the last available book was purchased, the scheduled four-hour event still had 90 minutes remaining.

Even so, there were folks who hung around to talk about our college days and ask questions about the book’s future availability and where it could be purchased online. And while there were no more books that I could autograph, I did take care of quite a few requests to put my signature on the back of some promotional business cards that I brought with me.

No question about memoir's ability to engage readers

What I’ll always remember is the clear confirmation about the appeal that November Ever After has. Yes, it’s a story that revolves mostly around the black students who were in school at the time of the 1970 air tragedy. But there’s a whole lot more to the story than that.

This memoir touches hearts. If that wasn’t the case, there wouldn’t have been such a wide cross-section of people who took the time to attend the event. In talking to those who came out, I learned that their interest in the book had nothing to do with age, gender, culture, or race. 

The bottom line is that people like to read a good story. No doubt, November Ever After fits that category. That's what I've been told by those who have read the book. This is not about wishful thinking on the author's part. Go on the website, read the reviews and see for yourself what readers are saying. It's an undeniable testament that this memoir is a story whose time has come.

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