CAN Author Event

Last Saturday, I attended a CAN author event at Calvary Chapel in Chino, California. I almost turned down the offer. After all, my new book isn’t scheduled for release until January. And that book is Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors—not the type of thing that’s likely to sell well to the general public. But Chino is close to where I live. And the director of the event said I could bring promotional material for my book. So I accepted. 

Kathy ChristmasWhen I woke up on Saturday morning, I got a nosebleed. I never get those! And it lasted quite a while. I was sure I’d be late.

Somehow, I managed to get out of the house on time. Shortly after getting off the freeway, I saw a stone marker announcing the entrance to Calvary Chapel. Yea! 

After parking, I headed for the main building. Near the entrance, I noticed a hearse at the curb. As I approached the front door, I heard soft, solemn music. In the foyer stood a couple of people dressed in black, handing out small programs and a photograph, silently directing folks to sign a guest book. Boy, was I in the wrong place!

Seeing no alternative, I tentatively approached one of the greeters. Before she could hand me a program and photo, I asked in a hushed tone if she knew where the author event was being held.

Her forehead knotted. “This is a funeral,” she whispered.

“I know,” I said in an apologetic tone. “But I’m supposed to be at a Christmas bazaar, with a breakfast, a special speaker, caroling, cookies …”

I flinched at her stern expression. She told me there was a directory in the courtyard. I hurried off.

I found a small table and asked one of the people manning it if this was the author event. “You must be looking for Calvary Chapel Chino Valley,” she said. “That’s down the street, north a few blocks.”

Feeling mortified again, I hustled out to my car, wondering, Which way is north? And how far should I go?

if I found her at all. 

I finally got to the right Calvary Chapel. Spotting a long line of people going into the main building, I headed that way. A woman stood near the end of the line, facing my direction. When I neared her, she asked, “Kathy Ide?”

“Yes!” I breathed a huge sigh of relief when she introduced herself as Kari, the director of the event. “Sorry I’m so late.”

 “Don’t worry. You’re fine. The breakfast isn’t over yet.” She handed me my ticket and graciously introduced me to some other lovely ladies.

I didn’t bother mentioning my nosebleed. But I did say that I’d gone to the wrong Calvary Chapel at first. They assured me the mistake happens often. Kari asked if there was an event over there that morning. “Oh, yeah,” I said. “A funeral!”

Do these things only happen to writers? I wondered.

Finally where I belonged, I had a wonderful time. I met up with two fellow authors who’d been at a CAN book signing in Hemet with me last year: Karen Kosman and Joanne Bischof. After a delicious breakfast, I listened to the guest speaker, spent a few dollars at the bazaar, then went to the church’s bookstore for the signing and caroling. And chocolate-chip cookies.

I didn’t have a book to sell. I didn’t give away a single promotional card. But I had a great time. And a couple of people mentioned they’d like to have me do some editing for them.

Would I call this event “successful” from a professional perspective? You bet. Because in our industry, it’s not about the number of books sold. It’s about relationships. And I made and renewed some wonderful ones there. Will those relationships ultimately result in more book sales for me? Or in new editing clients? Who knows!

God does, of course. And since He’s in charge of my PR, I can rest in the knowledge that He will do whatever He wants to with this event.

Even if I don’t get any book sales or new editing clients, I’m really glad I went to that event. And in spite of getting a nosebleed, going to the wrong location, and almost crashing a funeral … if an opportunity like this came up again, I’d say yes in a heartbeat.

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Don’t miss out on the contest I am running for the release of my new book, 
Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors. For eight weeks, I’m posting on this blog a question about proofreading. The most interesting answer I get for each question will win a free copy of my book! To see the previous five questions and details on how to enter the contest, click here.