Monday, September 22, 2008

ACFW meeting: Mall of America book signing

Kay and I returned yesterday from three whirlwind days at the annual meeting of the American Christian Fiction Writers. There are so many things to relate, but some of them will require a bit of reflection. I think I'll start with an event that I suspect represents a record of some sort: the mass book-signing at Mall of America.

On Saturday, well over 100 authors who write for the Christian market boarded buses and made the trip from our convention hotel to Mall of America. I'm not unfamiliar with large malls. After all, I'm from Texas, and we have a number of them here. But this was sort of different. For those of you unfamiliar with this gigantic mall, it's not big...it's BIG. It has an amusement park inside, if that tells you anything. And on Saturday there were a bunch of people in the mall.

We were set up in the rotunda and along one hallway, the tables butted together and back-to-back, a sea of authors sitting with display copies of their books, most with free bookmarks, many with candy and freebies. Some of the better-known authors took the stage in the rotunda to speak for brief periods. Most of us just sat at our tables and smiled as folks walked by.

The idea was for people to buy our books at Barnes & Noble, then bring them to an author for an autograph. However, selling or signing books wasn't the chief purpose. We wanted the people in the mall to see what Christian authors looked like. There we were, young and old, every ethnic group represented, physicians and biophysicists sitting side-by-side with housewives and even a few students. We talked to lots of people. We let our writing and our lives witness. And if we reached even one or two of the multiple hundreds who stopped by, it was worth it.

I autographed a few books, talked with a lot of people, got to know the authors around me better, and felt privileged to be in the company of some high-powered writers. All in all, it was a great experience.

I'll post later this week about some of the things that happened to me at the meeting--good things, things that may be the first stirrings of a major boost to my writing future. Stay tuned.

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