My First Book Reading

I had a book signing at Barbara’s Bookstore tonight! Let me thank those who came to the event (old friends and new ones); it was great to have an audience there!

Here’s something that made my day when I walked into the store:

Bookshelf

How cool! The book is on a bookshelf!

But what that right under it…? Son of a… it’s The Secret! I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Anyway, I learned a number of things based on how the event went:

  • I need to read shorter pieces at book readings.
  • I was debating what to read for quite some time. I narrowed it down to a few parts of the book. Then I figured I’d read two of my church-visit stories. Finally, I decided to read one church-visit story and an excerpt from a blog entry I wrote. In any case, both pieces I read should have been condensed. They were way too long…

  • I shouldn’t read at all at book readings.
  • I should just tell stories instead. There are many things that didn’t make it into the book that are plenty amusing. And people can read the book on their own, anyway. Not to mention the Q & A portion of the evening was *really* interesting.

  • I need something interesting to write when signing books.
  • It’s not always possible to write a message at all, but when I can, I’d like to write something more memorable than “I hope you enjoy this book.” This is easy to do when I can talk to the person, but if people are in line, and I don’t get to have a short conversation with them, signing my name just gets old fast. What’s something short and catchy I can write in addition to that?

Speaking of signing things, on a random personal note, when Ken Jennings was making his incredible run on Jeopardy! a couple years ago, I wanted his autograph. So I sent him a self-addressed stamped envelope with a picture to sign and a suggestion of what to write. He obliged. I now have a paper signed by Ken that reads “Hemant, I’m so glad I didn’t have to go up against you! — Ken Jennings” :)


[tags]atheist, atheism, Barbara’s Bookstore, The Secret, Ken Jennings, Jeopardy![/tags]

  • Logos

    Hemant, you would have kicked Ken Jennings ass!

  • http://www.nullifidian.net/ nullifidian

    From the picture you posted, it looks like the label underneath your book reads “Discover new ways to share your faith”. Is your book being used as a “how-to improve your witnessing” guide?

    Congrats on the release though! I’ll get it as soon as it’s exported over the pond.

  • http://bjornisageek.blogspot.com Bjorn Watland

    Maybe you could draw a small sketch, or say something like, Don’t Stop Reading! It can be difficult to come up with a blanket message. If you say something like, don’t stop searching for the truth, that may offend people who have made up their minds one way or another. Maybe you could just sign it, The Friendly Atheist, or some sort of tag line, or depending on where the signing is, say Go Bears!

    Could you have imagined two years ago worrying yourself about what you would write at a book signing?

    In Minnesota, the story plan worked really well. While the book plays off as a long story, some sections are really complete, more of a conversation between you and the computer, rather then between you and a group of people. Yo have plenty of anecdotes to fill up a book talk. Plus, if people think your speech is interesting, that’ll make them want the book. That isn’t to say that people wouldn’t like a reading from the book, but just telling a story feels more natural.

    Good luck with future events though, you have a really good message. After reading Sam Harris, I had this irrational hatred for all things religious. I cringed when I saw a church. I wanted to blame everyone going to church on Sunday for the war in Iraq, and all past wars. “It’s your fault because you let fundamentalism happen!” Christians speak out against war. There are level headed believers.

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    After reading Sam Harris, I had this irrational hatred for all things religious. I cringed when I saw a church. I wanted to blame everyone going to church on Sunday for the war in Iraq, and all past wars. “It’s your fault because you let fundamentalism happen!”

    Wow!

    They should put this on the back cover of his books. :)

  • http://www.conversationattheedge.com/ Helen

    Hemant, pretty soon you will be an expert at book reading/book signing! I’m sure it just takes a little practice, like so many other things in life.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com FriendlyAtheist

    From the picture you posted, it looks like the label underneath your book reads “Discover new ways to share your faith”. Is your book being used as a “how-to improve your witnessing” guide?

    The label does say that. The book is published by a Christian book company, and it is primarily marketed toward Pastors and churchgoers. It’s not so much about evangelism though, as it is about ways to discuss one’s religion without condemning/turning off people on the other side of the fence.

  • http://www.skepchick.org writerdd

    > about ways to discuss one’s religion without condemning/turning off people >on the other side of the fence.

    For many evangelical Christians, that is just a sneaky way to “witness”, however, after reading your book, I do think it will give at least some Christian readers pause to think.

  • Becky Robinson

    Hemant:

    Congratulations of the book, book signings, press, etc. I received my copy today and plan to start it on my plane to Boston tomorrow!

    I’m sure we can brainstorm this weekend and find a witty tag line for you to sign.

  • http://www.nullifidian.net/ nullifidian

    The label does say that. The book is published by a Christian book company, and it is primarily marketed toward Pastors and churchgoers. It’s not so much about evangelism though, as it is about ways to discuss one’s religion without condemning/turning off people on the other side of the fence.

    Well, anything to open their minds to accepting that other people can life happily without their brand of faith. Congrats again!

  • http://mollishka.blogspot.com mollishka

    I read most of your book on flights tonight. It’s very well-written, and as a former-Christian, it’s actually kind of fun to hear about how “other people” treated Sundays. The church I was brought up in was very old-school Lutheran, with services replete with rituals and liturgy and somberness. But the sermons always related to the “lessons” of the day, were rarely too short or too long, and Sunday School was not just for the kids (and didn’t take place at the same time as the services). As my mother keeps reminding me, the same church apparently now has a pastor who is eager to fill his pews with “non-believers” and “doubters.” I think I am going to try to get her to read this …

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