I had attended Book ‘Em for several years, but yesterday I went as an author, not as a browser.
Book ‘Em is an event held at Robeson Community College in Lumberton, N.C. The idea behind it is to educate, not incarcerate. In other words, kids who read are less likely to end up in jail. The money raised goes toward literacy programs. You can sign up for a table free of charge, but 40% of sales goes toward this worthwhile goal.
Last year I decided to be a part of this fun event. So I ordered bookmarks to hand out and stuffed mini-bags with chocolates and a printed info card to insert. At the last minute I realized I didn’t have enough of one title and made an order, opting for 2-day delivery. The books hadn’t come by Friday and that afternoon I got an e-mail saying they had been shipped. I figured if they were just now put on the truck, there was no way they would be here in time.
Wrong. At 5 p.m. the UPS truck pulled up and there they were! I don’t care what anyone says, Amazon delivers. I wouldn’t have been surprised if they had come by drone.
So. Up at 5 a.m. to pack the car, meet my friend, and make the hour and a half drive. We were met by enthusiastic volunteers who helped get our stuff inside and set up. I decided to skip the many workshops and stay by my table. This was a good move as I met and talked to many people, most of whom bought a book.
The volunteers dropped by often to ask if they could do anything for us — and to tell us breakfast was ready upstairs. This was a wonderful array of fruit, pastry, and juice, tea and coffee. I opted for fruit and a slice of still-warm banana bread. Better yet, a little later, we were told to come and get lunch, which was catered by Golden Corral, one of the sponsors.
Not only free food, but another volunteer told us we could a free hand massage and manicure at the cosmetology school. I decided it was still early and there weren’t many people arriving as yet, so I yielded to impulse and had my nails done in a pretty pink. Another author told me she liked to get her nails done before a signing event because people look at your hands while you sign. I’d never thought of this, so I’m passing it along.
We folded up at 4 p.m., again with the help of a volunteer who toted our unsold books to the car. I had fewer than I came with, which was good. Better yet, I had engaged with readers who will (hopefully) go to the Internet and download the books they had seen to their e-readers.
And best of all, I had done a little bit to improve literacy in one North Carolina county.