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Swoon Author Kristen Orlando: Book Signing Success

The week my book came out, I didn’t compulsively check my Amazon ranking or reviews. No. I compulsively checked the weather. And frequent updates from Weather.com just wasn’t enough. I commissioned my two former meteorologist (from my TV new producing days) to give me daily updates on the weather for Saturday. Why? Because it was the date of my book launch and signing and I was terrified that with freezing rain and ice predicted in the forecast, not a single person would come. 

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I don’t exactly love being the center of attention (I had 10 people at my wedding!). But a book debut only comes around once in a lifetime and I was so excited to share this day with family, friends and YA book lovers. On the big day, I woke up, ran to the window and to my horror discovered ice all over the roads.

Damn you January Ohio weather! I was so disappointed. Who in the world would drive on ice to make it to my signing? My husband gave me a hug and said, “Hey… whoever shows up shows up. It’s still a special day and we’ll celebrate even if it’s just me and you!” He was right. But still, I said a very, very selfish prayer that the temperatures would rise and the roads would be clear up. 

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As we drove to the book launch in the afternoon, the temperature had finally climbed just above freezing. Maybe there was a chance people would come! Even in good weather, I was expecting 40… maybe 50 people max. I never once dared to dream what actually happened.

When I got to the Barnes & Noble at 1:45, there was already a line formed at my table. I wondered… do I start signing now? If I start signing now, the event is going to be over by like 2:15 and I’ll just be sitting here by myself! I started signing anyway and was shocked when the store manager came to inform me that there was not only a line out of my view… but the line was wrapped around the entire store.

ydkmn launch line

ydkmn launch line collage

It wasn’t just a few dozen people who showed up. It was hundreds and hundreds. There were so many people who came to my book signing that we sold out of every single book in the store in less than an hour (and we had a LOT of books!). The line for my very mediocre signature was over an hour long and instead of signing for 90 minutes, I ended up signing for almost three hours (adrenaline kept me going but very heavily pregnant me was physically sore by the last signature).    

ydkmn launch signing

ydkmn launch signing collage

To say that I was completely shocked by the crowd of people who came to my book signing is a massive understatement. I am still overwhelmed with so much gratitude for everyone who braved the crappy weather to celebrate this total dream come true. There were tons of YA readers and book lovers who came and I had so much fun meeting them. But my book signing was also like watching my whole life’s history pass before my eyes. Teachers and friends from high school, college professors, old co-workers and dear family all showed up to buy my book and wish me well. Even friends I haven’t heard from since middle school dropped by after reading an article about me in the newspaper. 

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I know how lucky I am to have so many people excited about You Don't Know My Name. I know I will never again have a day or a book signing like that. It may have been freezing, it may have been icy, but the excitement and love in that bookstore will keep me warm for the rest of the winter. 

Author spotlight

Kristen Orlando

Kristen Orlando attended Kenyon College and graduated with a B.A. in English. She also briefly studied writing at the University …

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