Sunday, November 13, 2011

Notes on My First Book Signing

On Thursday, after the presentation at the "Make It Funky" symposium at the University of Kansas, my good friend Maryemma Graham had made arrangements for me to sign my book The Black Arts Enterprise alongside Adam Bradley who had been the keynote speaker for the event. Not a good look for me.

You see, Adam has four books--3 related to rap (author of Book of Rhymes, co-editor of The Anthology of Rap, and co-author of Common's autobiography) and a book about Ralph Ellison. And me? Well, I have this one book. And it's published by a university press that's seeking to sell the book to libraries, so it's more expensive than a general audience book. In short, that means it costs too much for the average student.  So yeah.

You should've seen the itty bitty line looking to get my book signed, and the super duper long line waiting to get Adam's signature. Night and day. Adam's line was so long that he only had time to write people's names and provide a signature in the book(s) before moving to the next person. My line, on the other hand, was so short that if you rolled by to get my book signed, I was likely to write you a whole page then ask you about your family and your studies and the weather and your thoughts on the NBA lockout, Occupy Wall Street, the price of tea in China, and whatever else.
It was all good though.

Plus, there were some highlights for me. At one point, my grad school professor William J. Harris showed up, bought my book, and had me sign it. That was really an honor for me. Professor Harris had been there way back then guiding me when I first started trying to write about Black Arts. So to have him there to see my work in book-form gave me a really good feeling.

Another highlight. When Adam's incredibly long line had gone down (we're talking late into the night), he purchased my book and asked for my autograph. Taking time to get the book was really generous on his part.

Finally, I was thankful that Graham had thought enough of me and the work to make those arrangements for me to sign books at the event. It's not everyday that you get that kind of opportunity.

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