10 Funny Things That Happened To Me On Book Tours

if i were the boss

 

  1. While waiting for my turn to be interviewed on an early morning news segment, I was asked to hold a snow leopard cub in my lap while the zookeeper, also a guest on the show, dashed to the bathroom during a commercial break. This was the only story from my book tour that my young children found interesting.
  2. Green rooms are exciting. And, no, they aren’t all green. All sorts of people are crammed in there together waiting for interview slots on television. I’ve met famous musicians, politicians, and comedians. In a green room in Mississippi years ago, I got into such an animated conversation with a civil rights activist about the importance of neighborhood schools, the producer put us on air together to continue talking—an ordinary suburban mom writer and a civil rights icon. I think we made some good TV!
  3. Once in Charleston, an attractive, young, clearly hungover news reporter turned to me as we were both snaking our mics underneath our clothes and clipping them to our lapels and said: “Look, I didn’t have time to read your book. I’m just going to say your name and the title of your book, and then you can talk for 7-10 minutes. Ok?” “I can do that!” I responded gleefully. I could not have been happier.
  4. I was once introduced as the keynote speaker for a big gala event, made my way to the podium during the applause, opened my black plastic binder, and discovered—not my speech—but Bach. Yep. Bach. I had a binder, sure, but it was my black plastic CHOIR notebook—not my SPEECH notebook. To this day, I have no idea what I talked about for those 45 minutes.
  5. Sound systems are often infested with gremlins. They always check out fine before the event. It’s in the middle of the event when trouble starts. I once made the mistake of stepping out from behind my podium mic and in front of the repeating speakers. You can guess what happened. Horrible reverb. Over and over. I could see steam coming out of the event coordinator’s ears and hotel staff scrambling in the back of the room. I turned off my hand-held mic, moved from table to table to entertain as many folks as possible, and while running my mouth, shaped the long cord holding my mic into a pretend noose . . . sometimes, you have to find the funny.
  6. At a book event in a big city hotel, I was in mid-speech once when a domestic argument broke out in the catering kitchen behind me. It was so loud I had to stop speaking. Naturally, both the audience and I wanted to hear what was going to happen next in the kitchen drama which included accusations of cheating, vows of revenge, and death threats—way more interesting than my prepared remarks.
  7. In a live television interview, my book was introduced to the audience this way: “Melinda Rainey Thompson has written a wonderful new cookbook that I think you will all love!” Never written a cookbook in my life. That was a tough pivot.
  8. At every event, I always leave time for Q&A. It’s my favorite part because I never know what I will be asked. Some questions come up over and over, of course: “How did you get your book published?” “What do you like to read?” “Where do you get your ideas?” I answer those on autopilot. Funniest questions I’ve been asked on the road: “Where did you get your dress?” Answer: “Saks. Clearance rack.” “Can I take you to dinner after?” Answer: “Depends. Do you have any restraining orders against you?”
  9. Every author event has a person in the audience who has written a book he or she wants to pitch to me for publication. The problem is: I’m a WRITER—not a PUBLISHER.
  10. In every signing line at a book event, there is someone who wants to dictate how I will personalize their “Just write ‘to the best mother in the world,’” one reader instructed me. “To the smartest person I have ever met” was another request. My favorite request to date: “To the biggest Southern lady I have ever met.” Talk about a dangerous double entendre! All true. Remember: I write nonfiction. I end up explaining how first person works over and over. “If I write that, “I explain, “it’s me saying it . . . not you!” My favorite signing tag is from author Jill Conner Browne. To EVERY man, she writes, “To the only man I have ever loved.” Still cracks me up.

 

I can’t wait to share funny moments from the tour of my new book, If I Were The Boss of You. Come see me on the road!   https://www.melindaraineythompson.com/

 

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