{Guest Post + Giveaway!} My Rock Star Requirements for Small Town Library Book Signings by Chris Rodell

  • Monday, March 31, 2014

Welcome to the Fool for Books Giveaway Hop here on Guiltless Reading! Ready for some fun reading and a fun book? Well, read on and welcome author Chris Rodell to share his "rock star" thoughts about book signings! Read on until the end to get a chance to win a copy of his humorous and inspiring book Use All the Crayons (Giveaway is open international)!

My Rock Star Requirements for Small Town Library Book Signings by Chris Rodell

The friendly woman from the area library e-mailed yesterday to see if I’d be needing anything for my 2 p.m. Saturday talk there.

I told her I was glad she’d gotten in touch.

I’d be requiring a security team of at least 10 off-duty police officers, four plain clothes, all trained in crowd control and instinctual threat detection. A bomb-sniffing dog, preferably a German Shepherd, who I’d want stationed near the state-of-the-art metal detectors she’d need to install just inside the library foyer.

There will be pyro so she’ll need to alert the local fire marshall.

I’d be needing a case of Evian water bottled no later than February 2012 and chilled to 43 degrees. Why 43-degrees? Because 43 is Pittsburgh Steeler Troy Polamalu’s number and I want her to arrange to have him there, too.

I told her I understood it was short notice, but I’d be needing six women from the local gyms -- two blond, two brunette, a red head and a bald chick -- to carry me to the stage the way the perfumed eunuchs used to carry the Roman emperors to the coliseum.

And I’d like some inflatable beach balls and a bowl of M&Ms with all the brown ones removed.

Oh, and I’d like a podium.

She said she’d get me the podium.

The real reason I was requesting so much outlandish on-site personnel is because I’m always nervous no one will show up.

The local paper was kind enough to do a flattering advance so I’m hopeful people will show up.

What can attendees expect?

About an hour of me talking.

There will be no fireworks. No powerpoint displays. No fancy graphics. No beach balls.

Why not?

Because I’m convinced there is nothing more compelling than the sight of a talking human being with something to say.

Whether or not I’m that human being is yet to be determined.

I’m resolved to become very good at public speaking and I believe I’m on my way. I’ve probably done about two dozen public speaking engagements in the last 18 months. They’re never the same. They’re never scripted.

And with the book doing well, I’m making a push to do more. My tech guys are adding a new “Motivational Humorist/Public Speaker” crayon to the “Use All The Crayons!” homepage.

The section will include proposals about why businesses, civic and philanthropic organizations and schools and universities should pay me to come to talk to their supporters, employees and students.

Audacious, isn’t it?

Maybe not. I see a lot of really dull people making a really nice living appearing on TV and being invited to address crowds of listeners eager for something interesting to hear.

I see them and think, man, I could do better than that.

My recently re-published book just earned its second 5-star (out of 5) review from another industry review mainstay in two weeks. An agent is shopping it around to major publishers.

And I hear near daily from someone who loves the book. Your reactions embolden me. Now’s the time for me to really sell it -- and myself.

So I really should spend the day preparing some sort of formal speech so I won’t fall flat. I should hone my phrasings, game plan my gestures and envision what I’ll do to somehow hold the attention of an audience for 45 to 60 minutes.

Instead, I’ll have some lunch then putter around in the office until it’s respectable to head down to the bar to watch golf and engage in the pointless Friday bull sessions more ambitious sorts would never dream of attending.

Then I’ll take a pizza home to watch with my darlings a kiddie movie we’ve already seen about 400 times.

I won’t do any prep until about an hour before tomorrow when I’ll jot down about ten key words that’ll trigger stories I want to tell.

I may or may not use them. I plan on being completely extemporaneous.

That makes it so much more fun, for both speaker and audience, I hope.

Afterwards, I’ll be selling the $15.95 book for just $10 each. I want to make sure it’s affordable for anyone and have found the low price is an incentive for people to buy multiple copies.

Plus, the math is way easier.

So I do hope people will show up and bring some friends. I’ll do my very best to keep it lively. Oh, and just in case, someone please bring an inflatable beach ball. We can all hit it back and forth if things get boring.

About Chris Rodell
Chris Rodell is a Latrobe, Pennsylvania–based writer who has taught creative nonfiction at Point Park University in Pittsburgh. He writes offbeat travel features for msnbc.com and has written features and essays for Esquire, Cooking Light, People, Maxim, Men’s Health, Playboy, Golf, Details, and Arnold Palmer’s Kingdom magazine.

He is the timeline curator for www.ArnoldPalmer.com and blogs at www.EightDaysToAmish.com. He has written for many of the most prestigious magazines in America and been rejected by the rest. He will write for anyone who'll pay him. He is a PROSEtitute.

Follow Chris on Facebook and Twitter: @8days2Amish

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  1. This guy looks AMAZING. I totally want to read his book now AND hear him speak. What did you think of the book?

    Thanks for linking up with Spread the Love!

    1. I have yet to read his book, April. I loved that he signed my book copy with "all the crayons." :)

  2. ...though the lawyer in me feels compelled to tell you the reason that Van Halen(?) or whatever rock band put the request for all the brown M&Ms to be removed was because the setup for their show required tons of pyrotechnics and other dangerous stagecraft ... so if the venue operator couldn't be trusted to pay enough attention to detail to remove all of the brown M&Ms then how could they be trusted to set up the stage?

    Though, that's lore, and when you stop and think about it, how does that make any sense because you know that some underling intern was tasked with removing the M&Ms whereas hopefully professionals were prepping the stage... still, maybe it wasn't severable so if the stage went wrong and there were brown M&Ms in the bowl it could be considered a breach of contract... okay. I'm totally rambling now. :)


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