Signing at the Waldenbooks

August 2002
by Parnell Hall

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When I first got published
I was happy as could be
My book came out, got good reviews,
Was an Edgar nominee
After twenty years of struggling
I finally got somewhere
Now I’m signing in the Waldenbooks
And nobody’s there
So I went to my publicist,
I said, “Hey, what’s the score?”
She said, “You mean it didn’t go well?
I lined you up three more.”
Three dreadful signings later
I’m tearing out my hair
And I’m signing in the Waldenbooks
And nobody’s there
So I went to a Bouchercon*
If that was what it took
Appeared on a panel,
Talked about my book
And they scheduled me a signing
As soon as it was through
With a table and a name tag
And a lot of people too
It was a light in the wilderness
Where everything was dark
But why’d they have to sit me
Next to Mary Higgins Clark?
Her line goes out the door
And down the hall and back again
And I sit there smiling stoically
And playing with my pen
So it’s back out on the road again
And back into the store
I didn’t like it the first time
But I’m doing it some more
I’m just standing by the book rack
Pretending I don’t care
And I’m signing in the Waldenbooks
And nobody’s there
I know there are a lot of us
Who write the mystery line
And of all the books that people buy
They can’t all be mine
I wish my fellow authors
All the best that I can wish ’em
While I stand here talking to the guy
Who came in to buy John Grisham
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