where the writers are
My Key West Book Signing
Georgia and John Parks with Michael at signing

Key West Island Books took out print and radio ads for my signing on April 5. I also had mention in Solares Hill*, Paradise (weekly newspaper art supplements) and the Keynoter, as well as interviews on US1 Radio, 104.1 FM; SUN 99.5 FM, and WGMX/MIX 94.3 FM. We don’t really have local TV in the Keys, but if we did, I would’ve found a way to be on it!"


Of course, I have heard the horror stories from writers about book signings from hell where no one shows up and I lived with that anxiety for about a week! Imagine, my hometown and no one shows. Okay, I knew some close friends would be there, but the public was another story.


I showed up at the store at 4:30 p.m., much to the laughs of Marshall Smith, owner of the shop, as he pointed out to Suzanne, his sales assistant, that he predicted I’d be early. What Marshall didn’t know was that I inherited being early for everything from my father. Suzanne told me people had showed up Friday, thinking the signing was that night. Now that’s being early!


Well, at 4:45 p.m. Tom, an old sailing friend, showed up and bought 10 copies for members of his family who live off island. A good contingent from ROTARY arrived and bought copies, as did Paul Clarin (the man who took my book jacket photo), lots of old friends, and some people who just heard about the book and wanted a copy. There was also a fair turnout from my Monday lunch group, the Luncheonaires.


From years of attending book signings, I know that the average book sale during a signing is 10 copies. That’s what I expect at best when I sign outside Key West, but Saturday the bookstore sold out its 50 copies. I had a box and a half in my car and all but four of those also sold! Marshall said a total of 80 copies sold! When I asked if that was a good thing, he laughed and said yes.


I know Marshall deserves most of the credit, because I think the radio ads reached a lot of people, since it ran for a week and up until about 4 p.m. on April 5.


It was a high and I enjoyed singing until 7:30 p.m. and then met with many of the book buyers at the Hog’s Breath Saloon and celebrated. I think I still have writer’s cramp in my right hand, and I say that with a smile!


I also want to add that on Friday, I was on 99.5’s Bill Hoebee in the Morning show and he paid me a complement, long before I arrived at the studio. He told listeners that Thursday night his cable TV went out, so he figured he’d skim the book, so he could talk to me about it Friday morning. Then he said the first few pages captured his interest and he read until 12:30 a.m. and forced himself to put the book down and grabbed some sleep, since he had to be up at 3 a.m.! Hoebee said he never read a novel (or textbook) in his life! But, he loved “Chasin’ the Wind.”


I’ve known Hoebee for about 10-years and take his comments as my best review to date. The fact that he said this on the air before my arrival, I took as a major compliment. Thank you Bill!


*You can read the full Solares Hill feature review of “Chasin’ the Wind,” by Mark Howell, on my website: www.michaelhaskins.net.