Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Magnificent Hope Learns that Book Signings are Not Just About Selling Books

Hi! Dianne E. Butts here. I was so surprised when Magnificent Hope made an unannounced appearance last Saturday! There I was with author Elsi Dodge signing books at Mardel Christian Bookstore in Littleton, Colorado, when suddenly Maggie Hope’s head popped up out of nowhere!

Elsi and I were so pleased Magnificent Hope chose to make an appearance at our book signing. We took the opportunity to get our photo taken with Maggie and Dana, the store manager.

Elsi and I signed our books in the store from 10:00 to 2:00 and really kept busy. The store was in constant motion with activity and we not only signed books, but we talked with lots of people about a lot of different topics and you know what? It was all ministry. Elsi said it, and Magnificent Hope agreed, “We ministered to a lot of people. It’s not just about selling books; it’s about ministry.” I so agree. That’s the value of a book signing. We did pretty well selling books, too, but the opportunity to talk with people about Jesus was so wonderful.

For example, I got to talk with a customer about filmmaking and how I made a short film last February based on a true story in Deliver Me. You can see the film on YouTube if you want to. It runs 10 minutes: The Choice film. I talked with others about the story I wrote for Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul 2, which is also in Chicken Soup’s 101 Best Stories of Faith. The story is about how my husband and I tried to tell his Dad about Jesus and he just wouldn’t hear it. But then we learned a year after Dad died that a neighbor had visited him and told him about Jesus and Dad accepted Christ literally hours before he died! And we didn’t even know the Lord answered our fervent prayers for a whole year.

Another thing that happened was a lady walked in and said, “Dianne! You have another book out?!” It was Victoria, who I’ve ridden motorcycles with through Christian Motorcyclists Association! I hadn’t seen her for a long time! (So long she didn’t know about my Deliver Me book.) That was so fun!

Both Elsi and I had numerous books on our table. Elsi had her books about her traveling adventures in her RV with her cat friend, Dolphin. She also has two books from her trip to Israel. (I brought one of those home!)

I signed my latest book, Deliver Me, which just won a “Book of the Year” award from Christian Small Publisher’s Association and is now a finalist for the 2012 Golden Scroll Nonfiction Book of the Year (winner announced July 15). I also signed my first book Dear America, plus several other books I’ve contributed to, including the just-released, brand new Chicken Soup for the Soul: Say Goodbye to Stress.

You may know it already, but in case you don’t my coauthor Renee Gray-Wilburn and I have a new book with Pix-N-Pens Publishing coming out in August titled, Grandparenting Through Obstacles: Overcoming Family Challenges to Reach Your Grandchildren for Christ. It’s a compilation of twenty incredible stories of grandparents going the extra mile and creating really neat opportunities to tell their grandkids about Jesus. Elsi Dodge is one of our writers with a story in that book.

Elsi and I were thrilled when Dana, the manager at Mardel’s invited us, plus co-author Renee, back in September to sign our new Grandparenting Through Obstacles book, just in time for Grandparents Day! But you don’t have to wait—you can pre-order your copy. Pre-order Grandparenting Through Obstacles here now. We just unveiled the book’s cover on Tuesday, June 19, on our new grandparenting blog.

A funny thing happened on the way to the book signing! It was a two-hour drive for me from my home in Pueblo through Colorado Springs to the Mardel store in Littleton. I was listening to the radio, but of course the stations I usually listen to were fading as I got farther away from my home. So I went searching for another station to listen to. I heard a familiar voice—that of a host of a radio show in Colorado Springs I’m sort of familiar with. But the thing is, that day he wasn’t in Colorado Springs. He was broadcasting live from Las Vegas, Nevada. So I listened to that station to see what in the world he was doing in Las Vegas. While I was listening, he took a call from a man named Derrick back home in Colorado Springs. Hey! I know a Derrick in Colorado Springs. Could it possibly be? Yes! It was! And if you think Derrick Wilburn’s name sounds familiar but you can’t quite place it, it’s because he’s the husband of my Grandparenting Through Obstacles coauthor, Renee Gray-Wilburn! How do ya figure that? A hundred miles away from home on my way to a book signing and I catch my coauthor’s husband on a radio station I never listen to broadcasting from Las Vegas! At that moment, I knew it was going to be a blessed day.

When I told Hope about it, she just smiled. She doesn’t believe in coincidences—only God-incidents, she said.

I would like to give a hearty thanks to Dana, Heidi, Mary, and all the staff (that I’m forgetting to name!) at Mardel Christian Bookstore in Littleton, Colorado. They were so gracious in supporting me and Elsi and Magnificent Hope. They were a real blessing to us. I pray we were a blessing to them and to the store, and I believe we were.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Dianne received notice after she submitted this article that she is a DOUBLE finalist in Write Integrity's Books of Hope Contest - she finaled in both the fiction and nonfiction categories! 

A Special Treat from Jennifer Fromke (and a huge hint for the Week 2 photo!)

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