Thursday, June 5, 2008

How to (Hopefully) Pack a Book Signing

by Erika Lenkert

I've always lured people with food. When I was a perpetually homesick kid, I avoided confessing my fears--and reluctantly going to friends' houses--by promising the likes of freshly baked garlic bread, eggs Benedict on demand, and virtually anything else that made mouths water. Later I became famous for my house parties where Thai feasts, make-your-own grilled pizza, croquembouches, and crazy cocktails were de rigueur (hence my book The Last-Minute Party Girl). So, when I signed on to make an appearance at Book Passage Corte Madera this Saturday, June 7, at 2pm on behalf of my latest book The Real Deal Guide to Pregnancy, I did the only logical thing: decided to bake brownies.

But the sumptuous squares I will be doling out aren't just any brownies. Obscenely moist with crisp crust, deeply chocolate-y and perfectly sweetened with a flavor boost from a sprinkling of salt, these Sweet & Salty Cravings Brownies are shamelessly good--and also happen to be crafted from a recipe included in The Real Deal Guide. (Every pregnant woman deserves access to a superior chocolate indulgence, after all.)

Any good hostess knows that beverages are just as important as something naughty to nosh, thus attendees will get to wash down their dessert with ice-cold glasses of milk and a fun, new, and refreshing maternity-friendly drink called Glow Mama.

Are great brownies and milk and a chitchat with me enough to get readers and mommies-in-waiting off the sunny mountainsides of Marin and into the bookstore to buy a pregnancy book for themselves or their friends? I hope so, but in case they're not, I've got more bait: a raffle! Guests who throw their brownie-smudged names in a hat might walk away with killer baby basics from, adorable hand-painted children's hangers from Ladybug Art, or a gift certificate for a custom pregnant-belly cast appointment at the superplush Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa.

Of course the book itself is worthy of attention. But this Saturday all that surrounds it--a welcoming experience, an introduction to my attitude, a permission to indulge, opportunities to socialize, winning propositions, and fun--will demonstrate what The Real Deal Guide is all about. So if people who attend get carried away in conversation and brownie inhaling and don't get around to reading through the book, they'll still get the true flavor of it.

And if all else fails, I'll have enough brownies to lure a whole lot of friends over to my place for an after party.

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