My First Book Signing
May 12, 2012 was my first book signing! Man, what a great feeling! It was held at Otto’s Booklover’s Paradise in Williamsport, PA, right up the street from where I pledged Alpha Rho Omega at Lycoming College. Since the signing was set up to coordinate with Alumni Weekend at the school, many of my sorority sisters came out to support me. The day was filled with laughter and fun, and I greatly enjoyed the fellowship with my sisterhood.
The signing wasn’t like anything I’ve seen on TV, nor was it like anything I read about while trying to prepare for it. I was not huddled in a corner looking lonely and lost, nor was I at a huge table with giant placards with my name on a marquee. The people who came by to visit with me were very inquisitive and sat down with me and talked about the book intimately. I really feel as though I got a chance to meet people. What an amazing and humbling experience!
There a couple things that I think I did right:
1. I coordinated my book signing event with another event with which I was affiliated. I scheduled my signing to coincide with Alumni Weekend at my alma mater, garnering support from groups and factions I participate in.
2. I made eye contact and attempted to strike up conversation with everyone who passed by. This generated interest from store visitors that weren’t there for the author signing.
3. I kept a smile on my face and fun energy around me. When others heard me laughing and joking with other store visitors, they felt more open in talking with me. Also, I had my cousin/assistant with me for the signing; when no one was in the store, I had her to talk to so that I avoided the “lonely and lost” issue.
Now, there are definitely some things I did wrong:
1. I did not educate myself enough on how the business side of book signings work, so I may have come off belligerent and unappreciative to the book store owner. I made sure to send a follow-up email to the owner thanking her for her support and her willingness to participate in a signing with me after the event was over.
2. I did not have any promotional materials to hand out at the event. I should have at least offered my business cards or some bookmarks, but alas, was inadequately prepared.
3. My signing table was placed in a section of the store that had nothing to do with my book’s genre. I was between the cookbooks and the New York Times’ best sellers. While I may be aspiring toward the goals those authors have achieved, my placement by them deterred some readers who were in the store specifically for a book whose movie had just premiered. Or the older generation who came in just for the Pioneer Woman’s new cookbook. (I did help one reader find said cookbook, to which she replied I had a “good energy”, but did not garner a sale for The Grim.)
Some writing bloggers say a successful book signing is showing up and selling one book. Well, I sold 17; not bad–especially for my first time out. And I owe those successes to a well-coordinated event, a little humility, great friends, and “good energy”. Special thanks to everyone who participated; the next one will be even better!