Saturday, April 17, 2010

My first book signing in the books!

My poor neglected blog...I haven't posted much here, despite so many exciting things happening! Here's a whirlwind catch-up: published Bubba Goes National in January. Got it into two brick-and-mortar stores in my area, on Amazon, and Not a blockbuster quite yet, but I am selling them. Sold out my first order and had to order more. Almost sold out of those and there are more on the way. Set up my first signing at a used bookstore here in Folsom. That's what I'll talk about today!

Before going to my signing, I read a lot about what I should do, particularly at AbsoluteWrite and Accentuate. I tried to be prepared...I didn't have everything suggested, like a name tag or a big poster, but I did have a sign with my name and the prices of the books, business cards, fliers and of course books. I didn't do nearly enough promotion due to being tied up at work and then getting sick, so fliers didn't go up around town until yesterday. I did do some promotion online. One person came because of that, but just to say hi, not to make a purchase. I sent press releases to 9 media outlets, none of whom did anything with it except (thanks, John!).

I'll run through my day in roughly chronological order with my thoughts:

Since the signing was scheduled to start at 1:00, I had all morning to gather my things, shower, put on makeup (those of you who know me well know that's a big deal), etc. Greg helped me decide what to wear. I left around the time I wanted to, since I had to stop at Office Max for a couple things. I also decided to go to Starbucks and get a traveler pack of coffee to offer passers-by in hopes of luring them in. I got to the store in plenty of time and was set up and ready to go by 12:55, and the shop owner was quite gracious...she said I was better prepared than most authors she hosted. Win!

One of the suggestions I was given was to have some sort of give-away. My bookmarks didn't arrive in time, so I had candy. I only gave out a few pieces, but I was glad to have it since I got a dry throat a couple times and needed to suck on something. I also autographed a bunch of the business cards I brought so I could hand them out, and it gave me something to do. I did give out a few, and I put one with each book I sold.

It turns out, no one wants coffee in the afternoon when it's 70 degrees out. No one. After finishing off my caramel frappuccino I got for free because they were practicing, I had a cup of the coffee I brought. That was all that got used. I brought the rest home and will drink it iced over the next few days! Maybe that's a better idea for morning signings, or cold day signings.

The advice I was given was to not sit behind my table, but to walk around and basically grab people and pitch them. Well, I'm shy. I didn't manage that...I sat behind my table. However, I did force myself to smile brightly and say hello to everyone who passed. If they slowed down and looked interested, I launched into a little pitch about what I was doing there. In most cases, they weren't interested in making a purchase but took a flier or business card. In one case, I sold a book to a perfect stranger. Win! I was totally exhilarated. Also, two people I know who knew I was there today stopped by to buy books and have them signed, so that was nice.

Sooo....I sold a total of three books. The shop owner said that was actually good! LOL! There wasn't a lot of traffic, and it being a used book store, most people going in wanted bargains. So, I did feel good about myself for doing it and I learned some lessons, and I'll be better prepared for next time. I made sales I didn't expect to make, so I'm calling it a success.

Lessons learned:

1. Don't bother trying to give away hot coffee on a warm day.
2. Bring something for myself to drink other than coffee. I'll be buzzed until next week!
3. Bring snacks. Candy doesn't count. I'm starved...and wired!
4. Next time, get up and be more forward and outgoing. Everyone was nice, and one is rarely mortally wounded by a rejection.
5. Test pens before using them. The ones I bought on the way over sucked.

I think that's about it!


LM Preston said...

You've given great advice. Now you are officially a pro! Let me know when the virtual book tour starts.

Linda Weaver Clarke said...

I loved your "Lessons Learned." I laughed and laughed. Yes, very good advice! And yes, 3 books sold is actually very good for a new author. Most people don't go to book signings unless they have heard of an author before. So selling 3 books is great!

Kim Keason said...

Congrats on your book signing! You are so brave and an excellent writer. My 7 year old loved your horse story in the anthology and hopefully soon will be able to read Bubba!

I'm incredibly shy also and hearing your story helps. I'm so shy that I'm too nervous to start my own author website or blog or even use my own photo.

Jennifer Walker said...

Thank you so much for the compliment, Kim! If your son was able to read The Fire, he shouldn't have much trouble with Bubba.

That is nervous--best of luck to you in dealing with that!