So far, we are looking at three book signings for 2015, with another possible in the Fall. We’re excited, to say the least, as this is a new adventure for the four of us. We’ve bought copies of each book to sign and sell as well as accumulated various amounts of swag to pass out with book covers and teasers on them. We’re looking at banners, table clothes, and tote bags. Writing was the easy part compared to everything that has gone into promoting those books. It’s fun, but exhausting as well.
Up until a couple of months ago, we’ve never even been to a book signing. I figured if I was going to do a few, I should venture out and see what they look like. There was one planned at an art fair last year, so the girls and I decided to check it out. To be honest, I came away with mixed feelings. Not that I’m doubting attending the book signings that I am already going to or that I want to scrap the idea altogether. No, I was disappointed in how some of the authors came across as they spoke to us or we passed by their tables.
I’ll admit that I am the newbie here and have much to learn, but I can’t see how coming off desperate to sell your books is a way to attract readers. They know you want to sell your books. They probably assume you even need to sell them. However, don’t act like you’re going to starve if they don’t buy one. Now, grant it, there are four of us whenever we go anywhere and it may confuse some people. They see one author talking to one or two of us, so assume the others are free to engage. One came across the aisle and tried to drag Char back to his table, so that he could tell her about his books. I had every intention of visiting every table––I was actually on reconnaissance to see how it was done––but when it came to that man, we gave him a wide berth.
There were a few that really impressed us. They were engaging, informative and polite. That’s the way we decided that we wanted to be. I want to meet people. Interact with them. I hope they purchase my books and even more so that they read them, whether there at the event or when they get home and order a digital copy. However, it’s a place to make an impression on people. To reveal that you’re someone worthy of their time and investment. As a writer, you should want to make a relationship more than you want to sell a book right then, because the relationship will carry into the future. If they buy a book, that relationship will help them tell other people about it and gain you more readers and, therefore, more sales.
Be professional in how you interact. Spend the money on your promotional materials. Don’t just print out your own bookmarks, business cards, or flyers. Allow the professionals to do it, so that the people walk away with something that they’ll want to hold onto instead of toss in the dumpster on their way out. Maybe you can’t do it all at once. That’s fine. Start with what you are able to do and then build on it as the income arrives. Always put your best foot forward. It’ll leave them with a lasting impression that will make them seek you out again. I know, because there are authors we’re hoping to run into at the next event. They stood out to us, because they were friendly, professional, fun, and not desperate.
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Until next time, keep chasing your fantasies!