My first Book Signing was, needless to say, a huge disappointment. After I published The Legend of the Swamp Witch, my first book, I was so excited. My daughter, Tiffany Beasley Rock, helped me design a beautiful cover. It’s very colorful with a shapely unclothed girl walking into the swamp carrying a lantern, and foreshadows the story.
I’d contacted several bookstores about doing signings and was invited to the Bookmans on Ina in Tucson. I was so excited. I drove down early on the Sunday morning of the signing. I was the first of four authors to arrive.
As I sat at the table with my books, my business cards, my pen, and flyers for my next book set up in front of me, I watched people coming into the store with shopping carts full of items they wanted to sell. Bookmans is a used bookstore, but this location sells much more. We were set up in front of their used music section. The day passed slowly with more people dropping in to sell than dropping in to buy. The author beside me joked that this would be a good location for an episode of Pawn Stars.
Of the four authors in attendance, only one sold one book and that was a YA Zombie novel. Most of the people who did stop by to chat wanted to know how to publish the books they were working on. I pimped Createspace more than my book.
I was also set up on the end of the table next to the children’s section of the store. My cover art sent mothers with young children running past. It’s in no way distasteful, but …! Had I been more familiar with the layout of the store, I would have chosen the other end of the table. That was where the only author who made a sale sat.
My first book signing was a miserable failure. I have since attended two others with the same outcomes. I have yet to crack the book signing enigma. I know that simply sitting behind the table does not engage customers, but with my mobility issues, standing to greet potential customers is not an option. I also have only one working arm and hand, so I can’t stand up holding my book and grab customers with the other hand to look at my table display.
I now have more than one book to display and that seemed to appeal more to passers by than displays of only one book. The next time, if there ever is a next time, I will also add a large bowl of colorfully wrapped candy to my table display. Free candy appeared to be more of a draw than the books displayed.
I even considered making little Voodoo dolls like the ones I saw in shops in New Orleans to go with each Swamp Witch book, as the book is about a Voodoo woman in Louisiana. I have no idea what I’d offer with my books about prostitutes in the Old West. Perhaps lace garters to use as page markers? I’m open for ideas here! I’m working on a Contemporary Paranormal now about modern day witches in the Louisiana Bayou and the Voodoo dolls would work with that one, as well. I suppose candy and kitch are necessary to attract potential buyers at book signings these days. I had always thought it would be the books.
Until tomorrow: Write On!