The word can strike fear into the hearts of those of us who would rather blend into the wallpaper than hawk our wares to strangers. So is it worth it to sit at a table for a couple of hours while people walk past, trying not to see you? (Come on, you know you’ve been one of those people, too.)
Unless you’re J. K. Rowling or the lastest New York Times bestseller, if you ask most writers, they’ll tell you that booksignings result in few sales. I know that from a pure “get rid of the copies you brought” standpoint, it’s tough to make enough money to feel spending the time and gasoline are worthwhile. Yet we all do it because we believe it’s expected of us.
Rather than take the attitude that you’ll slog to the nearest bookstore to sit in a corner and watch the world pass by, why not consider the time and money as a chance for some cheap advertising?
A couple of weeks ago the singles in my church had their annual yard sale to raise funds for various missions they support during the year. This time they added a whole room for vendors, so I shared a space with two author friends from church, and we set up our displays. While I sold zero copies of the children’s collection in which I have a short story, I achieved my main purpose and had fun while doing so.
With my novella releasing in October, my goal for the hours I spent was to hand out bookmarks I’d created for the occasion, introduce people to my upcoming release (especially those in my church who don’t know I write), and gain addresses for my email list. I accomplished all of those.
I’m not an old pro at booksignings, but each time I do one, I learn something new or discover something I’d like to do next time. For instance, I should have handed out bookmarks to the other vendors, something I’d planned to do, but never seemed to get around to doing before it was over. Maybe I could have done better in my email signups if I’d had a little basket of goodies to give away in a drawing. Instead, I gave out a copy of a recipe to those who signed up. Even so, I was satisfied.
Think about the following when it comes to booksignings:
|(L-R: Phyllis Keels, Susan King, Sandra Ardoin)|
- When possible, do a booksigning with others. You’ll get more traffic and interest.
- Try to share a table with those who write in a different fiction genre than you do, or those who write non-fiction. Variety attracts more people.
- If you’re not published and you have the opportunity, participate anyway. Add to your email list and tell others what you write. Hand out your business card and let them know how they can follow your publishing progress on your blog and on the social media sites.
Honestly, it’s hard to feel like you’re some monkey on display at the zoo, but look for those opportunities to tell others you are a writer. Swing from that booksigning tree! Well, maybe not, but have fun. :)