I had a signing yesterday at Barnes & Noble in Charlotte, NC. It ended up going well, although my plans for the event were completely hijacked. (Yes, that’s me in the corner of the picture, listening to the talented Joyce Lavene read from her latest book.)
We were seated in the mystery section and were planning on doing a regular signing. Then a lady came in (a customer) and asked for us to speak instead. There were no chairs set up at the time (because it was to be a regular signing). So the CRM at the bookstore kindly brought over some chairs and we started talking about our books.
The customer also asked us to read. I’ve never read from my books. That’s just not usually part of my dog and pony show. I don’t ordinarily enjoy hearing other people read their books, either. “I don’t read,” I whispered to her. She raised her eyebrows. “I mean, aloud.” Again with the eyebrows. “Except to my children.” She looked stern. So I ended up reading my prologue.
On the upside, I sold a good number of books. Some of the customers didn’t have time to sit and listen to speakers, but they came up to me on the side and I signed books for them during our impromptu program.
The delightful Customer Relations Manager (CRM) at the store offered to put me on her list of authors they could call up to speak at different local high schools. This will probably also pan out into more sales.
Someone else asked how much time we spent promoting and Joyce answered that 90% of our working time was in promoting (and she and her husband Jim have written over 50 books). It’s so true. I spend a lot more time promoting my book (online promotions with blog interviews, Tweeting, Facebooking---and in-person promoting) than I do with my writing. But the writing is woven into my day.
It’s funny. Promotion is a huge part of what writers do…but we’re all basically introverts who don’t like to leave home. Or read aloud. I think most of us are good sports---I had to be pulled out of my comfort zone, but it resulted in book sales.