Saturday, September 12, 2009

Thoughts on Book Signings

A Young Woman Reading--by Freek Van den Berg Love them or hate them, book signings have become a necessary part of what it means to be a published writer.

I think that even if you’re an extrovert (not that many writers are—which is why we spend hours at a solitary activity), there are stressful aspects of book signings. How many people will be there? Will people give you the cold shoulder or come up to your table? Will it be worth the gas money you spent getting there?

Today I’m signing books at Books-A-Million in Anderson, SC (where I grew up.) Unfortunately, the publicity I carefully sent out in advance didn’t run (with the whittling down of news room reporters, the stacks of paper on individuals’ desks and emails in their inboxes has grown.) So…no publicity set up. I’m not even sure if the store has a sign up on their door announcing my signing or not.

Can this book signing be saved?

I think so. But I have to adjust my expectations going in.

Things I know:

Any buzz generated about my signing there will be carefully orchestrated by my parents, who still live in Anderson. Thanks, Mama and Daddy! It does help when you’re doing a signing in your hometown or a town where you were a former resident.

Most shoppers are not going to come up to my little table. I’ll have some bookmarks and other publicity info to hand out for them. Sometimes that makes people chat with me for a few minutes.

There will be several people who come up and ask me what my book’s about. I’ll have a snappy, quickie answer for them.

There will be several people who will ask me where the self-help/humor/children’s literature sections are. At least two people will ask me where the restroom is. But later on, they sometimes come back near me (in this bookstore, they usually have me close to the cash register.)

Still, there’s something exciting about being in a bookstore. I enjoy being in a bookstore at any time—I could cheerfully kill a day there. My biggest problem is staying near my little table instead of wandering around the store.