Monday, December 8, 2008

Facing My Fear Turned Out To Be A Good Thing.


I faced my fears and survived my back-to-back book signings this weekend. Both days turned out to be good learning experiences. Though they were quite different, there was a common denominator: the staff at both locations were outstanding. And because I booked signings so close together, I was able to analyze both to see how future signings could be improved.

Did I have reasons to fear either signing? No, apparently not, but hindsight is generally 20-20. Apprehension is never a bad thing, if held in prospective. I could not foresee that I would sell any books, no matter how much I believe in my product. And judging by some of the horror stories I've heard, I was luckier than most. I sold 6 books at the first signing and 9 at the second. While the patrons at the first signing found my presence easy to ignore, the shoppers at the second were genuinely curious and had no problem stopping to take a closer look at my book.

Because the first signing was in a bookstore, I took it for granted that sales would be high. Not the case. The shoppers at the groceries were much friendlier. Except for one Fundamentalist Christian who, in so many words, told me I was doing the work of the devil. My mother would have been proud though; I kept my other-wise big mouth close and instead, smiled sweetly.

Strangely, I saw very few people I know. Again, that may be a good thing. I was forced to be resourceful and present a confident front.

What would I do differently next time? Wrapped candies aren't as appealing as suspected. I think I'd switched to postcards or coloured pencils or even free Christmas cards, depending on the season. I'd make a free copy of my book available, and I'd brandish coupons for the particular store. In other words, I'd appeal to the customers by giving away something useful.

But a total of 15 book sales for a 6 hour work-weekend is nothing to sneeze at. In the end I remembered that my product is a good addition to anyone's reading entertainment. Did I mention I received an email from a reader 6 hours after my first day. He wrote to say I'd done good and he was already at chapter 13.

10 comments :

  1. You did well, both by surviving and by selling books. (The average number of books sold at a signing is 7, and when you think how people like Stephen King and James Patterson skew the curve, you can imagine how few the rest of us sell.)

    One thing, each person who buys a book can become an ambassador for you, recommending the book to friends. Never discount the ripple effect. Of course, you can't count on it, either.

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  2. Dealing with an unknown/unfamiliar situation is always hard, but it sounds like you handled it well and sold some books, too--a bonus! All in all, two worthwhile experiences. Congratulations! Now the January reading shouldn't be nerve wracking at all so you can relax and enjoy Christmas.

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  3. Thanks Pat & Careann. Yes, it was overall an enjoyable experience. Strangely, the reading at the library doesn't unnerve me as much because they'll be coming specific to hear me read; not falling over me in a crowded store. I'll be nervous, but in a good way.

    Thanks for stopping by, ladies.

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  4. And not only have I finished chapter 13, I have now finished the book.

    My only question is: When is the next one coming out?

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  5. Jim, thanks so much for your kind words. It was great talking to you at the store. I'm glad you enjoyed the book.

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  6. Joylene, congratulations on your success with the sales but most of all for "facing your fears."

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  7. Yay, Jim, a reason for authors to dream and persevere. Clone yourself, would you?

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  8. Thanks, Marty.

    Keith: I still can't wait to see Struck on the shelves. It is a wonderful experience.

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  9. I had no doubt that you would do well. I'm so proud of you!
    I started reading your book the day I got it. Yesterday I worked on my manuscript until 1:30, turned off the computer and sat on the patio---enjoying myself reading YOUR book! What a "Joy" you are to me!!! I'm recommending your book to all my friends!!! They will love it too!

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  10. Thank you, Katt. You are a wonderful person with a generous heart.

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