Book signings. The goal of every published author. NOT.

This is me at my book signing in San Antonio last month.
Lots of books. No one in line. I'm smiling. My face hurts and sadly, the drink in my hand is water.
This about sums up the great event that occurs in most published authors lives. Book signings.
The good, the bad and the ugly. 
I'd like to share some of my most memorable book signings with you.
My first at Towne West Mall where almost 50 people showed up to buy one of my books. I thought I was a star.
My second. 12 people showed up. Apparently, I wasn't as big a star as I thought.
My first book signing hosted by a library. It was in Hutchinson. Note to self...people do not come to the library expecting to pay for books. I sold 6 and 3 of those were to the same person who happened to be a friend.
Do you notice a downward trend here?
Fast forward to the BEA, Book Expo of America in NY in 2012 where there was a line waiting for me. A lady came from North Carolina to get one of my books. How awesome is that?
Skip ahead to the Literacy signing in Anaheim CA, also in 2012. I sold less than a dozen books after sitting for two hours in the noisiest place on the planet.
In spite of all that, YOU will want to dip your toes in this magical pond when your book comes out. After all, you dreamed about the day for years. So here are some tips to make it as fun as possible. 
When you do a book signing, be prepared.
#1. Know where all the nearest bathrooms are. People will stop and ask you.
#2. Know where the discount rack is. People want bargains.
#3. Never, ever, hold a book signing on Black Friday. Those shoppers are people on a mission and it does not involve impulse purchases.
#4. Keep smiling.
#5 Bring extra candy. That lady and her kids will come back three times. In San Antonio, I had taffy in cute bags. A lady stopped, poured them all out on the table, sorted through them and took five. She smiled at me and said, "I only like the licorice ones." She left without a book. I put the rest of the candy back in the bag while muttering unkind words under my breath.
#6. Bring your best friend or friends to sit with you and help you while away the hours. Having someone to talk to makes all the difference. It gets very lonely out front by yourself. A special big thanks to Theresa, Deb and my WARA friends for coming to so many of mine.
#7. Wear loose comfortable clothing. Tight pants can give you gas.
#8. Have a gimmick. Have something that will make people stop and look. A gift basket to give away is always nice. I once saw a lady with a black swan hat. She was memorable. I have a crazy quilt with some of my book covers on it. There are as many quilters as there are readers out there and since the Amish are famous for their quilts, the idea works. People stop.
#9. Be prepared to answer stupid questions.
     "Do you research all the sex scenes?" 
     "NO, this is an inspirational book. However, I do research all the prayers."
     "I'll bet you can turn one of these formula books out in a few weeks, right?"
     "No, it only takes me two days. I just fill in the blanks with the new characters names."
#10. Keep smiling.
As for the book signing in the photo, once the doors of the room opened, I and about 40 other Harlequin authors were mobbed. The book were free. One lady picked up my book to give to her punishment for complaining that the last book she gave her as a gift was too sexy.

As you are reading this, I will be signing books in Chapman, Kansas, at the public library. It's a fund raiser for the library, so I hope someone shows up. STILL SMILING.


Jeanette Grey said...

Sometimes, smiling is all we can do. Thanks for sharing the real story of book signings. Nothing of the writer life is as glamorous as we were led to believe!

Pat Davids said...

Thanks for stopping by Jeanette. It's not a glamorous life, but it's still cool.

Penny Rader said...

Thanks for being part of my book signings, Pat! Having you and Rox and Deb at the tables with me and WARA friends and family nearby made the experience less scary.

Theresa Jaye said...

So you're say the grass ain't always greener? lol

I can't wait for the experience some day. And then, all seven of my fans (and that includes my mom) will show up and I'll be one happy chick! heehee

Pat Davids said...

The grass is greener, also longer and harder to mow. Can't wait until I'm sitting beside you on your big day. How awesome will that be?

Pat Davids said...

Penny, it was fun to sit with you, Rox and Deb Stover. I'm glad I made it less scary for you. I've never been scared to do one, only worried that no one will show up.

The attendance in Chapman was awesome. I raised over $230 dollars for the library.

Becky A said...

Hey Pat,
I love your post. Very informative yet immensely entertaining. My favorite was number 7. It's excellent information to stash away in my brain somewhere. You never know when having gas might come in handy. A not so hot date comes to mind first :)
Ignore me, I'm getting loopy.
Congrats on the Chapman library!