Bring a great assistant. This also fall under the header “two heads are better than one.” I brought
|An awesome-looking table and assistant!|
Talk to the readers. After the event, one reader told me some of the authors would not talk to her when she approached their table… much less look up from their phone, make eye-contact, or smile. While writers are often introverted people (and I admit I often have my own shy moments when I’d prefer to slink into a dark corner and be alone), an author signing is not the time for this. Eye contact and a simple “hi” go a long way with people who come to these events. I would often ask readers what they liked to read, to help start a conversation. I often found most readers aren’t all that picky about genre, and are just open to a good story. I also found was that when readers approached and asked me “What do you have?” I would respond, “Well, I have wine charms and keychains and bookmarks and candy… Oh… And… um, I have… a book.” Fortunately I had an awesome assistant who compensated for my lack of sales skills. ;-)
Practice your signature. I had been warned, but still didn’t believe, that people would want my signature. On bags, swag, kindle cases, display boards, albums… I was relieved no one asked me to sign their chest or their baby’s forehead, but I’ve never felt like such a rock star before! And signing my pen name isn’t 100% natural yet, so I had to concentrate on writing it (and spelling it correctly!). Pens of all forms, especially silver sharpies, came in handy!
|The view from my table, during the VIP session.|
People don’t necessarily help themselves to candy. I had tons of candy because I thought it would fly off my table. No one took a single piece from my dispenser. I had to spread it out on my table with the rest of my swag. Then I had to beg people to take it. Then I had to tell them there was a 10-piece minimum. I still came home with over half my candy.
Don’t pack up until the bitter end. Lots of authors began tearing down before the end of the signing. Granted, the number of readers still hanging around was sparse, but they still deserve our attention if they want to stop by and chat. I had a few of these. I didn’t make a sale, but I certainly made a connection. You wouldn’t want the usher to turn on the lights and start sweeping up spilled popcorn at the movie theatre… Would waiting a whole twenty more minutes hurt?
|My first buyer of the day...|
No bribing or coercion involved!
Those are the main themes of the day (well, the ones that don't involve alcohol). It was a great time to spend with my other (current) writer peeps. I did connect with a few new writers. Got LOTS of new facebook friends, writers and readers alike. Sold some books (more than I expected!), and now I am better prepared for the next time. All is good.