What Not To Do Wednesday on Book-Signings

ImageFirst of all, grasshopper, I’d like to say that largely, the book-signing was a success! I sold plenty of books and had quite a chunk of change to donate to my church. And I had a ton of fun, visiting with new friends like Rowena Cala and old friends like Debra Mayhew (and her cute cohorts!).

But of course, being the very human me that I am, I made mistakes. And I shall go forth and learn from them. Perhaps you will learn a thing or two as well.

One cannot, of course, control the weather. But one must use common sense when it comes to weather conditions when a book-signing event is held in the great outdoors. 

For instance, if it’s very, very windy, one’s sign (a glorious sign, by the way) might fall over. Constantly. And one might find oneself tending to a sign. Again and again and again. Unless one had the forethought to bring something as simple as Packing Tape. Or perhaps stable objects to bolster the sign (Books and a rather large purse are not as stable as you might think. After all, I had to sell the books.).

I had plenty of suggestions from the peanut gallery as to what I should have done about the sign. And I can tell you what I thought about doing with the sign. But ultimately, I just bore up (and the sign fell down) until the wind swooshed out of the festival. (Approximately one hour before it was officially over.)

Also, if it’s very, very warm (along with the wind), one might not want to bring chocolate kisses. (Not that folks will not eat smushy chocolate kisses. They will, very happily. In fact, I think kids rather prefer gooey chocolate. I’m not so sure their mothers feel the same way.)

The most interesting What Not To Do, though, involved my preconceived notions about Chicken Soup for the Soul books. I assumed that most people understood how these books worked–that the books were a collection of stories, and my story would be one among a hundred others.

Many people were familiar with the brand, but there were just as many who were being introduced to these books for the first time. And at first, I didn’t quite understand that people didn’t quite understand. So I’m afraid, grasshopper, that I wasn’t really doing my job.

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Rowena buys a book.

At some point, I realized that it was not enough to just sit there, smiling prettily and saying that I had a story in each of the books I was selling and hoping the sign would work for me. I had to…oh, what’s the word? 

Oh, yeah. SELL the book. When I stopped long enough to talk about Chicken Soup books, explaining how I happened to be in them–that I was a writer–and talked about my stories, I connected with folks. It’s true that I sold a handful of books to friends who came specifically to buy a book from me. But I sold the other handful to people who were passing by, folks I didn’t know (or know well) who were “hooked” by my individual stories rather than the book itself.

So, bottom line, don’t have a book-signing unless you’re prepared to do the selling that goes along with it. Your voice might be a bit worn out, your smile might feel a bit bedraggled, but when all is said and done, grasshopper, it’s well worth it!

 

Friday’s Fun Find: Signage for a Book-Signing!

I promise this will be the last post–okay, second to the last post–about the book-signing.

I have my candy (taste-tested by yours truly, and I can say with certainty that it is, in fact, delicious candy) and my postcard bookmarks (you can check them out here) and my books (Sadly, my latest release, Not Your Mother’s Book on Home Improvement has not arrived yet. Happily, I have quite a collection of Chicken Soup for the Soul books!).

And I just finished making this big ‘ol sign:

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Cathy-on-a-Stick and the Beneficent Mr. Hall will be joining me tomorrow at St. John Neumann Catholic Church. If you’re in my neck of the woods, come see us at the Fall Festival! (And a BIG thanks for all your tips and support!)

Hey Readers, Could You Help A Writing Sister Out?

Any day now, I’ll be getting my box of books from Publishing Syndicate. And when I open that box, I’m going to find…

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So generally, when I have a box full of books, I have a giveaway or two for all you lovely blog readers. And I send a book to the parents and maybe a writing friend or two. And then I put the rest of the books here:

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Er…that’s my office, under-the-daybed storage area.

Now honestly, I always have great plans. I think, “I’m going to have a book signing! I’m going to take these books out into the world and sell ’em!” Except that I don’t quite get ’round to it.

But this time, friends, is different. This time, I happened to see something about our church’s Fall Festival on the day I got the email saying my books were forthcoming. So this time, I actually did something.

I signed on for a booth at the Fall Festival (September 28th). I’m going to sell Not Your Mother’s Book on Home Improvement and donate the proceeds from the sale to the church’s building fund. (See how great that connection is? Home Improvement–Building fund. Proceeds to church–Heavenly rewards)

Yep, it’s all swell, right? Except…

Except I’ve never done a book signing at an event. And I’m a wee bit nervous about the whole thing. But I know that many of my blog readers have done book signings/sales, so I was wondering if you could help a writing sister out?

I would so appreciate anything you pass along. I’d feel much better about the event if I went to the festival armed with great tips and advice.

And books. I’d really like to have that box of books with me.