Why Do Book Signings?

boston-public-library-85885_640Boston Public Library (photo courtesy Pixabay)

I think it’s a safe bet to say most authors will be offered an opportunity to do a book-signing at some point in time. It can be quite flattering to be asked … until you realize what it really entails:

Long hours of sitting on a hard chair, usually behind a folding table with a small stack of your book(s) planted in the middle, waiting for people to come by and buy a copy for you to sign.

Often you’re part of a larger contingent of authors, all of whom are trying to do the same thing … get people to buy their books.

I’ve done quite a few of them now, and the experience of each one has been a little different. Perhaps the worst one was at a small, independent bookstore during a veritable blizzard.

I was the only one of several invited authors to show up (why I risked it in that weather I really don’t know), and the shop owner and I had a lot of time to talk … since no other patron walked through the door that whole day.

At least that one I could blame on the weather.

Sterlingfest

sterling heights library

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I attended another book-signing last Saturday at the Sterling Heights (Michigan) Library, in one of the area cities about 35-40 minutes from my house, that has to count as one of my most disappointing.

It was taking place during a community event called Sterlingfest that included rides, food and artists of all sorts selling their creative wares in tented booths outside the building complex.

It seemed like a natural. The weather cooperated nicely (unless you don’t like hot and muggy). I arrived early and the parking lot was already packed and there was lots of foot traffic outside.

I joined at least a dozen other local authors who were setting up their tables inside the library. I thought this would be a really good day. But, as the hours wore on, the traffic coming into the library was spotty, at best … and I soon discovered why.

Poor Planning
There was absolutely no mention of a local Michigan author book-signing in the official program for the event.

Worse … the only sign that said anything at all about an author book-signing was a tiny hand-scrawled thing inside the lobby of the library that no one could see from the outside.

Hell … you could barely see it inside!

Finally, after selling only two books in 5-1/2 hours (and one of those to another author), I packed-up early and went home (at least half the other authors had already beaten me to the door).

A poorly administered event … omigod, yes. A total waste … no.

I had the chance to meet, talk and exchange ideas with a whole lot of neat fellow authors. Even met a delightful library volunteer named Terry who, although her hands were tied by a lack of authority, did as much she could to try to help make the event successful.

Hopefully, the library administration learns something from this fiasco. I know I did. Find another venue and never come back to this one.

The Official Book Trailer for “Street Light”

New reviews are in for my latest novel, “Street Light.” One is from Top Book Reviewers and the other is posted by Readers Favorite. I’ll let them speak for themselves.

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My books have garnered some terrific reviews. You can see the stories I have available by using the Amazon link below.

buy now amazon

You’re also invited to visit my web site, BROKEN GLASS, or like my Book of Face page. You can also follow my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

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Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.

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4 Responses to “Why Do Book Signings?”

  1. marianallanos Says:

    Book signings can be such a downer! I’ve had a few where no one, besides my tight group of friends, has shown up. I think they’re a true test to our character, though. If you can keep the smile on your face despite the disappointment… then you might after all, be destined to be a real author. When I’m in that situation, I like to think of Van Gogh and how no one showed up for his exhibits… well, maybe not a good example, because he ended up cutting his ear off, but, you get the point. I’ve also found that if the event I’m invited is a fair or some other venue rather than a library, then forget it, no one will care about books. I think when people go to a festival they don’t have the ‘buying books’ mindset. They’re thinking ‘funnel cake’ ‘kids’ rides’ maybe ‘homemade jam’, but books? Not-so-much. Also, like you well said, if the venue owner/organizer doesn’t advertise you, then case lost. If they don’t care, attendees will care even less– and it’s not their fault. Now I’m picking and choosing my events. Like you well said, the most valuable aspect of these events are the networking with other authors and librarians. It pays off to build a close relationship with like-minded people. You know what’s reassuring though? I’m Facebook friends with a well-know author (Caldecott honor, and all) and the other day she posted about her book signing at her local Barnes and Noble: No one had showed up! Well, I felt bad for her, but at least made me grateful that it doesn’t happen only to me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ron Herron Says:

      Thanks for the comment (and the re-blog). 🙂 I thought the library signing was a good thing, too. LOTS of people outside. But no one knew we were inside the library. No signs, nothing. People questioned on the street outside had NO IDEA we were in there! I’m sure I’m not the only one (I wasn’t that day, either), and it won’t be the last time, I’m sure. At least, as you say, there were other authors to talk to.

      Thanks again. 😉

      Like

  2. TJs Author Central Says:

    Reblogged this on TJ Talks Writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. macjam47 Says:

    You could keep a few posters touting your book signing in your trunk, just in case. What a bummer. Sorry this happened to you, but I’m sure every author comes across poorly orchestrated events. Hopefully this was your one and only.

    Like

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