|Signing at Barnes and Noble|
Were we ever wrong about that. Without doubt, all those books were on the first truck out the next morning. Wendy and I were both naive first-time authors.
Wendy and I had another book signing together scheduled in Richmond for September 11, 2001. You know what happened to that signing.
Although I never got to enjoy signings back then, I loved having them with Wendy who was charming and fun to talk with during many lulls with no customers. Book signings were much easier to schedule then. Most Barnes and Noble stores were happy to have us and put out lots of nice promo signs all around the stores. We also had signings at Waldenbooks, Borders, and Books-A-Million stores.
In the years since those days, scheduling signings has gotten much harder, especially at Barnes & Noble stores. Earlier this year, I had my first book signing since Hotels to Remember came out at the William and Mary Barnes and Noble. I was thrilled, but I was shy and didn't attempt to draw customers into a conversation. Of course, I didn't sell many books either.
The thought of book signings was starting to make me feel sick!
What to do. The job of an author is to market as well as write.
I realized to be successful an author must interact with readers. Will all of them buy from you?
|"Guatemala Parrot" copyright MMSikes|
However, you might as well enjoy being there for a four-hour signing. I decided to smile at everyone. Engage in conversation with anyone who smiles back. And I started to offer free stuff with the sale of each book. I hand out Billie's green bookmark offering free books for reviews. And I give away a free signed art card with every book purchase. A card, printed with archival ink and suitable for framing, of the "Guatemala Parrot" I painted to go with my book has been my most popular free card. I also carry the 36" x 24" painting on canvas of the parrot with me as part of the decoration.
Sometimes I wear my Indiana Jones outfit to signings. That gives me something else to talk about.
Now, I'm selling books and enjoying the events. Happily, the William and Mary B and N did not pack up my books and send them back following that first unsuccessful signing. Instead, they scheduled more signings.
I've learned a lot talking to people, many of whom are tourists visiting Colonial Williamsburg on tour buses. Yesterday, I sold books to visitors from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Missouri, and Canada as well as to local Williamsburg folks.I had a very nice discussion with a visitor from London who didn't buy a book because of luggage limitations.
Best of all, I'm learning to like book signings!
Mary Montague Sikes