Published authors soon discover that their dreams--fans snatching multiple copies of their books from the shelves, begging for autographs--rarely match reality. Often a book disappears into the vast ocean of books, making barely a ripple. Sure, you sell a stack of copies to your relatives and best friends. Maybe the local library or bookstore sets up a signing, where you sit amongst copies of your newly minted book and wait...and wait... and wait...
So where are those hordes of fans? The adoring public? A few people gaze at you and your sign. Several wander over, mostly to tell you about their dreams of being a writer. Your mom arrives, dragging a few friends in tow. You manage to sell, um, three copies? Count yourself lucky. Those are average first-time booksigning sales unless you're an exceptionally good salesperson who buttonholes people and convinces them to buy.
Unfortunately, most authors prefer keyboards to conversation, so high-powered salespersonship is beyond their powers. They shrink as people approach the table and pray they won't have to come up with an opening gambit. So if you're a shrinking violet, how can you ensure that you have plenty of visitors to your signing (besides having your mom strong-arm her friends)? Try the old safety-in-numbers trick. The more authors, the more mothers to marshal friends to the table. The larger variety, too, will encourage more browsers. Who knows? Maybe one of those visitors (or more) may pick up your book. It's worth a try.
Oh, and a little chocolate always helps. If it doesn't attract the customers you'd hoped for, you can use it as comfort food.
The Susquehanna Writers are taking their own advice and banding together to brave the world of booksignings. You can meet many of us at the Midtown Scholar Bookstore in Harrisburg, PA, on December 19, 2009.
If you want to know where and when to show up, here are the additional details:
3-5 pm, December 19, 2009
1302 North Third Street
Harrisburg, PA 17102
Get autographed copies of romances, mysteries, self-help, thrillers, history, YAs, and more. And the Midtown Scholar offers the largest array of rare and used books between New York and Chicago. They have more than ONE MILLION secondhand and out-of-print books in all fields.You’ll find something to please everyone on your holiday gift list.
So bring Mom, Dad, Sis, Bro, and even crazy Uncle Albert. We promise you a delicious holiday treat (if we don't eat it all first). A good incentive to show up early before all the the best stuff is gone.