Some things are better in a crowd. Book signings, for example.
I had my first solo at a book signing today. The event was at a Barnes & Noble bookstore a few miles from me.
I was excited to do it. First of all, it was my first ‘solo’ signing for the anthology, and, it’s the Saturday of a big holiday weekend and (best of all) the weather is overcast and chilly! Perfect ‘browsing at the bookstore’ weather!
I loaded up the car last night with my big beautiful trophy, the framed art from my story, a whole buncha swag sent to me by the good people at Galaxy Press and Author Services, Inc, and (just in case), an extra box of books (I wanted to be prepared in case the store ran out of books). I’d put up fliers a few days earlier, and gotten feedback from almost a dozen people (people I didn’t even know!) who said they were planning to come. I even bought a brand new shirt to wear that matched the color of the cover!
I needn’t have worried. The B&N people had 6 cases of books on hand. They didn’t have any posters or a place for the signing set up, but they quickly moved some furniture around in the gift area, and brought in a table and chairs for me. Maybe not the best location to attract sci-fi and fantasy readers, but it was out of the way and not far from the front door.
So I set up shop and waited for the crowds.
I sold the first book pretty quick, and right after that, my friend Liz came in and took that swell picture of me (above). At that point I was still pretty optimistic. But an hour later, not so much. The store manager moved aside some of the furniture and helpfully suggested I stand at the entrance and introduce myself to people as they came in the door. I thought that was a bit aggressive, but I did make several passes through the Science Fiction and Fantasy sections, introduced myself to the the people in those sections, and told them I was signing books on the other side of the store.
And waited (sigh).
I did speak to a very nice lady who was there to buy a card for her veterinarian, and spent almost twenty minutes chatting with a four-year-old girl about the dragons that live at her house. She told me the babies can’t fly yet, and that the grown-up dragons are “quite ornery”. When her mom came to fetch her, I told her her daughter was going to be a writer when she grew up.
I don’t know what I did wrong. All my friends have sold a lot of books at their signings. I had such high expectations.
But I didn’t sell very many books.