Ah, book signings! A chance for authors to get away from their laptops for a bit, go out into the world and press the flesh with kindly readers. I’ve done several over the past few years to varying degrees of success. Some you sell out, others you check the time every 3 minutes just to reassure yourself that time is indeed still moving forward.
I tend to like solo events best, but having a group of fellow writers to chat with, share stories and pass the time can be nice. Any author knows these can be encouraging days or a real kick in the crotch. You’re lucky if you don’t need to setup too much due to space constraints or bring any inventory along, but on those occasions that are over a weekend or you spend setting a full booth can be rewarding but exhausting at best, and at worst you’re left to carry unsold copies out to your car as a small rain cloud hovers just over your head on the way.
Some authors are really pleasant, laid back and gregarious. Others only want to talk about their book, their trials and tribulations, and beat down every unassuming passerby with forced chit chat that always circles back to how many accolades they’ve achieved. I try to be polite, toss out a sincere greeting and engage people that actually seem interested in my stuff.
Not everyone is interested in buying a UFO or ghost book at full price that moment, especially when they can check my books out from their local library or order it online at a discount and have it in 2 days anyway. That’s fine! It’s a chance to make connections, suggest other books, plug your site for free and just have a good conversation. That always is a more genuine approach, and just because a sale isn’t made today doesn’t mean it won’t happen afterward. Signings are a chance to sell yourself, your enthusiasm, and your sincerity in pairing your work with someone who will really enjoy it.
This also means putting yourself out there, and making sure you set your expectations accordingly. It’s hard to see dozens of potential buyers pass you by, and it’s awesome when you meet people who really appreciate what you’re doing and wish you luck. At the end of the day each signing is different, but they’re a great way to socialize with readers and provide you with energy and drive to keep doing what counts – writing.