Book Signings

31 Jul

Dreaming of your first book signing? If you’re a writer chasing a dream of publication, you probably are. I certainly looked forward to the day, until it got here. My thoughts went wild. What will I wear? If I’m with another author, will we both end up wearing a navy blue suit jacket? But then, is a jacket too fancy?

It turned out to be scarier than I’d thought and not because of wardrobe. For my first two signings I was with one other author, then three others. What if their book sells but mine doesn’t? I certainly didn’t want to look pitiful. Well, I did sell some books, too, and no one was wearing the same thing as I was.

I’ve since learned that you don’t have to wear something eye catching each time you sign, and that depending on the amount of time you are signing has a good deal to do with how many books you sell. It also matters if you know anyone in the area where you’re signing. Unless you are Nora Roberts, even selling one book at a one hour signing is something. If it’s four hours, I think six is pretty good. Of course the more books you have written and displayed, gives a reader more choice and perhaps more sales.

A fellow author told me of a time recently that she’d signed with three other authors in a nice book store near Seattle. Two of the writers had multiple deals with big publishing houses. The other two had contracts with small houses but were selling nonetheless. Yet, not one person bought a book from any of them. As a matter-of-fact, people avoided them by giving them a wide berth in the store. Things like this do happen and to the best of writers.

What do I know for sure? That besides setting up a good visual display, it doesn’t matter what you do to get people to come in and see your books. I do try to say good morning, or afternoon, to those that cross my path, but if a person likes to read they will stop and look. Many people don’t choose to read, whether due to time restraints or they spend their time with all that technology has to offer these days, and if that’s the case they don’t need what you have to offer. That’s okay, because there are also those that love reading what you write. I also know for sure that men will come by and look, too. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that half of the people that bought my first book, Maya’s Gold, are male. I assume it’s the gold in the title that they want to read about.

It’s been nearly four years since my first book came out, and I’m no longer frightened of book signings. I enjoy talking with people going by and am delighted when a fan comes in to buy my next book.


Posted by on July 31, 2011 in Blogs, Boise, Book Signings, books, Idaho, readers, writers


18 responses to “Book Signings

  1. johannaharness

    July 31, 2011 at 6:00 AM

    Thanks for this post, Mary! I’m so happy for your success. Every time I think of book signings now, I think of the video by Parnell Hall, “Signing in the Waldenbooks.” It’s here:

    • Terri Farley

      July 31, 2011 at 1:17 PM

      Thanks for this & for the link to the YouTube video!

      Love it.

    • Mary Vine

      July 31, 2011 at 1:50 PM

      Yes, I love this video, too! Now that would be tough to have a book signing with Mary Higgins Clark!

    • Amanda Bonilla

      July 31, 2011 at 3:15 PM

      That video scares the crap out of me! 😉 I keep thinking, oh yeah, that’ll be me for sure!

      • Mary Vine

        July 31, 2011 at 8:45 PM

        I like the guy’s sense of humor for putting this video out. Thanks for reading, Amanda!

  2. Peggy Staggs

    July 31, 2011 at 7:32 AM

    I’ve heard other authors talk about book signings and they scare me. I hope I get the chance to find out how much. Gook luck at those signings.

    • Mary Vine

      July 31, 2011 at 1:52 PM

      You keep working, you’ll get there. Thanks, Peggy.

  3. Janis

    July 31, 2011 at 7:33 AM

    I saw that video. Mary, great pragmatic advice and yet another reason to develop a thick skin in this business. Thanks.

  4. Carley Ash

    July 31, 2011 at 9:06 AM

    This is great insider information. Thanks for expectation advice.

    • Mary Vine

      July 31, 2011 at 1:53 PM

      Thanks, Carly. I’ll be looking forward to your book signings in the future.

  5. Liz Fredericks

    July 31, 2011 at 10:25 AM

    Mary, I’m so impressed with what you have accomplished. I’m saving this blog for reference – if/when I publish, I’ll have your guidance!!

    • Mary Vine

      July 31, 2011 at 1:54 PM

      What a nice comment. Thanks, Liz.

  6. Meredith Conner

    July 31, 2011 at 2:10 PM

    Great blog as usual Mary. It’s always great to hear success stories and other things to think about besides “where can I get an agent?”

    • Mary Vine

      July 31, 2011 at 8:48 PM

      I’ve heard that agents are starting to get into helping you self-publish your work, too, so you have to be extra careful these days. Thanks!

  7. Clarissa Southwick

    July 31, 2011 at 3:45 PM

    Thanks for giving us the inside scoop on signings, Mary. It’s good to know all of this before you agree to do one.

  8. Suzie Quint

    July 31, 2011 at 10:37 PM

    If it can happen to George RR Martin (and it has), it can happen to anyone.

    • Mary Vine

      August 1, 2011 at 1:43 PM

      Thanks for commenting, Suzie.


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