Book Signing Part II

29 Mar

Hastings Entertainment is a regional retail chain that sells books, music, movies, and video games. It also rents movies and video games and buys used books, music, movies and video games for resale. I knew about the new Hastings in Nampa, Idaho, before they even broke ground and I hoped one day that I’d get a chance to do a book signing there. The store agreed to have me sign in February and I was able to choose the weekend before Valentine’s Day.

In my past experience, book stores in general ordered/bought copies of my book, put their sticker on the back, and then I sold the books at the book signing. The books that were left were put on the store shelf. Because of the economy and/or e-book success, my last signing at Powell’s books in Oregon had to be books I personally brought in. Hastings did something a little different, too. They took two of each of my titles on consignment and then I brought additional books in to sell at the signing. I received a contract explaining the percentage the store would receive. They displayed the consignment books in the local author section. I produced a page that contained my book signing information and the store posted it in the coffee shop. I had the opportunity to bring in a poster to display at the counter a week before the signing.

A table was provided, but I didn’t know what size it would be until the day of the signing (it depended on what was available). I ended up with a square card table and a table cloth. At the table, I was given sales stickers to put on the back of the book(s) to be sold and the shopper took the book through the store’s checkout line.

I’d often wondered what a good display for my table should look like. I’ve since learned you can buy a disposable plastic table cloth at a dollar store. It’s a good deal, but I find myself using a white table cloth most of the time (if one isn’t provided). I own a square card table, but I prefer to use a rectangular shape for more space to set up books, a vinyl poster, postcards, bookmarks, rack cards, and objects that have to do with my story or setting. The picture above is an excellent display by multi-published author Paty Jager. My sister made the shadow box in the photo to the right, which includes my three books. I think it’s a nice visual to add to my table.

I do try to say good morning, or afternoon, to those that cross my path, and I’ve learned there’s something about someone wishing you a good morning that puts a smile on your face.

I am an ace at remembering/naming stars when they appear in reruns, but after several people pass by my table they all start to look the same. It’s a problem when they stop and you’ve talked, then they come back to purchase and you introduce yourself again.

It’s lonely out there and you can feel awkward and self-conscious if you’re new at this. I can push those feelings aside and I’ve come to enjoy talking with people going by. If a person likes to read and/or write 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. Hastings has several other products to compete with. I enjoyed seeing the variety of things offered at Hastings.

A book signing is not always the best marketing ploy a writer has. Some authors don’t feel it’s a good use of time. It matters if you know anyone in the area where you’re signing. At Hastings, four of my writing friends stopped by and it made my day.

Remember to support your local author by showing up to say hi. You don’t have to buy a book to be remembered fondly.

You can find Book Signing Part I here:


Posted by on March 29, 2012 in Blogs, Boise, Book Signings, Idaho, writers, writing


Tags: , , , , , ,

14 responses to “Book Signing Part II

  1. Janis McCurry

    March 29, 2012 at 7:28 AM

    Mary, this is a great birds-eye view of your book signing. Thanks for the tips.

  2. ramblingsfromtheleft

    March 29, 2012 at 7:34 AM

    Funny you should mention this, Mary. In one week I will go to a book signing at the local library where I met my first writer’s group. Three members who went indie are bringing their books and of course all of our group, both past and present members will be there to support our friends. The library advertised in their monthly bulletin and has always been very supportive of members.

    What we have two towns to the north is one of the most popular mystery books stores in three counties … Murder on the Beach … they support all locals and do signings and feature both traditional and indie pub’d authors. They also publish all their events in our newspaper.

    Love your ideas and wish you the best for each signing. The more people who get to know your work, the more word of mouth will increase your readership 🙂

    • maryvine

      March 29, 2012 at 1:23 PM

      You have great support for writers over there, that’s for sure. Thanks for commenting, Florence!

  3. Peggy Staggs

    March 29, 2012 at 8:00 AM

    Customer service is the name of the game. Reaching out to people who walk by is a great way to get them to remember you. Since I’m in retail I hear a lot from customers about other stores who don’t pay any attention to them when they come in the store. In this world of you-can-get-whatever-anywhere it’s the human touch that makes all the difference. They may not buy a book this time, but when they see your name on the shelf they’ll remember and maybe pickup the book.

    • maryvine

      March 30, 2012 at 11:21 AM

      You have a good point there, Peggy. Customer service is the name of the game. Thanks!

  4. Meredith Allen Conner

    March 29, 2012 at 9:01 AM

    Nice post Mary and thanks for adding the photos. I like the personal touches you add.

    • maryvine

      March 29, 2012 at 1:24 PM

      Well thanks, Meredith.

  5. Paty Jager

    March 29, 2012 at 11:29 AM

    My table cloth was crooked. :0(

    Love the shadow box!

    Book signings aren’t my favorite thing to do but I feel that sometimes you have to get out there and be available to the reader. And if you can set them up where you know you’ll get a few friends or family to come by it helps.

    I’m glad you had an enjoyable time and maybe we’ll be sitting side by side at Miner’s Jubilee again.

    • maryvine

      March 29, 2012 at 1:26 PM

      Thanks for commenting, Paty. Crooked or not, it’s still a beautiful display! Yes, I hope to see you this summer, too.

  6. Lynn Mapp

    March 29, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    Mary, thanks for sharing your experience.

  7. maryvine

    March 29, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    Welcome, Lynn.

  8. Marsha R. West

    March 30, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    However difficult or maybe awkward the book signing is, Mary, celebrate you have a real book in your hand that you’ve written. (The third one! Cool!) That has to be beyond exciting. In my RWA chapter, we have several recent first sales, and we’re all biting our nails waiting to hear when they come out. I’ve heard from multipubbed chapter mates, it’s really easier if you can take a buddy along for these things. They can help heard people you’re way, If there’s a line get the name ahead of folks who want you to put there name in front along with yours. If someone is obnoxioulsy long and holding things up, your buddy can help move that person away. Anyway, I’m excited for you about the booksigning and wish you well with sales.

  9. Clarissa Southwick

    April 1, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    I loved seeing you at your booksigning, Mary. And I love that Hastings has a local author table. I always check it out when I’m in there. Thanks for another great blog 🙂


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