Friday, May 4, 2012

Why Book Signings Aren't For Me

I've done two book signings in my writing career. One was fairly successful, while the other not so much. But that's not why book signings aren't for me. I'm uncomfortable selling myself. I know I'm selling a product, the book, but I pour so much of myself in my writing that each book is really an extension of me. So in essence, what I'm really trying to sell is myself.

When you do a book signing, you first have to get the attention of the potential buyer. Once you manage to catch their eye you get chatty with them, and that eventually leads to the book on the table in front of you. You hope. You don't want to seem to eager, but you're really chomping at the bit and praying for a sale. How embarrassing would it be to set up a book signing at a local library or book store, and not make one sale? Some authors will hand out little giveaways whether they make a sale or not. There's nothing wrong with that, it's good public relations.

The successful book signing I attended was at the Romantic Times Convention a few years ago when it was held in Orlando, Florida. Friends and family came out to support me, and a few sales were made from strangers who'd either recognized my name online, or liked the book cover. I just couldn't bring myself to plug my books or coerce them into buying one. Now don't get me wrong. I have the gift of gab, and I'm a people person, but something in me freezes when it comes time to talk about my books.

My table partner at the RT Convention was a friendly, out-going author by the name of KyAnn Waters. She was a pro! I watched her strike up a conversation with anyone who came by and she had no problem picking up her book and plugging it. She made it seem so natural. And there was no pressure involved, either. I believe she did fairly well at both book signings. I know it was as much because of her smiling personality as it was her nac for knowing what she wanted to say, and saying it in a way that it didn't sound like she was trying to make a sale.

Another reason book signings aren't for me is because writing is just a hobby for me. I do it for me and that will never change. I'll never sign a contract for work I haven't done. Because once it becomes a job I can't do it. I'm happy just going through life writing when I feel like it, and promoting my work online. There's nothing wrong with that, is there? I don't think so. I'm getting out of it what I want and every little royalty check I receive tickles me.

I learned long ago that book signings aren't for me. Not to say I'll never do another one. If the circumstances were right. If a group of us were to get together and do a signing, just getting together with other authors, and getting to know them, now that would be fun.


KyAnn said...

that was one of the funnest book signings I've been to as well. We laughed so much that day...and the man candy hanging out around our table didn't hurt either. I thought your husband was a hoot. Good times and good memories.

Florida Romance Authors said...

Yeah, I hope to make it to another one some time. Do you go every year?

My hubby passed away two months ago, after a long illness and a stroke. He was a good man and I'll forever miss his smile and humor.


Nancy Bristow said...

So, Debbie, it sounds like you're exactly where you want to be regarding "book signings." It's all good:) ~Nancy

Tory Richards said...