Book signings are complex things. They can be wonderful or they can be . . . well, very bad. Let me give you an example of the “very bad.”
My husband and I drove three hours to a signing. It was at a large chain store in a well-populated area, so you would think it would be a fairly successful event. When we arrived at the store, the manager appeared happy to see me.
“I’ve got you set up back here,” she said.
She led me through the store to the video section where there was a table and some chairs.
She smiled and looked at me expectantly.
I smiled, wondering why in the world I’d been placed in the videos. “Great,” I said. “Thanks.”
One of the best parts of book signings is meeting and talking with new people. I met three new people that day, including the manager of the store. I pretty much only conversed with one new person, a boy who told me his favorite movie was “Lean on Me.” The other new person was a young man who wandered by and spoke. The manager didn’t really talk with me, other than to ask if I’d like a magazine to read. Otherwise, she sat and simply looked at me as if she expected me to do something literary. I think she was disappointed because I didn’t really do anything literary, not even sign a book.
Now let me tell you about a good signing experience.
A while back, I had a delightful signing at a Women’s Expo. There I got to reconnect with writer friends I hadn’t seen in awhile, and I met lots of new people. Over the course of the weekend, I sold seventeen copies of my book, which was an accomplishment given that there were some terrific authors there and people had to make some difficult choices.
I even saw a girl I went to high school with. I was talking with her and her friend when suddenly I recognized her.
“Renee!” I shouted.
She laughed and we hugged.
I met a woman who was a breast cancer survivor and who was worried about the economy.
I met a charming little boy who was a delight. He kept coming back and getting candy until my bowl was empty.
“You need to fill that back up,” he said.
“Can’t. I’m out of candy.”
At his worried frown, I went on to tell him about a booth I’d visited earlier where they were giving away little candy bars.
You could see the light brighten his eyes as he grabbed my bowl.
“What’re you doing?” I asked.
“I’m gonna go where they have that candy and fill this up.”
I laughed. “No, don’t do that. I’ll get in trouble. Just go get one for you.”
He nodded. “I’ll see what I can do.”
He didn’t bring back handfuls of candy, thank goodness. But when I was thirsty, he did get me a small cup of chocolate milk from the Mayfield vendor.
So, please, when you see authors at a book signing, don’t walk by with your eyes averted. Come up and say hello. You don’t even have to buy a book or bring us candy or chocolate milk. But it’s okay if you do. 😉
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