Mark Terry

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Book Signings update

April 11, 2010
Yesterday I had a book signing at the Barnes & Nobles in Allen Park, Michigan.

Unlike the signing/launch party at Aunt Agatha's in Ann Arbor, this signing was more typical.

My wife decided to accompany me for the first time. I'm begging her to accompany me to the downtown Ann Arbor Borders signing on Thursday April 22nd for navigational assistance, but otherwise I don't imagine this is something she wants to do again. She took the iPad and eventually lay claim to a comfy chair and spent it reading and surfing.

They ordered about 30 books, which is a fair amount, given the price point of The Fallen. There was a big poster in the window and a good-sized poster inside and I was set up just inside the door with a small table.

At the last signing at Aunt Agatha's I had bought a $25 gift card to give away in a drawing. I decided to try that at B&N, so I bought 2 $25 gift cards to give away, and when they made the announcement at 2:00 that I was there, they also told people to sign up for a free raffle to win a gift card. Nobody came.

So as people entered the store I said, "Hello! Would you be interested in entering a raffle to win a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card? The drawing's in about 15 minutes."

Here's the weird thing. I would say 4 out of 5 people said, "No."

Really. All they had to do was sign their name on a piece of blank paper and drop it in a basket for a chance at a $25 gift card FOR THE STORE THEY JUST ENTERED, and most said no. I think people either think there's a string attached, are paranoid, or lazy. I just don't know. Maybe I should have said "for the price of a signature I'm GIVING AWAY FREE MONEY!"

I got 9 entries, did the drawing, and the guy who won the first card was a guy who was already going to buy the book anyway.

So I gave the 2nd gift card to my wife in appreciation for her coming with me.

I still think this is a great idea for small stores or small groups or library talks, but for big stores, mmmm, not so sure. It didn't do what I hoped it would do.

So I spent about 2 hours having odd conversations with people, selling a few books, staring at book and magazine covers near where I was, texting my wife, and generally telling myself that book signings aren't about selling books, per se, but about getting your name known, signing store stock, meeting people at bookstores, getting to know bookstore people, getting your name listed in local newspaper listings as doing signings, and about making your publisher happy that you're making an effort to promote your book.

Then we drove home.

I've got another one next Saturday in Beverly Hills, Michigan, which I'll mention later in the week, or you can check for yourself on my news page.

Cheers,
Mark Terry

3 Comments:

Blogger Eric said...

At least you sold some books. Well, okay, I actually sold one book to a stranger at a signing once. Good lord. I still have nightmares about book signings. I am a very reclusive person to begin with so being put on display in the front of a bookstore is a horror to me. One time they stuck my table in front of a big display of Sue Grafton books. That'll make you feel good. I suppose it depressed their sales of Sue Grafton temporarily. At least when Mary and I signed together we had each other to talk to. Once we signed an anthology with Ed Hoch who was also in the anthology and that was cool because we got to visit with Ed.

7:47 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Eric,
My wife has been texting me about a big Michigan author that we know (Doug Stanton) is still doing talks and signings to please his publisher. I told her it's Writers' Penance.

6:36 AM  
Blogger sex scenes at starbucks said...

If I lived nearby, I'd come. :)

4:42 PM  

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