Friday, November 26, 2010

Booksignings -- The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

My buddy Diane Moody guests this week, sounding off about every author's "bete noir" -- the booksigning. Here's what she says:

Book Signings: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

I’m relatively new to the world of book signings, but I’ve already learned a lot—mostly what doesn’t work. Like the manager of a conference center bookstore who wasn’t remotely interested in making the event successful. No signage. No advertising. Refused my offer of free bookmarks. She set us up in the most off-the-path location on campus and scheduled our signing during the dinner hour. The result? *Cue the chirping crickets.* One of the other authors left half-way through. I didn’t blame him.

Then there was the event at a major bookstore here in Nashville. Someone dropped the ball, and less than 48 hours before the signing, there had been no advertising or signage whatsoever. A phone call sent them all scrambling. They quickly set up a table - in the back of the store – and printed a small sign with several misspellings. The result? *Chirping crickets.* I signed one book.
But enough about the bad ones.

While on a mini-tour in Florida, I was thrilled with a weekend-long event where everything was done right for a change. Martha Brangenberg, bookstore manager extraordinaire of Charis Christian Bookstore, located on a church campus in Largo, had planned well in advance. Weeks before my visit, she stocked up with plenty of copies of my book. She advertised in the church paper, the church bulletins, and on multiple TV monitors posted throughout the campus. She set up an end display in the heart of the bookstore and a table for my signing where we’d get the most traffic. And did we ever! I signed about 85 books that weekend!

Lessons learned?
(1) Booksellers who love books and the authors who write them, sell lots of books.
(2) Those who don’t should take up knitting.

Just sayin’ . . .

Diane Moody


Kym McNabney said...

Love it, great post. I'm so looking forward and not looking forward to one day having a book signing (Need to get published, first.). Sorry to hear about your bad experience but happy to hear that at times they actually do pay off.

Teresa Slack said...

Been there, done that. Got the t-shirt. So often book signings are nightmares, but then you have a great one that renews your faith. Glad you had fun

Debra E. Marvin said...

Sounds like a good time to bring your laptop, Diane, and that WIP!

Thanks, Deb, for the invite. I appreciate the nudge to your blog. I enjoyed reading over your older posts as well.

Have a great weekend, ladies!

Deb said...

Diane's right -- absent good advance publicity, these things can be quite disappointing. Like her, in Nashville I sold very few books. Connected with some people who looked rather bewildered, though...

I've had good signings. Mostly these were multi-author events in my hometown, when/where we had gobs of advance notice to get our minions out.

Chocolate also helps. But then, what doesn't chocolate help?

Christine Lindsay said...

Very helpful post, and funny. Just saying. :)

Ryan and Melanie said...

great post. Tells you how important publicity and word of mouth is for authors! Thanks for sharing.

Janny said...


Actually, on more than one occasion, I would have welcomed some crickets.

(le sigh)