I’m going to let you in on a little secret, and it’s not one I’ve ever heard published authors say. So I might be like the masked magician on the Secrets of Magic Revealed shows. But I’m willing to take that chance.
In November 2011, I released my fourth book THE TAMING OF THE WOLF. There were various book signings set up, and the booksellers who hosted me were more than kind. But on more than one occasion, not only did patrons not approach the table I was at, they also avoided looking me in the eye. Maybe I’m intimidating in person (I truly don’t think this is the case). Or perhaps people are just uncomfortable approaching an author they don’t know. Or maybe they’d rather not have their neighbors seeing them talking to an author whose cover has a naked male torso on the front.
Whatever the reason, I haven’t seen a ton of success with book signings.
Stock signings on the other hand…well, that’s an entirely different matter. I talked to a couple of booksellers who said that if a book in a shelf with an autographed sticker on the front, it has more of a chance of being sold. So my take away was that people do want the signed books, they just might not want to talk to the author to get one.
Since then, I’ve made it a point to tour all of the bookstores in my area whenever a new book comes out and sign every copy they have on hand. And now, I do the same when I travel. Over the holidays, I visited my family out west and spent one whole day visiting all of the book stores within a 30 mile radius. And yesterday, I visited bookstores in the Tampa and St. Petersburg areas and did the same thing.
More importantly than signing books for readers, is talking to booksellers while you’re standing at the information desk signing the stock. If you’re pleasant and gracious, they might remember you when someone asks for a recommendation. Or they might even point out that an author was recently in and signed books. Talking to bookstore staff is one of the most important things an author can do, in my opinion.
Next Tuesday, my latest release IT HAPPENED ONE BITE will hit shelves. And you can bet that I’ll be making a grand tour around all of the Raleigh/Durham area bookstores to sign whatever stock the store has on hand – giving readers a note and signature and getting the chance to talk to booksellers.