Monday, July 13, 2009

The Trouble with Book Signings

I've been thinking about bookstore appearances lately, and have started to schedule them for the publication of my book. It's hard, though, especially with a book published by a small press. I suppose I've been looking for excuses NOT to do signings and readings at stores, but then I saw this post by mystery writer Austin Camacho. Good advice, I think.

Check out Book Signings -- More Harm than Good?. (The blog appears have other good tips as well, so look around.)


Laura van den Berg said...

Thanks for this post--having my first book on the horizon, I've been thinking about this sort of thing a lot as well. It seems like pairing up with another writer, espec. a local, can be a huge help. Several bookstores that I've set dates with have even suggested it. Personally I am focusing a lot on reading series, since they often have more of a built-in audience, but on the other hand, I do keep hearing that it's good to form relationships with the indie bookstores. Anyway, this is all new to me as well and I imagine I'll likely have some revised opinions by the time it's all over.

jessica handler said...

Cliff, it looks like everything he's saying in that blog post is true to my experience, too. He's right about signing shelf-stock - and call around to the big box stores in your area and places you're going to be anyway, to see if you can sign stock.

You already have a big mailing list of friends and colleagues; let them know when you're doing events!

Indie book stores are great. These are the folks who hand-sell, who recommend. Sometimes the big box stores can't - those front table spaces are bought by the publishers! (Doesn't mean I don't go in and move a few copies of my own book from Memoir to New NonFiction... bad me?)

Get on calendars at indies as soon as you have a pub date.

And let me know and other authory friends who they can introduce you to in their necks of the woods.

And drive a lot. Fly a lot. Take it upon yourself to get the word out there.

This from someone who has a reading tomorrow night, and no telling if anyone will come. I've had fifty people at a reading, and I've had seven. No telling. Good luck!

Clifford Garstang said...

Yeah, there are ways to do it and these are all good suggestions that I've heard and will implement to the extent I do store appearances. I like Laura's idea of series readings (like Gist Street in Pittsburgh). Signing stock is nice--if they have stock or are willing to order. With a small press, sometimes the stores won't touch it.

And then there's Jonathan Galassi's point made in the recent P&W interview, which is that store sales aren't really where the future is. Should we be putting our efforts into marketing online?

Donna Trussell said...

One of my favorite author quotes: When asked if he ever had a book signing and nobody showed up, James Lee Burke replied, "I've never had to seek humility. It has always found me of its own accord."