They say everything is a learning curve, and wow- is book signing ever a learning curve!
I had my first two signings, one in Edmonton, one in St. Albert, both Alberta. I had lots of friends come to sit with me, visit with me and just wave at me, which was amazing. During these two days I learnt a few things. Here’s the coles notes;
First and foremost, don’t let nerves distract you, you’ll end up being late.
Back story- yes I was nervous, especially for that first day. So my girlfriend offered to stay with me. We stopped at a store on the way so I could eat breakfast and we had a few minutes to kill so we sat in the car and chatted. Then went in the store and bought food. Then chatted with some of her friends in the store. Upon returning to the car, I realized we should have left ten minutes ago. So I raced to the bookstore, quickly parked and walked in to the store I had never been to before, having no idea where the table was or anything. Luckily, the table was right at the front door and I walked in, and set up within a few short moments. The bookstore owners were kind and nonchalant about me being late but man, did that drive ever ramp up my nerves even more. What’s worse than being nervous? Being nervous and then being late.
Next tip, don’t compliment someone if there back is turned to you.
This again was from my first book signing. With the table set right at the front door, I had the honor of greeting every single person that walked in, some people purposely looked away and shuffled as fast as they could (which was a little more apparent in the larger bookstore on my second book signing day.) So I sat at my little table and a girl walked up to the book shelf across from me and selected a novel to peruse. I noticed her backpack is one that I had recently purchased 1,2 and 3 of the manga because it looked super cute! (The Promised Neverland) I decided I would send that compliment to her, but she jumped from my remark, dropped the book she was reading and raced out of the store. Um, okay.
Third tip I learnt. This one is something I struggle with at times, although I love reading, I am a slow reader and often don’t associate genres to what I’m reading. I just like a good story. This tip is pretty simple- don’t tell a middle aged man interested in your book that its a Young Adult. Several times that man very quickly placed the book back where he found it and left. Even when I tried to explain that means it’s basically for everyone, nope, he was gone and so was the sale. Oops!
Keep up to date on your conversion rates.
Back story- a lady that is a fellow author, selected my book and graciously asked me to sign it for her. We spoke for a few minutes, she was inquiring about how I market my book (check out my Instagram or Facebook to see how I do that!) and I gave her my business card and recommended she check out the table behind us. Said table claimed to be ‘TikToks Recommendations.’ I explained this to her, she said thanks and then asked how much my book cost. I said $25.95. She said, oh that’s expensive. I said well, it’s $17.99 USD, so the conversion jacks it up a bit. She replied her book is $18.99 USD and sells it for $21.99 CAD. I recommended she reconsider her price. She looked a little shocked, to say the least. I hope she hadn’t lost too much money.
And last but not least, is something I can maybe learn from- lot’s of people shop, pick things up, and then leave without buying a thing. I’m horrible. I think often when I go to bookstores for book signings, meetings or dropping off my novels, I end up buying more than I’m dropping off!
Oh well, live and learn.
On to my next book signing!