— by Katie O’Boyle
Last summer I joined three other authors from the area to sell and sign books at a fun summer festival. Last weekend, three of us made the scene at Geneva (NY) Night Out, a multi-venue event held the first Friday of each month.
Our signing was upstairs at wonderful gathering spot, Stomping Grounds on Castle Street. We shared the space with Copper Horse Coffee, an independent roaster from Ithaca, NY. Wish I could say we all sold out! We didn’t, but my top seller was book three, Finding the Way Back To Love. Why? Each buyer admitted to enjoying kayaking or canoeing on the lakes, and they’d zeroed in on the blue canoe on the cover.
For the first, I read passages from my books to an audience of seniors, and they were eager to purchase their own signed copies. I hadn’t realized being on a first-name basis with an author and having the autograph to prove it meant so much to them.
For the second, I joined fellow authors (and several artists) in the atrium of a local mall, just outside a gift shop that has our titles (and artwork) on consignment. Foot traffic was continual, and I enjoyed talking to a wide variety of people. I sold so many books, I had to duck out to my car for more.
For the third signing, I was tucked in the corner of a display room in a house filled with artwork, books, fabrics art, tasty treats, pottery, and other items on consignment from Finger Lakes folks. It was a chilly day, and I was sure the chocolate-topped espresso drink on the cover of Coming Home To Love would be the biggest seller. Nope. Everyone wanted book one, Stepping Up To Love. You guessed it— I made a trip to the car to replenish the supply of books.
Every book signing has been different, from the location to the customers to the sales themselves. I’ve enjoyed them all, especially the opportunity to be part of the creative community and to meet my neighbors all over the Finger Lakes region.
If you’re contemplating a book signing, I encourage you to do it with a fellow author, make yourself comfortable, and tune into the people you meet, more than the number of sales you make. You’re getting your name out there and learning about people’s tastes. They’ll remember you and want to see what’s new the next time.
Oh, and the reason we didn’t make many sales last weekend? Most of the attendees admitted they’re not readers. Chocolate hearts and great book covers can’t fix that. In spite of the low return, I had a terrific time and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Hope you’ll share your experience with book selling and signing!