I had my spur-of-the-moment book signing yesterday at The Fat Cat art gallery. It was a great kick-off to what will hopefully be a number of equally successful future signings.
The Fat Cat trunk show ran from 10-4, but I taught a public speaking course that morning in Greensboro and so couldn't arrive until 2. I dropped the books off on Friday, pre-signing most of them. When I walked in the Fat Cat, I found my book table at the front of the room with a cute display of books and the sign you see to the left.
Better still, Gwenn, the owner, came up to me and said, "A customer bought this book yesterday after you dropped them off. She called and left a message here at midnight saying this was a 'laugh-out-loud funny book' and she wanted to be put on the notification list for your next book."
Well! It's hard to start the day off better than that. And Gwenn was awesome, telling everyone who walked in the door the story and that "you need to buy Dena's cat book."
It was little harder than I thought it would be to sell myself and the book. It feels odd to talk about how great your work is. What I found worked best was to give customers some space. I stood back a little ways from the table and let them read the back cover and flip through the book. Then I'd approach and say something like, "Do you have cats?" and introduce myself as the author. It's a delicate balance between encouraging conversation yet not making people feel guilty if they don't buy your book.
I'm on the right track with my idea to start a page on this blog for the stories and pics of reader's cats. I heard so many great cat stories yesterday from people--I'm going to have to start bringing my laptop with me to capture them on the spot.
All told, it was a successful day. I sold 19 books, which, from my reading about book signings, is a decent number. We had a sci-fi author come speak to us once at our writer's group and he said he thought it was a good day if he sold 8 books at a signing. I think that's a low number, but I'm still pleased with my sales, especially considering I did no advertising that I'd be at the event. Again, I owe a huge debt of thanks to Gwenn and The Fat Cat. She just went all out to make the day a success for me. (The side photo is a picture of part of the inside of the gallery).
I had a few more surprises yesterday. My new writing buddy, Bernie, showed up unexpectedly, which was a huge treat. She lives a good ways off, so I was especially touched she made the drive in to see me.
My neighbor and owner of Madison Dry Goods, Richard Miller, also stopped by for some signed copies.
So yesterday was a very, very happy day. I'm conducting a public workshop for writers today in Greensboro at the public library from 2:30-4pm, and hope to sell a few more copies there as well. I need to start carrying around change with me--especially nickels!
Today I'm focusing on sending out review copies, as well as copies to those individuals who "blurbed" my book for me.