Since, you know, publishing a book, I figured I should do my best and sell that little monster.
Easier said than done, no?
Anywho. . .
As an extrovert, you’d think book signings would be exciting for me. To get out with people instead of sitting inside, by myself. (Which would be my introverted husbands heaven.) But that whole added factor of hey-total-stranger-here’s-my-book-please-support-the-fund-to-get-my-kid-braces.
Whether or not I have kids is a moot point.
The first person I went to to help me find my courage, and teach me the ropes about book signings, was Jennifer Bailey. Probably one of the most innovative writers for book signings ever. So then I decided to share the love.
Here’s J.S. Bailey to talk to you about book signings.
The Signing of the Books
(Not to be confused with The Running of the Bulls.)
My name is J. S. Bailey. I write books. Sometimes I sell them.
As a relatively-new author, most people have not heard of my stories. I engage with people on social media, and while I have met many wonderful people that way who ended up becoming my friends (Way to go, Musers!), it doesn’t generate much in the way of sales.
I am a naturally withdrawn person who rarely speaks, so becoming a published author has made me step waaaaay outside of my comfort zone. Since I don’t get many online sales, I have to get my hands messy and step out into the world where the people are, even though people are scary and I’m afraid that half of them might actually be serial killers.
What do I mean by this?
I set up book signings.
At places I have never been before.
(insert horror movie music here)
Most of these places end up being one of the 5,000 local Starbucks, or bagel shops, or pizza places. Basically anywhere that people go to sit around and chill. I set up a table, neatly arrange my books in an aesthetically-pleasing display, sit down, and wait.
While my insides are all tied up into knots.
Then, slowly, people begin to notice me. I greet people as they pass by. Some stop to chat, which is cool. Others will pick up my books and read the backs. Then I’ll see that somebody on the other side of the room has their smart phone out and is eyeing my table as they surreptitiously Google the titles of my books. Since Rage’s Echo is a ghost story, some people start telling me about creepy things that have happened to them. (Future story ideas, anyone?) The ones I talk to the most end up purchasing one (or both!) of my books, which I then sign for them in red pen. I thank them profusely for their support before we part ways.
And even though I’m so nervous, I love every moment of it.
Especially these gems.
“Do you take credit cards?” a man asked me at a bagel shop in Mason, Ohio. “I could take your credit card,” I said, “but I don’t think you would like it very much.”
Or the time a young woman came to one of my bagel shop signings in Anderson Township, Ohio with a copy of The Land Beyond the Portal she’d bought online. I had no idea who she was. As it turned out, she’d seen a book signing poster I’d placed at another location and came to that signing, instead. To this date, she is the only stranger who has come to a signing who already had a copy of my book. Her name was Mindy. Hi, Mindy!
Or the time when a man and his wife and son showed up at a signing in Eastgate, Ohio. “Hi,” the man said. “I’m your cousin.” Baffled, I said, “Which one?” To which he replied, “Brian.” That’s right. A cousin I hadn’t seen in years dropped by, and it was awesome.
My writing journey has been a long adventure. I have experienced great stress and great joy. But even though this has been harder work than I ever imagined it would be, every moment is worth it because I know that my stories have touched hearts and brought joy to those who needed it the most.
What about you, writers? Have you had to step outside of your comfort zones once your stories were released upon the world?
J. S. Bailey is the author of Rage’s Echo, The Land Beyond the Portal, Weary Traveler, and Vapors. She lurks in the eastern suburbs of Cincinnati with her husband and a sickly collection of houseplants. Visit Bailey at www.jsbaileywrites.com and www.facebook.com/jsbaileywrites, and be sure to follow her on Twitter @JSBailey_author!
Here’s her amazon author page in case you want to check out any of her thrillers. Rages Echo, for the record . . . oh. em. gee.
Don’t sleep with the lights off.