I love book signings. Truly, I do. I love meeting with readers and answering questions about my creation. There’s something magical about it. However, it’s not all autographs and book sales.
Here’s the truth: Some days, it will be an “If you write it, they will come.” kind of book signing. Other times it’ll be more like wandering in the wilderness for 40 years (or 40 minutes.) I’m going to take the next few minutes to walk you through my book signing event experience. Maybe I shouldn’t give you the low down, but at this moment, I feel like those outside the field of writing need to experience the truth.
In September of 2015, The Breeding Tree was released. I spent the rest of September and October doing online promotions. Then near the middle of October, I had my first book signing. It was held at my local library, the Sinclairville Free Library. I love that place. More importantly, I love the people in it. They celebrated with me in style. Even bought a cake that had my book cover on it! This was one of the largest turn outs I’ve had with 25ish people, including my Mom and Dad, 4 aunts, and several people from my church and writer’s group. These are my core fans. The people who have supported me most of my life. These are the people I want around me when I celebrate my small and large successes.
Following this event, I did a workshop. Usually a handful, anywhere from 1-6 people would attend depending on the week.
But, here’s where the truth comes. The next few signings were very sparse. Like, 2, people, 6 people, and 1 person sparse. It’s a little disheartening. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am SO THANKFUL for those who take the time to plan these events and for those who come to hear me speak or come wanting their book signed. For people like you, I will continue to schedule signings because you, my readers, are what inspire me to keep going. Besides, it might be one of you telling your friend who tells another friend about my book that causes people to start to take notice. You are important, vital even, whether you are the only one present or one of 25.
So tell me, fellow authors, is your experience anything like mine? And readers, do you have any interest in meeting the people who create the books you read?
The second picture you see here might have been my most exciting signing. It was at another local library, Ahira Hall in Brocton, NY. The librarian contacted the school and the English teacher gave extra credit for any student who showed up to my presentation on a Saturday! I was so excited! There were teens there! When you write for teens, it’s kinda slightly important that they start reading your books. So, after hanging with about 25 teens for the afternoon, I headed home, heart lightened. It didn’t matter that I hadn’t sold any books. I had teen readers.
Maybe my experience isn’t the norm. I don’t know. Being from a small town, I’m excited if anyone shows up to these events. But I’ll admit, it would be awesome if I was able to meet more than one person at a time. Perhaps one day I’ll have books on the shelves of every bookstore in the country. Maybe I’ll end up traveling far and wide to meet fans and connect with teen readers. But until then, I have to start somewhere. So let me encourage you to support your local people, be them authors, musicians, business people or something entirely different. We are striving to create something beautiful for YOU, and we want you to be a part of the journey with us.