Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Joy of Book Signing

Last Saturday, I signed copies of my new "Snap" Malek book from Echelon Press, A PRESIDENT IN PERIL, at my "home" bookstore, Barnes & Noble in Wheaton, Ill. And I enjoyed every minute.

But then, I've always relished signings. It's the one time you get to meet your readers, or in many cases, your prospective readers. For this event, I sent post cards and e-mails to friends and neighbors. Many came, but I was surprised by the number of people I'd never met who stopped to hear my spiel and (often) buy a book.

Admittedly, I was helped by it being the day before Father's Day. I approached one teenage girl and asked if she'd bought anything for her Dad yet. She shook her head and I made my pitch, esplaining why my historical mystery, set in the Chicago of 1948, would be a good gift. Ka-ching--a sale! Same with a woman looking for a gift for her husband from their daughter--another buyer.

A classic car aficionado bought the book because I mentioned that maverick Chicago automaker Preston Tucker appears in the story, along with his revolutionary but short-lived car, the Tucker Torpedo.

My approach is to engage readers "gently"--that is, introduce myself and tell them just a bit about my book. If they respond positively, I go into more detail, but if it's clear they aren't interested, I back off. The last thing I want is to drive people from the store.

I don't believe I drove anyone from Barnes & Noble Saturday. Was the day a success? Yes and no. My definition of success is to sell every book. In that respect, I didn't quite make it. I sold just over 75% of their stock, but several friends who were out of town Saturday say they'll be buying this week, so I still have hopes. And I have the satisfaction of knowing I've made some new friends--friends who might also become regular readers of mine.

Robert Goldsborough


blues buffett said...

Hi Bob
Good selling! 75% conversion rate is great where I come from!
And I promise - when you're next at a book signing in Sydney Australia, I'll buy a copy! (ps better make it Abbey's bookstore in the city).
best wishes, Ray

Rob said...

Great Post.

I'm impressed. 75 percent of the stock, huh?

I own two of your Snap Malek books. Hope to buy the other two soon. But your president in peril book is one that I am highly interested in the moment. I've always admired Preston Tucker and his cars. He was the little guy who could until the car companies crunched him, which is sad. I'm glad that you have incorporated him into one of your stories. I plan to do the same, but that's three books down the line.

Keep up the good work!