Thursday, April 23, 2015
The Lighter Side of Business: Book Signings
You've been asked/allowed/we-won't-call-the-cops-if-you-show-up to do a book signing? Great! You get bonus points if it's indoors. I'll just say that outdoor events in the deep south are only bearable for three days between January and March, and no one knows when those days will fall.
My first "official" book signing was in the dead of winter in Michigan, so, naturally, I figured, Captive audience. It's frickin' cold outside! When I rolled up an hour early just to get the lay of the land, I saw a young man perched at what would soon be my folding card table selling his self-published epic fantasy novel. And, I might add, they were selling briskly. I impatiently gnawed on my Styrofoam cup filled with hot chocolate until exactly ten minutes before my signing was due to start.
"Uhm, you've been in the store for like, an hour, right?" the clerk asked.
"No, that wasn't me," I replied, "Just got here. Had another event."
This was technically true. I'd had lunch with my sister in law and because I was on vacation and it was the holiday season, we could drink at noon without judgment.
I set up at the card table, exchanging pleasantries with the young man, who'd sold all of the books he brought except for one, which I purchased. Good karma, right? He wished me luck and went to the hipster coffee shop next door where I always felt like everyone's mother.
So I sat and smiled cheerfully at the holiday shoppers who bustled in and out of the store. For two solid hours I sat and smiled. A few people smiled back, a few glanced at the book and the display the store manager had kindly set up. No one stopped to pick up the book or read the blurb or notice that supplies were dwindling. So I tucked a few away so it looked like only two remained. I really wanted to take a restroom break after the wine at lunch and all the hot chocolate, but what if I missed the one customer looking for exactly the book I had? No, I had to stay strong.
And I did. With fifteen minutes left, I finally made a sale. To my mother in law. Who only reads biographies and Good Housekeeping. But with a fistful of dollar bills in hand from my sale, I went across the street to buy myself a cool cup of coffee.
And to tell those kids in the café that, for the love of god, they needed to bundle up!