Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Adventures in Book Signing

Last Month marked two firsts for me. I attended my first writer’s conference, Romance Slam Jam. I also had my first book signing. My books have been out for two years now so you must be wondering why I’ve waited so long to do a book signing. The simple answer: fear. I had always been afraid I would be that person surrounded by piles of my books, fidgeting and twiddling my thumbs while readers passed me by afraid to make eye contact.

But the book signing at the Romance Slam Jam conference was different. It was a mega book signing with scores of authors of African American Romance signing books at the same time. I was comforted in the thought that I would not be alone.

The authors were all arranged in alphabetical order so I just happened to share a table with the legend of AA romance, Rochelle Alers. She had been writing for over 25 years with scores of titles under her belt and a huge fan base, so you know I was intimidated. Here I was with my table piled with my books, sign in sheet for contact info and a beautiful smile to greet my readers. Ms Alers had herself and a pen only. But the line to Ms Alers’ tables stretched as far as the eyes could see. And mines? Well I was fortunate to have one or two saunter to my side of the table occasionally.

So I fidgeted with my pen. I made eye contact with Ms Alers’s fans hoping my charming smile would draw someone to my side of the table. I chatted on the cell phone. Then one by one, several of Ms Alers’s fans came over to my side of the table, the book cover having enticed them. Quite a few purchased my books for me to sign. Turns out, being next to a veteran was a good thing after all. People who had never heard of Jewel Amethyst were now interested in my books. I got new readers. Several have since contacted me via Facebook telling me how much they enjoyed my book.

And as an added bonus, I made a new acquaintance: a legend of black romance. She paid me the best compliment a veteran could pay a novice. She asked me to sign her copy of my book. I was in writer’s heaven!
So what’s your book signing adventure?


Charles Gramlich said...

Cool! I'm so glad you had a good experience. It can definitely be frightening.

Charles Gramlich said...

Cool! I'm so glad you had a good experience. It can definitely be frightening.

Phyllis Bourne said...

So glad your first signing went well!

I always bring my knitting along to booksignings so I don't look so needy.

Jewel Amethyst said...

Thanks guys. Phyllis that knitting idea sounds really good (except that I can't knit). I need to remember to bring something along next time other than a cell phone. Maybe a conversation starter like Farrah's book cover hand bag or some candy to entice readers to at least visit the desk. What do you think?

KeVin K. said...

My first book signing ever was as one of a stable of Star Trek writers at Shore Leave. Trekkers avoided eye contact as they made their way from Keith DeCandido to Dayton Ward.

My first solo book signing was fantastic. The manager of the Waldenbooks in the mall was a big supporter of local writers. She'd prominently displayed the Star Trek anthologies with my stories next to Orson Scott Card, Sharyn McCrumb, Philip Gerard, and a half-dozen others. She was almost as excited about my first novel as I was. Wolf Hunters was linked to my online fiction and several members of Battlecorps asked me to send them signed copies for which they'd pay. When she heard this, she told me to distribute her phone number and she'd take credit card sales over the phone -- shipping included. She also laid in copies of the Trek anthologies and set me up at at able in the mall in front of her store. Sold and signed 36 books in 4 hours.

Borders closed Waldenbooks before my next novel came out. I have spent every book signing since reading my own books and finding typos.

Jewel Amethyst said...

"I have spent every book signing since reading my own books and finding typos" Lol Kevin. That's a really interesting story.

I guess even if you have many books under your belt it does not necessarily mean a signing will have a lot of patrons. I'm still scared of doing a solo book signing.

Liane Spicer said...

Now that's a nice positive signing. I've read so much about the other kind that I'm petrified at the mere thought. Group signings are the way to go!

Jewel Amethyst said...

Group signing definitely helps allay some of the anxieties of going at it alone.
And just in case no one visited my table, I had my sister and nieces come to the signing. Unfortunately they got stuck in traffic and only made it to the venue after the signing was over.