by Libby Malin
A funny video by mystery author Parnell Hall (like moi, an Edgar nominee!) has been making the rounds. Maybe you've seen it. If not, here 'tis:
Whew -- that's the first time I embedded a video. Hope it comes through okay. If not, you can go to this link to see it.
Parnell's poking good-natured fun at challenges all authors who aren't bestsellers face--how do you get the word out and draw crowds to book signings and to buy your book in general?
Here's the secret --
Okay, you didn't really think I'd give away the secret, did you? Especially when I don't know what it is myself! :-)
Seriously, most authors do their best to attract folks to a book signing with the usual tricks of the trade. Personally, I send out postcards announcing the signing to a growing list of folks interested in my books. I have one list of all the folks in my neighborhood and I'm sure to add a little label on those letting recipients know I live in their development.
I also send press releases to local media and give out postcard invitations to people I encounter the week before the event. And, finally, I do broadcast emails and announcements on Facebook.
Still, sometimes you face a poor showing at a signing. If the weather's good -- which it was at my last signing -- attendance can be down. Who wants to spend one of the first nice spring afternoons after a bunch of rainy ones in a bookstore? And, although I wasn't sitting next to Mary Higgins Clark (as Parnell was at one signing), I was tucked in a corner of the store while the big Nook display, along with very good salesman, attracted customers upon entry.
But you know what? Sometimes the book signing isn't just about the book signing. In other words, the actual number of people who came into the store to have my book signed that day doesn't measure the full impact of the signing. The signing, after all, allowed me to send out the press release, which resulted in notices about the book in numerous little papers in the area. The postcards announcing the signing caught the attention of a local book club that has now asked me to speak about my book at their next meeting. And, I collected emails of passers-by at the signing to add to my collection of folks I can reach the next time I have book news.
I've never had an unpleasant experience at a book signing. I enjoy being in bookstores and usually end up buying something before I leave.
For you authors out there, have you had any experiences at signings that are funny or memorable? And what about readers--any book signings you've attended that stick out in memory?