Book signings, festivals and great expectations

Friday it rained. Central Texas is in a deep drought situation, so rain was great, except that it almost sidelined the local festival I was selling my books at. Didn’t sell a book all evening, and missed the parade as well.

Saturday it rained. The ground under the covered tent where I was selling books was running with water, some even dripped down the side of the tent onto items vendors had left there overnight. I ended up sitting on a chair with my long dress hem unknowingly on the ground soaking it up. Had to wring it dry every hour. Damned glad I wasn’t wearing my expensive Victorian costume like I was supposed to. Wanted to be more comfortable.

Sales were almost nonexistent. Got my first real experience of people going by, and going by, and going by like I’ve heard they often ignore the authors at book-signings in Barnes & Noble, etc.  But Konrath is right. This was more than about selling my books. This was about letting people see the writer over there, getting to know my face, and me learning to pipe up and talk to them. This was about showing off my book, buying the book my neighbor was selling right across from us, and just being nice to people, being part of the community.

And being bypassed  wasn’t even all that bad, because it wasn’t just me selling stuff, it was the whole tent. And I wasn’t the only one being bypassed. And the people weren’t rude;  they made eye contact and smiled if I was looking at them, sometimes they picked up the books and looked before putting them down and going on. Just the wrong product at the wrong time with the wrong price. I say that because Jeff across the aisle had the right book for the right market. I think he sold quite a lot. Unfortunately, I don’t write what he does.

I missed everything about the festival by being in that booth except the people-watching. A good-looking guy went by with a dog as big as a bear that looked like a bear. Everyone stopped them to exclaim. The dog toy/supply people brought their Saint Bernard to show off. The good-looking chiropractor across the aisle came over to say hi, as did Jeff who did so well with his books. We saw friends and neighbors and lots of strangers. Missed the harpist, the petting zoo, all the choirs, Father Christmas (actually, I saw Father Christmas when I was at the library for my stint at the book-selling event there.) Missed the face painting, didn’t miss the food booths (we got a good taste of  many of the dishes offered and tortilla soup was the best).

After a day and a half in rainy weather, sold three copies of The Cowboy’s Baby and five copies of the books other writers had given us to sell for them. Had hoped to sell ten and would have been happier with five. Not sorry we went, but probably won’t try my books at this particular festival again. Wrong book for the wrong festival. Don’t think my new one Arroyo would fare any better.

Learned a lot. Actually had fun. Didn’t let it get me down. And three copies is three copies.

Link for Gretchen Rix

Link for Jeanne Murray

Link for Marvin S. Mayer


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