I haven’t had a book signing in a bookstore yet, but most weekends I’m out selling my novels at small-town festivals, art fairs, farmer’s markets, you name it. Wherever we can think of to sell a book. Except for in a bookstore. And yes, I’ve had the experience of the eyes averted people. But this is fun, selling this way. Plus I get a lot of fresh air and sunshine.
What I really like are the excuses. The most polite way to get past us is to say “I’m just looking right now. I’ll be back later.” By now I know that if I do see them later they won’t make eye contact. But that’s okay. It’s a polite way for everyone to save face.
Then you’ve got the “I don’t read fiction” people. Well, I pretty much don’t read nonfiction, so I sympathise. And we’ve even heard a couple of “I don’t know how to read” excuses that shocked us into silence. Actually, I think I said, “I’m sorry.”
Then there’s the variation on the “I’ll be back” excuse that’s “My wife (or husband) has got the money. When we catch up to each other we’ll be back.” Mostly not. My favorite so far has been, “We’re busy studying the Bible. We don’t have time to read anything else.” And I do believe that couple was sincere.
But for every one of the excuses we get people who should have walked right by us but didn’t. The cover of the book attracted them. The tone of our voices attracted them. They ask questions, they thumb through the book, and a really surprising percentage of them buy a copy.
I love it when someone reads the back of the book copy and laughs in the right spot. One lady read the first page and laughed at the right spot. She bought the book right then. Last week another vendor came by to talk to us and said she’d seen so many people walking around with copies of my book in their hands she just had to see it for herself. Then she bought the book.
I wish we could set up in a bookstore and sell the same way, though it might not work out the way I’d want. Maybe we’d only get the averted eyes people. My sister says most people go into a bookstore these days looking for a specific work. She’s probably right.
You know of any small festival, etc., in the Central Texas area where books would be a welcome product? Let us know. We’d like to try our hand at it.
Talking To The Dead Guys is available at
http://amzn.com/B0094FBA8S and at Barnes & Noble for the Nook. And if you visit Lockhart, check out Logo’s and Buffalo Clover, both in downtown Lockhart.
WHAT I READ THIS WEEK—The Yellow Claw by Sax Rohmer.