Hey Y'all!

It took me awhile to get here, but alas I'm finally joining the blogosphere of bloviation. It took a rant floating around in my head to send me toward this journey, but so be it. We'll have some fun here too. I promise. Thanks for stopping by! Don't forget to leave me a comment or two. ~ diane

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Book Signings: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

After a recent road trip, I promised to post on the subject of book signings. Obviously I’m new to all this, and I have to say it’s been quite a learning experience. Mostly I’ve learned what doesn’t work. I’d heard horror stories from other authors, so I wasn’t totally surprised. Still, some of my first “adventures” were just plain weird.

Like the manager of a conference center bookstore who wasn’t the least bit interested in helping making the event successful. No signage. No advertising. When I offered to supply her with bookmarks to give out in the store that weekend, she said no thanks. She set up our table in the most off-the-path location on campus. The signing was scheduled during the dinner hour when everyone was racing to get in those long cafeteria lines. The result? *Cue the chirping crickets.* I think I signed six books. (The nice lady in the photo didn't even buy one!) One of the other authors left half-way through. I didn’t blame him. *Yawn*

Then there was the last-minute event at a major bookseller here in Nashville. I'm biting my tongue here, so I won’t point fingers, but clearly there was a communication problem because the date was (supposedly) scheduled months in advance. Less than 48 hours before the signing, there was nothing about our event on their webpage, no signage in the store. A phone call sent them all scrambling. A table was set up - in the back of the store. A sign was hastily printed – with two of the authors' names misspelled (including mine). They even had the name of our publishing house wrong. The result? *Cue the chirping crickets again.* I signed one book. But let’s be honest. If no one knew we were coming . . . ? So we passed out a few bookmarks to the handful of midweek mall shoppers and called it a night. *Yawn*

And then there was the recent book festival. The roar of the crickets chirping that weekend was deafening. Didn't see too many people buying books. I didn’t sign a single copy. I'm sure it's just the economy . . . yeah. That's probably it.

But enough about the bad ones.

Let me tell you about Martha Brangenberg, bookstore manager extraordinaire of Charis Christian Bookstore in Largo, Florida (that's Martha in the photo between Teresa & me). The bookstore is a ministry of the First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks. My good friend Teresa Nardozzi started that bookstore 25 years ago and today, it is a thriving, beautiful store there on the church campus. Weeks before my visit to Florida, Martha contacted the distributor to make sure she had plenty of copies of my book. She put a blurb in the church paper. She gave the media folks an ad to post on the TV screens throughout the church buildings. She made sure there was a notice about my book signing in the church bulletins for all four church services that weekend.

Martha set up an end display in the heart of the bookstore and a table for my signing where we’d get the most traffic. And did we ever! It was such a blast to see so many old friends of mine, make so many new friends, and sign soooooo many books! (I think we sold around 85! Not too shabby for a first-time author!) 

On Monday, Martha had set up a beautiful table for me to sign more books after I spoke to the monthly MOPS gathering. I was blown away by the response and interest of that enormous group of women! Then on Tuesday, Martha made sure we had plenty of copies of my book at both the morning and evening Ladies Bible Study gatherings where I spoke.

What have I learned through these book signing events?

1. There are those who have a passion for what they do, and then there are those who do only enough to get by - if they feel like it.

2. There are those who are genuinely happy to host book signings, and there are those for whom it’s nothing but a big bother.

3. There are those who love to connect readers with authors, and yes, Virginia, sadly there are people who work in bookstores who don’t even like to read.

4. There sure are lots of crickets chirping out there . . .

Bottom line, THANK YOU, Martha Brangenberg! Your passion for what you do shines through your Christ-like attitude, your hard work, your efforts, your sweet smile, and your many kindnesses. The booksellers of our world could learn volumes through you! (Pun definitely intended!) I cannot thank you enough for restoring my faith in this whole process and exemplifying the way it’s supposed to be done. I'll never forget it. You've set the bar high, Martha! May God bless the socks off you!

1 comment:

  1. Oooo, I don't like that those other signings went so poorly. I still can't comprehend how someone who sells books doesn't even like them. But, then it is hard for me to understand how anyone, at all, doesn't like books! So glad you had a fabulous experience at Charis!