Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Wondering and a Winner

Hi All,

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to comment last week while I visited at The Word Place. Check the end of this post to find out if you're the winner of a PDF copy of "This Time for Always".

But first, for the wondering...

I'm curious as to how many people out there do book signings and if you feel they're worth your while or not. Here's why I'm wondering.

I had one yesterday. And to be honest, other than getting to hang outside on a gorgeous day with Morgan and Morgot, it was a big fat waste of my time. I sold one book. All together the three of us only sold four. We were at a craft fair/flea market held by a local church. There were lots of people out and about, but no one seemed to be interested in buying books. Maybe we were in the wrong kind of venue. Maybe it's the economy. I don't know what the problem was, but as a business venture, this one was an utter failure.

In fact, other than one I held for my local RWA chapter (Thanks Chicago-North for buying my books!), book signings have not been very successful for me. I've tried two craft fair type venues, a book sale at the local library, and even a special Valentine's Day event at the library and have had similar - as in no - luck. I think in those four events I've sold and signed a total of five books. And I'm not sure they're doing much in the way of getting my name out there. Yesterday we were hard pressed to get people to even take our bookmarks, and those were FREE! Being a small press author with The Wild Rose Press (which I love!), it's tough to get into bookstores to do signings.

So, getting back to the wondering part, what works the best to sell books? Hands-down my best seller when it comes to my books is my mom. She's already "ordered" at least 20 of my new one and it doesn't even come out until May. I think she may have sold more on her own than all of my other venues combined. She's the best promoter money can buy, and when I say 'money', I mean "Thanks, Mom, you're my number one sales person!"

So what works to sell books? Face to face promotion, book signings, social networking, blog tours? I'd love to hear your success stories if you're willing to share. What worked and why do you think it worked?

At any rate, now onto the winner part of the post, which is why you really stopped by to read in the first place!

Congratulations to Terry Odell! You've won a PDF of "This Time for Always". E-mail me at so I can get that out to you ASAP. And again, thanks to everyone who stopped by The Word Place last Monday. Be sure to visit there again and check out the rest of Judy's series on The Wild Rose Press and its authors.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!



Mary Ricksen said...

With book signings you just never know.
Relatives are a big help for me too!
I have a lot of them. Ha!

Clover Autrey said...

I haven't yet had a book signing so I don't know. I've gathered lots of tips on how to have a good one so I hope to put it into practice and see.

Terry Odell said...

Surprise! Thanks so much. I'm looking forward to it.

Anonymous said...

I was impressed with the idea of the 'Girls Night Out' idea, which Nancy Sweetland mentioned when she guest-blogged on Judy's blog. She shared a restaurant venue with a jewellery maker and others and the customers got a glass of wine and appetizers while they browsed. It sounded like an interesting idea and a bit different to a normal book signing.

Infogypsy said...

I have had about ten book signings - none yet with current book just out (Long Run Home) - the most successful were those set up by my sister in a big city (detroit) where she invited her work and social friends - thirty came to both signings and sold 30 books each time - next was book signing at a library - sold six to the library for branches - I always go with the intention of having fun and selling from that - rather than just sitting there trying to sell - judi writing as lynn romaine

Morgan Mandel said...

Saturday was a disappointment saleswise, that's for sure. When people don't even want free bookmarks, I think we hit the wrong crowd.

Since the other vendors didn't make many sales either, the bad economy had to have been a factor. The neighbors to one side of us sold three times as much last year.

Still, I'm thinking the clientele were not looking for books yesterday.

Morgan Mandel

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Debra,

I've had book signings for some of my books and not for others...and guess what? It never seems to make any difference in the number of sales. (I've been doing this since 2002-so I'm not certain if the economy is a factor or not.) Still book signings are a fun way to meet people and can bring you some PR if the newspapers pick up on it.

Angela Wilson said...

How disappointing! Since all of you had some issues - and NO ONE wanted a freebie bookmark - I'd say venue was part of the problem.

Now would be a terrific time to sit down and write out the demographics of your readers. Then, figure out how many you have on Twitter and Facebook, their hobbies, likes, dislikes, etc. Use that to think of creative new venues you could hit up before the holidays.

For promotions - no matter if I'm working with businesses, nonprofits or authors - you have to try things out to see what works for you. Sometimes it may look good on paper and just doesn't have mojo.

Good luck - and I hope this helps a little!

Debra St. John said...

Hi All, Thanks for checking in, and thanks for the great advice. When my new book comes out I want to have a solid promo plan in place.

Deb Larson said...

I changed my goal for book signings ... if I'm at a library, my goal is to be sure that library has at least one of my books. Folks in libraries are thrifty and not usually impulsive buyers, but they are good for "spreading the word about a great book." That's great PR for an author.

As for craft shows - my goal is to hand out flyers and usually candy - and I always have something intriguing at my booth that draws people over. I use my tomahawk - it's a conversation starter - before I had my hatchet few stopped. I still don't have huge sales, but I've had many conversations and made some progress in promoting myself.
DL Larson