A Small Town Book Signing

A guest post by:

Christina Ambrosia
Ambrosia’s Books and More

Ambrosia’s Books and More had its first author signing!  I’m still learning so much.  I had no idea how to do it.  I didn’t think anyone would want to come to my bookstore in the middle of nowhere to do a signing so I never thought about it much until one day David H. Brown stopped by my store.  He told me he wrote a mystery and wondered if I would be interested in having him come in for a signing.  WOW. It was that easy.   He is a local author and the book is set in the general area.  I welcomed the opportunity to promote his book as well as my store.  He provided me with a poster and some flyers to give to my customers.  I wasn’t sure how it worked, was I supposed to give him something?  Did I have to make sure I had bottled water and green M &M’s?  Like I’ve said before, I’m very new at this and didn’t have any idea.  David was an excellent guest and didn’t even ask me to provide him a drink let alone separate colors in the M&M’s.  I ordered ten copies of his book and sold six during the signing.  He signed the remaining copies and I have them displayed in the store.

So far, it was my favorite event.  I’ve been to one author signing in my life, an extremely popular author and I had to wait in line to get a ticket so I could wait in line for the signing.  It wasn’t as daunting as it sounds. The line moved quickly and the store staff was on top of everything. They were courteous and friendly. It, also, was a great experience.  I hope to one day have a line out my door for an author event or perhaps for my own book signing.

At the end of the two hours I had learned a lot about the publishing process he went through and the promotion process.  It’s helped me with ideas for my store as well as for my writing.  Everything I’ve done in the bookstore has been an opportunity to learn and grow. I embrace it all.  Each day a new customer or the friendly face of a repeat customer stocking up for vacation gets me through the long hours and piles of books I go through every day.


5 thoughts on “A Small Town Book Signing”

  1. My wife had never been to a book signing until “Alice” from “The Honeymooners” cam to one of the local Dayton (Oh) bookstores. Unfortunately, I forget her real name.

    We are both big fans and although she stood in line for about 25 minutes, she enjoyed chatting for a minute or so. She has attended many book signings since then.

    Too bad Jackie Gleason isn’t alive because I think I would even make the trip for his signing!

  2. Christine, you are so right about how much there is to learn about the whole book business from visiting authors. Signings are fun, too! My worst one sold only one book; the biggest, this past spring, sold 80. We learn as we go, that’s for sure.

  3. And book signings are great for the author too! My husband has written a book and thoroughly enjoyed the signings especially when they provide an opportunity for the author to speak about his/her book and take questions from those attending! Hope this is just the beginning of your book signings.

  4. I’ve just come back from another book tour for my novel “The Shenandoah Spy”. Most of my signings are with the Hastings Entertainment chain because they are very easy to work with. I did 12 stores last year and four, so far, this year. Hastings has over 150 stores, but if you look at their location list you will see that most are in small towns and in many of those they are the only bookstore in town. Books are not the whole package of course. The rent and sell video, music, games, and many sidelines from guitar strings to candy. Their new stores include a coffee bar that rivals Starbucks.

    (Full disclosure here: I was so impressed that I now own their stock.) When I do a booksigning, with anyone, I schedule it several weeks in advance and send notices to BookTour.com, Craigslist and any local media web sites. I send the store book marks and posters to hep promote the events and I show up early and stay late.

    Here is the problem: Most authors don’t have a clue about how to do these events, which are a form of performance art. They act bored, or put-upon, or wander off in the idle periods to look at other books on display, missing the people coming in the door. To be successful and actually sell books, you have to engage the customers, most of whom will reject your overtures, but those few who do respond will give you a nice experience and positive feedback.

    And here’s the important thing: you sell as many books in a small town as you do a big city, if you have done the prep work properly.

    My last signing? One guy drove two and a half hours just to meet me and get me to sign his copy.

  5. This bookstore provides comfortable chairs to read while you decide which books to buy. The lady selling books is a writer herself and has two books ready for a publisher. I think her name is Chris or CHristine. Stop in this small country store and say hello. She has a warm personality and is very friendly. She has many used books at very reasonable prices. Next time we head out to NCCC or Sanborn, NY we plan to stop in again and get some more books.

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