Book signings for those who aren’t naturally extroverted can be a difficult proposition. Why is it necessary that most human experience always works by learning the hard way? Thankfully, book signings aren’t a life or death situation, though there are times you can definitely feel shot down!
My first book signing was scheduled for a Friday night, which in a full service bookstore offering everything from video rentals to coffee happy hours, can be populated with people celebrating the impending weekend and thoughts of kicking back, relaxing, and sleeping in on Saturday morning. The sleeping in crowd are usually the younger generation with small kids and the idea is to get those kids over-dosed on late night videos so THEY’LL sleep late in the morning–just a little baby-sitting freedom for exhausted and less than well-to-do parents. They are looking for kid videos–not vintage manuscripts–nor anything related to requiring reading effort.
The traffic profile on an early Saturday evening exhibits as many differences as the profile of an early or late Sunday Mass. This crowd is definitely an older generation; perhaps single adults, again, not overly wealthy, looking for entertainment. Indeed, some are just interested in finding someone to converse with and will engage in heated debates about geographic locations contained within the book being promoted. Sales? No–but lots of conversation!
Having learned the first book signing the necessity of arming with sufficient postcards, business cards, and bookmarks; something to complete that first human contact, I printed almost a hundred postcards and business cards. But on a Saturday night, different crowd, different profile, supplies were quickly exhausted. And, in my own mind, product printed on a home printer needing to be put out of its misery, screamed amateur.
Third book signing quickly approaching. Opted for Saturday. Opted for professional printing of the aforesaid postcards, business cards, and bookmarks and in volume sufficient to blanket a local Bronco football game. I can relate to folks of middle class with limited promotion budgets. One can only hope the third time will be the charm. Or do I have still more lessons to learn the hard way?