I'm back!Last night I spent a couple of hours at the Borders bookstore in Scranton, PA, with 4 other romance authors - they were selling and signing, and I was giving out promo for my 2 upcoming print titles.
It was fun, and a learning experience, though I think only 2 of the other authors sold a book apiece. I watched and listened and learned, and this is what I picked up:
*Conventional wisdom that says book signings are not the best use of time or money is true. Sure, they get you out in the public, but honestly, though we were at a table RIGHT by the entrance, 50+% of the customers walked by without looking or slowing down.
*It's probably better to do a signing/appearance with fewer people, because it seemed as though we were talking amongst each other more than trying to make eye contact with/catch the eye of potential customers. I also think 5 women sitting together at a table might be a little intimidating.
*Be very selective with the promotional items you spend money on. I saw everything at our table, from bookmarks to cards with free ebook downloads to a mini-DVD player running a book trailer, to the books themselves. All that $$, and yet I think maybe a handful of it actually got into the hands of customers.
*Consider the $$ spent with the potential tradeoff. Hubby and I made a day and night of it: we spent the afternoon shopping at the outlets nearby, ate dinner in town, and spent the night at a motel. The other authors drove 2 hours one way, then turned around and drove 2 hours back. I'm not sure I would spend all that time and gas money for 2 hours at a booksigning where you might sell 1 book.
* Promote ahead of time, if you can. If your fans/readers know you'll be somewhere, they're more likely to show up and seek you out. One woman who was there last time they did a book signing at this store drove 40 minutes to see these authors again.
So will I do it again? Yes (you can see the other appearances I have lined up, over there in the sidebar), though I will make sure to minimize my costs and maximize my potential sales. Since the Internet is so wide-spread, though, it really makes sense to do as much of your advertising there, as possible.