I walked into the store and found a table set up with my books on display, located nice and close to the entrance of the store. With enthusiasm and optimism I plopped down the bag containing all my booksigning goodies and began to unload it, then, I looked up. Right behind the table, was an end cap display loaded with a book entitled, "How to Write a Novel."
I laughed, "Ha ha! What a coincidence." Little did I know that it was a foreshadowing of my evening. I sat in my chair for a while, smiling at customers as they walked by, or rather, as they came through the door, then quickly dodged my table, as though I had some sort of communicable disease and they'd been handed a ten-foot pole upon entering, with which they were told not to touch me.
Since sitting didn't work, I got up and stood, with bookmarks in one hand, and a bowl of Reeses Peanut Butter Cups in the other. Yes, clever me, I would lure customers to my table.
Apparently, people hate Reeses Peanut Butter Cups. And bookmarks. And me!
I browsed around the area, where my table was located. If you'd like to know what New Releases are available right now, I would be happy to tell you. I read the backs of every one of them.
Occasionally one of the employees would walk by, smile at me with sympathy, then go on with their jobs. Some of the brave ones even took one of my candies, risking their health and safety in the process. The manager, a real sweetheart, came and talked to me, thanking me for coming. And then, after two very long hours, fifteen of those minutes being spent signing the books on my table, (I had fun practicing different ways to sign my name. I decided against putting a little curlecue in the "B" at the beginning of Bell. A little too 6th grade.) it was time to leave. Short of begging, I had tried to do everything I could to sell books.
Of course, the question is, was it worth giving three hours of my time to go and sit and not sell any books and feel like a leper? Actually, yes, it was. Why? Because I have learned after all these years that being out in the public is important for an author. Even more importantly, I need to meet the wonderful employees at the bookstores. I have found that if they like me, they will promote my books and no one, NO ONE, can make a bigger difference in the success of a book, than a bookstore employee. And finally, maybe the one or two people who took one of my bookmarks will give one of my books a try, and if they end up liking it, they will read more, and tell their friends. So yes, as lonely and discouraging as book signings can be, they are worth it. (Of course, this is my opinion. And, it just occurred to me, maybe I am the only author who has experiences like this.)
The manager, bless her heart, bought one of my books for her sister. She apologized for not having more people in her store, after all it was the weekend before Halloween and a lot of people were either going to parties, or watching football games. We had a wonderful visit and I could tell she was very interested in building the LDS section of her store. I told her how much authors appreciated what she was doing and that I was happy to help.
Then, I picked up a copy of "How to Write a Novel," and went home.
Booksignings. Definitely not for the faint of heart. I wonder if the author of the book I bought is writing the sequel, "How to Sell a Novel." If so, I'll be the first in line at his/her booksigning to get my copy autographed.