The sweet sensation of autographing books. The smiles on the readers’ faces, the excitement they feel while waiting to hold the book for the first time. This is the win of book signings, for sure. There is always the perfect opportunity to talk about the book, the reason it was written, the amount of time it took, the expected brief summary (I always fail at that one…). There is also the handing off to another potential dedicated follower who goes out of their way to talk up the book and promote ones work. But mostly it is the gratitude and sparkle that I get when I ask for a name and how to spell it and if there might be anything special to add as an inscription.
Getting to the book singings phase took so much longer than I ever expected. Working with a large publisher is like encouraging snails to the finish line! Good luck with that… There were my unexpected delays as well⏤dealing with prostate cancer for instance. But I kept telling my friends “it’s coming soon” only to have the months slip by. But finally there are smiles, cheers and congratulatory hand shakes. It is done; time to do book signings.
There is a cost to book signings. If not done at a book store they are often those “come see the author – get a free book signed while they last” sort of events. I went to Miami, FL, for one of those kind of events. Gave away 70 out of 75 books – that’s good. But there is no way to measure (I come from a strong business background) the results of book signings done in this fashion. I didn’t sell any books out of that event (that I am aware of) but I spent a couple thousand dollars on flights, hotel, transportation and food while on the two day journey. I’ve got to sell a ton of books to make up for that expense!
But there are always the smiles and excited readers who want a picture with the author. We had them lined up in Miami. I spoke to a lot of people and we created quite a bit of excitement around our booth. Lots of excitement about the book and about the Golden Rule, which is really my primary goal; after all. So did I lose? I’ve often said that I’d give the books away if I could. I want (need) excited readers and this is certainly a great way to get them. I love the moment signing the book⏤I hate the moment organizing the expenses.
I’ve done a couple now close to home and find that they are probably better. Frequently the attendees are friends or friends of friends and they know me and relate to the work and time I’ve spent in the project. They are often very supportive and understand the value of inviting their friends to participate. At this point I’ll stay pretty close to home, although I have an in store book signing in Lubbock TX in June. That one is far enough out to have some momentum behind it.
As a published author that is attempting to make a go of the business is filled with many aspects that are front loaded. Meaning that one must pay for them on the front end to get any sort of reward on the back end. This is the business and my developing branding and advertising will pay off. Especially later when we are beginning the speaking side of the business.
Book signings are difficult, but fun and “expensive”, but with the expectation that there will be a payoff with the proper effort, consistency, and patience.