Story about my book signing . . . I was surprised

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Story about my book signing . . . I was surprised

Post by NaClshaker on Sun Jun 21, 2009 1:23 pm

So, I went to the book signing at the Book Lovers Bookstore about half an hour early. Met with the owner, set up my display, added a plate full of those mini-candy bars and set up my laptop PC to display The Last Human War website. Added a pile of free book page markers next to the candy. I was as ready to go as I could be.

Didn't have high expectations. Average sales at book signings nationally are only 6.5 books sold per event. To make matters worse, my signing was scheduled from noon to 2:00 with a NYT and International Bestseller author scheduled to sign his latest release from 3 to 5. I figured most people would wait until 3 to come by the store. Nevertheless, my "local" marketing produced some activity and I managed to sell 8 books before the end of my time. Also, met some really nice people, including one aspiring writer who I referred to this website. My two hours was a basic success and a lot of fun . . . but I didn't realize my experience was about to go from good to unbelievable.

I am not shy about learning. Being new at this author-gig, I thought it would be instructional to watch a national bestselling author conduct his book signing. Jeff Carlson was an awesome speaker. He dressed business casual, wearing a nice tie and short sleeved shirt. The thing that impressed me most was his enthusiasm. This guy answered questions and initiated conversation for over two solid hours, and he was just as animated at the end, as he was at the beginning. Questions about his stories led to questions about getting published, writing query letters, building manuscripts . . . it was amazing how diverse the questions were that fans and customers asked. And, he answered every one openly and honestly. He revealed the approximate amounts of his advances for each book, his per-book royalty, frustrations with publishing company payout schedules, how he got into the international markets. There seemed to be no limit on the subjects of the questions or his willingness to respond.

About half way through his presentation, he seemed to figure out that I was the author who preceded him in the day. My books and “free poster” were still on display from earlier and the bookstore owner mentioned to me that Jeff really liked the posters. Anyway, once he figured out who I was (as I sat silently at the back of the crowd), he made a reference to me as a “fellow” author, granting me acknowledgment and respect that I had not earned. He doesn't know me from Adam. What a privilege!

www.jverse.com

(If you enjoy sci-fi, check out his books.)

After his session ended, we talked for another half hour about marketing, distribution, agents, contracts and networking. He also offered to email me a connection for foreign sales and distribution. He even bought my book (I refused to accept full price) . . . he got his poster! LOL

All in all, this day exceeded my wildest expectations. It also illustrated to me the potential value of the “buddy system” on book signings. When two, complimentary authors schedule back to back signings, it can increase the turnout and sales. I benefitted from additional sales to his attendees without promoting my book at all to HIS fans. They just started asking questions after his presentation was over. I am certain that if there was not a one hour break between our signings, some of my fans would have purchased his books, too. (I will be suggesting to the bookstore owner that he consider eliminating the break between "shows".) This concept is highlighted in advice about conducting good book signings on this website:

http://thewriterslife.homestead.com/Planning_Booksigning.html

I hope you all have this same experience some day. It makes the years of toiling on a manuscript worth every second. One more important thing that Jeff said. He was asked how to stand out in the crowd of aspiring writers, all competing for very few, and highly coveted, "first time" writer slots. He said those slots don't necessarily go to the most talented writers (although they're all talented to have made it this far). But, he did say they go to the most persistent writers. His first book made it out of the slush piles at two major New York publishers. He and his agent were thrilled. Major publishers have several (as many as a dozen) Aquisition Editors (AEs) who decide what manuscripts are presented to the Editor for a final decision. If that publisher plans to promote 50 new books that year, 48 slots go to established writers who are anticipated to sell large numbers within 6 months. That leaves two "empty" slots. Each of the ten or twelve AEs then pitches his best newbie, trying to earn one of those two remaining book commitments, and of course, eight of ten are rejected. This happened to Jeff on his first novel, not once, but with both publishers! What did he and his agent do? His agent resubmitted to the same publishers a year later. Ironically, one of the companies that had rejected his story the year before, published it in this next year. Sales were good, and he elevated to one of the "established" writers when his first sequel came out. The key to his success -- persistence.

www.jverse.com


Last edited by NaClshaker on Tue Jun 23, 2009 1:27 am; edited 9 times in total (Reason for editing : clean up a few typos)
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Re: Story about my book signing . . . I was surprised

Post by Garmar on Sun Jun 21, 2009 2:15 pm

What an inspiring experience! Thanks for sharing that with us. Sounds like your book signing was a fantastic success. Congratulations!

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Re: Story about my book signing . . . I was surprised

Post by willow on Sun Jun 21, 2009 4:16 pm

Wow! How neat! I'm excited for you!!!! Thanks for sharing and keep us posted. I think you're going to go on to big things Dean. Remember us when you do!!!!!! lol cheers
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