Thursday, May 3, 2007

A Regency Writer's Day Off - Or How to promote your books without really trying


Okay, not really, but I did have fun. As I announced a couple of weeks ago, April 28 I booksigned at the Chapters Indigo in the Town of Vaughn. For those of you not familiar with Ontario, or Canada, Vaughn is the City above Toronto and Chapters/Indigo is our Barnes and Noble.

As you can see from the picture, three of us signed on Saturday. We all write very different kinds of books. Teresa Roblin, my critique partner, writes contemporary, comedic, magic. Great books. And Stephanie Bedwell-Grime, a multi published author with the Toronto Romance Writers Chapter of RWA writes, fantasy and paranormal, some with a romance, but not all, and a bit on the dark side. And a lovely lady. It was a priviledge to sign with her. Well you already know what I do and I brought along Pistols at Dawn and my shop early for Christmas Holiday in the Heart Anthology from Highland press.

Saturday turned out to be a rather wet day for the last days of April in Ontario, but that didn't seem to stop the customers. Boy that store was humming! And the Manager, Vania, gave us pride of place, right by the front door, offered us water and coffee and generally made us feel very at home.

We even had the deputy mayor pop in. How about that. Teresa deserves the credit for organizing such a special day.

And, best of all, Vania invited us to go back again~~ any time.

So what made the event so successful. I thought it might be interesting for me to let you in on what seemed to work for us and what didn't work.

1. Working as a team with the manager really helped. We were accomodating, we provided advertizing, we arrived on time looking smart and professional.
Even though we were nervous, we looked the part.

2. This is only my second booksigning. What I noticed the first time was how people walk through the doors, see you sitting at a table and immediately avoid eye contact. I've done it myself, for heaven's sake. And when you smile and say hi, they almost jump out of their skins, and definately think you are selling raffle tickets and keep on moving.

3. It is even easier for them to pass on by if you sit at the table talking to each other.

4. Having friends and family drop by -- not all at once -- helps, when other people see a crowd, they tend to want to see what is going on. But let's be honest, you need to do lots of booksignings and you can't ask family to turn up for them all. But I did notice that if you can get one or two people to come to the table, others will at least take a peak.

5. We took turns in going around the store and speaking to people. It's great practice for figuring out how a character feels doing something totally outside of their comfort zone, if nothing else. Oh, that's the writer talking, not the promoter, sorry.

6. Something I found very helpful with the meet and greet around the store was my brochure and my bookmarks. I handed a browsing customer a brochure with a smile and told them we were local authors doing a booksigning at the front of the store and that they should feel free to pop by and say hi. Then I offered them a free bookmark to use in whatever book they were going to buy. My brochure has an excerpt of the first scene of my book and I think once they read a little bit of it, they were intrigued.
Several of those people bought books, some of them from all of us, wanting to support their local authors. And that is why Vania was so pleased. She could not believe how many books we sold in such a short time.

7. I used the fact that Mother's Day was coming up as an ice-breaker. You know, mother might like a personalized author signed book... and it is a romance, wink. One gentleman said his mother was fussy. I don't think he meant to be insulting because he looked exceedingly nervous.

8. Depending on what kind of books you are signing, watch your age group. I did tell a couple of mothers with teenagers that the books were at an adult level. I think it is only fair to be honest.

7. Some people dropped by for candies, and stayed to chat or buy ~~ so I do highly recommend bribes.

9. I also signed up a couple of people for my newsletter, so I feel as if I made some friends, perhaps even now you are reading this blog. If so. It was a pleasure to meet you last Saturday, and do feel free to write or leave a comment.

Now, if any of you are browsing your local bookstore and you see a person sitting behind a pile of books with a pen in their hand, go and say hello. Authors don't bite and they don't mind if you don't buy their books. What they hope is that next time you are looking for a book you remember their name.

I do hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into the writers life. Until next time~~ as always ~~ Happy rambles.