I am happy to announce that not only did I survive my first book signing, it in fact went fairly well — huzzah! Pictures/video will come sometime in the next week as my photographer/videographer/hair stylist Rhiannon assembles the footage, so we’ll have to stick to text for this post. I now present …
A basic run down of what happened yesterday (aka My First Book Signing!):
8:00 AM — Woke up. Ate Cheerios. Surfed the internet.
10:00 AM — Took a shower. Got dressed. Remembered to put on deodorant.
10:30 AM — Rhiannon arrived. Sat in uncomfortable wicker chair whilst she styled my hair. Shouted at brother to hurry up in shower so I could retrieve my make-up.
11:30 AM — Applied make-up. Asked mother what time it was. Heard “11:45 AM”. Had minor panic attack.
11:32 AM — Discovered it was only 11:32 AM. Calmed down.
11:40 AM — Got in car. Drove to Chapters.
11:45 AM — Met Chapters store manager and assorted friendly employees. Was directed to wooden table where they set up approx 30 copies of my book, along with sign proclaiming “Meet Michelle Proulx!” Family brought water to prevent dehydration.
12:00 PM — Stood beside table, attempting to look non-threatening and inviting. Rhiannon set up tripod and video camera to film footage.
12:05 PM — Realized tripod and video camera were scaring people off. Rhiannon took down tripod and video camera and joined mother/brother in attached Starbucks.
12:oo-1:00 PM — Stood a bit more, having little success with attracting customers. Sat down behind table. Was rewarded by a stream of interested parties (some of whom I didn’t actually know!). Several books sold.
1:05 PM — Lull in customers. Noticed my hands were shaking and it was hard to breathe. Realized I was having a mild panic attack. Realized I was nervous about my book signing (better late than never, I guess). Realized it was stupid to have a mild panic attack, as I’d already been sitting at the table for an hour and had done just fine. Stopped having a mild panic attack.
1:30 PM — Met random woman who claimed to have read my book and loved it. Was confused, as did not recognize her. Discovered she was a Chapters employee, who had decided to read my book when she heard about the upcoming book signing. Was no longer confused. Chatted happily for several minutes.
2:00 PM — Friends arrived (several from out of town) to purchase books for themselves/friends/relatives. Sales boom. Was very excited. Handed stacks of bookmarks to friends and instructed them to wander around the store giving them out.
3:00 PM — Sales slow but steady(ish). Gave sales spiel to a woman who listened for about 10 seconds, then asked, “Wait. Is this fiction? I don’t like fairy tales”. Felt it was best not to point out the difference between fairy tales and other types of fiction.
3:15 PM — Gave sales spiel to father of two boys. Father was interested. Boys were not. When spiel concluded, younger son (5 years old) stared me direct in the eye and said “Yeah, whatever” and walked off. Father amused but embarrassed.
3:30 PM — Foot traffic and interest waned. Valiantly gave out more bookmarks. Bottom began to hurt from sitting on wooden chair for so long. Water supply dangerously low.
4:00 PM — Tentative end time of book signing. Was not told to leave, so stayed.
4:15 PM — Friends began to congregate around table, waiting for me to finish so we could leave. Sent friend to look for manager.
4:30 PM — Manager on phone, so spoke with different manager. Thanked them for their hospitality, packed up things, left some bookmarks, and exited Chapters.
Total books sold = 17
Mission = Great Success!
7 lessons learned from my first book signing:
- Make sure your signage indicates that you are the author. Otherwise you’ll get people walking up to the table, staring at you, then at your book, and then tentatively asking, “Did you … um … write this?”
- Make sure your signage indicates that you are local (if appropriate). As soon as people hear you’re local, they’ll be much more interested in hearing what you have to say.
- Make sure you have something to hand out, other than books. And also make sure your handouts (bookmarks, stickers, etc.) have your info on it — i.e., the name of your book, your name, your website — so that even if the person doesn’t buy your book at the signing, they still have the necessary information to purchase it at a later date.
- Look professional and approachable. (Note: Big thanks to my mother, who financed my official “author signing” outfit.)
- Bring/acquire water. Talking makes you thirsty.
- Have your sales pitch somewhat worked out beforehand. I didn’t. That made talking about my book an … interesting exercise.
- Don’t be offended if someone doesn’t want to buy your book. Thank them for their time, and send them off with a smile. There’s always next time!
Unrelated media of the day:
This image needs no explanation. It simply is.