My first book signing today and a few stories.

Now I know what to do when I want to have fun! :)

Our campus Barnes & Noble hosted my book signing today. Sold 19 books, signed 23 (some people bought their books ahead of time) in 2-1/2 hours ... and not a balloon or candy dish in site. LOL

It hasn't rained in weeks--today it poured, yet the timing was perfect. It's student orientation week and every parent and student had to go to the bookstore and walk past my table which (bless the manager) was right as they walked through the door. I'll post pictures as soon as I have them.

The crowd that came to my table was a nice mix; those who knew me and were aware of the signing, people who had seen the article about me and my book in last Sunday's newspaper, and walk-ins (students and parents who were completely unaware of me). Sales demographics were males and females, ages 19 - 80 (The 80-year old was the only one who admitted to his age).

As you can imagine, I'm thrilled with the sales, but let's face it, I'm an unknown. My goal for Silenced Cry was to 1) create an awareness (name recognition for me and the series), and 2) generate a following.

The best story:
A bookstore student employee told me that it's rare that she finds a book that draws her in and keeps her interest. As an employed at the bookstore, she had a chance to thumb through the pages and said mine caught her attention right away. She bought two; kept one to read, and started a chain with the other. Funny, I had that same look on my face when she said it.

The chain was started when she sent the book to a friend in Singapore. That person read it, and sent it to a friend in Isreal. That friend read it and sent it on to Holland...get the picture? No wonder my site has been viewed in 28+ countries!! And here I thought I had become a master at marketing. Okay, so that day I only sold two book, but who knows how many people have read my book now, in who knows how many countries? According to the student, her friends liked Silenced Cry as well as she did so hopefully they referred it to a multitude of other friends. If they liked Silenced Cry that well, maybe they'll keep an eye out for my next book. And heck, what good is a series if you don't have the whole set, right? So who's to say they won't someday go back and buy Silenced Cry?

I still hadn't gotten over Silenced Cry becoming a chain book when I noticed that she was staying close to my table and was doing a better job of tooting my horn than I was. Customers came in, listened to her rave about the book, picked one up, read the blurb, and bought it. This was the classic example of how word of mouth helps sell books. One enthusiastic reader affecting another's behavior. After the customers bought the book, they wanted to know all about me and the series.

I gave the student my e-mail and asked her to please find out how many countries my book has been in and keep to me posted of my protag, Sam Harper's travels. I find this facinating and would love to track it on my website.

Note to self: June 19, good start toward accomplishing goal. Hire student as my publisist.

And the B&N manager? He warned me yesterday that most book signings don't produce more than 4-5 sales. He was thrilled with the 19 and wants to schedule another event for me in late November for a pre-Christmas signing. When I mentioned I had other signings lined up in September and October, but wanted to have a few more this summer, he offered to contact other B&N managers in the nearby communities and give me an intro before I contact them. Could I give him a week, he ask? Ha! You bet! He's also going to promote my book on this B&N website.

Needless to say, I'm a happy camper.

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Comment by Babe King on June 28, 2007 at 8:28pm
Okay, that's just awesome about the student. How sweet! Congrats on a successful book signing. :-)
Comment by Marta Stephens on June 22, 2007 at 10:44pm
Thanks Chris. I would really appreciate it if you would!! I have the first chapter and reviews on my website. I look forward to your comments on the book and the site!! ;0 I was thinking about the signing later and realistically, the promotions for it actually brought in more than the 19 sales because those 4-5 people who brought their books into the store had bought them days before because they were afraid the store would run out. So ... yes! Very primo.

It's going to be hard to not use this signing as a measuring stick for future signings. I know they won't all sell books, but honestly, I love meeting and talking to people so no matter what happens, I'll have fun. :)
Comment by Chris Redding on June 22, 2007 at 9:35pm
Wow, What a primo book signing.
I'll defintely look up your book!
Comment by Marta Stephens on June 21, 2007 at 4:10am
Thank you Joyce!

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