Every book store I frequent has certain characteristics that keep me coming back. For one of them it's simple geographic location. For another one, it's the quantity of books on the shelves. For the two independent stores I frequent, it's the warmth of the people running the store and an aura of true love for the written word.
The Keepers of Sulbreth. Joyce Rupert, host extraordinaire, had my signing posted on their events calenders, printed and online, had posters at both entrances to the store and had ordered a LARGE number of my books for me to sign. As you can see from the picture, they had a large table set up for me with a beautiful Borders cloth covering it, a comfortable chair and those clever little plastic gadgets to display my books.
Not only was Joyce helpful and friendly, but every worker in the store made me feel welcome and many stopped to speak with me. Now let me tell you about location.
Many authors had horror stories of a signing table set in the back of the store, by the bathroom, or some other quirky spot in a store where no one will ever see them. I wasn't in the back of the store because this store had NO back. It is set in a mall where the one entrance is to the parking lot and the other is into the enclosed mall concourse. The store has an aisle set up from one entrance to the other, lined with displays. And yesterday my books and I shared that prime selling place with those racks and tables of best-sellers. Nearly every person entering the store passed by my table, many of whom were only using Borders as a convenient way to enter the mall. It was wonderful.
On one side of my table was a display of the newest hardback releases and across the aisle from me was the large table of newest mass market releases. Many of my sales came from people searching that table for a read. On my other side was the information desk, constantly manned and constantly busy.
The store had a constant flow of customers and I had few moments of standing by myself. Some people stopped to talk about writing, about our favorite fantasy books, about their college plans, about their lives and the world of books. One aspiring writer is a temporary resident of the area as he does his time as the local army recruiter. I wish Sergeant Aleman the best of luck and hope he stays save in his next tour.
I consider yesterday's signing as my most successful event. Not because I sold the most books ever but because I sold them all to strangers. Not one family member, friend or fellow writing group member were among my customers. I love those people for their support but I'll never know for sure they purchased my book purely for its entertainment value. Yesterday every person who bought my book wanted it for its own merits. It was a wonderful feeling.
I sold half the books Joyce had ordered for the event and she assured me I did better than anyone they'd recently had for an event. So even though I didn't sell out like I did at three previous events, I was thrilled with the day. She invited me back and I'll certainly plan on doing another event. My only regret is I don't live closer to this particular Borders. They have a large cafe and a very efficient staff.
To top off a great day and keep me alert on the two hour drive home, I visited the Auntie Anne's pretzel store and bought an original recipe pretzel. So many people walked through the store carrying one, my stomach was growling.
Do you have any tales of best and worst book signings?