September was a month of book events for me. Each one taught me something new . . . plus something I should have thought of and didn't.
|photo credit: Michael D. Jones|
Another shoulda, something I didn't think about. The author next to me had a bowl of chocolates. That stopped people, who politely asked if they could have one. She then engaged them in conversation. Chocolates are messy, especially on a hot day. I brought hard candy to the next event.
|photo credit: Tamarack District Library|
BB&B was a much shorter event (10am - 1pm). The library ladies couldn't have treated us authors better. Our tables were set up all over the library, encouraging readers to walk around. They offered free food (homemade scones and fruit) and drinks (coffee, tea, water). Almost like Castle's event. Better, in my opinion. Talking to everyone who stopped was a lot of fun. Asking what they liked to read is always a good conversation starter. One lady told us she'd been in two abusive marriages but was working through it. Her counselor suggested she journal, and what did we think of that. Loralee and I encouraged her to do so, and we chatted for quite a while. About an hour later, the lady came back to buy my book. Talking to people, listening to them, being open and friendly is so rewarding. Not the money she spent on my book. It was the fact that she'd gone home to get the money. I won't forget her.
|Alpena Book Festival|
Something I had no control over but greatly affected the festival this year was the weather. Even in northern Michigan, the temps were in the 90s with high humidity, very rare in mid-September. That did not encourage people to walk around to the different venues. Attendance was lower than last year and disappointing to the organizers. I still had a great time.
Usually Hubs doesn't go with me to book events. But, since it's almost a five-hour drive up to Alpena, it was great having a chauffeur. Besides, he makes a terrific Sherpa. We then went on a mini-vacation a little further north so I could get what Hubs calls my "bridge fix." I love looking at the Mackinac Bridge that connects Michigan's Upper and Lower Peninsulas.
While preparing this post, I realized another shoulda. Get someone to take a picture, if only for a post like this. At my local writers' group, we talked about booksignings right after the Kerrytown event. Jean Davis, our organizer (and my chauffeur to Ann Arbor), talked about standing versus sitting, that standing puts you at eye level with the passersby. Good idea. Unfortunately with chronic low back pain, I don't do well standing. I did bring my business cards, bookmarks, postcards (with book info), my Square device to take credit cards, and plenty of change. Haven't had the opportunity to use Square yet, but I'm prepared. LOL
Authors tend to be introverts. After all, we have characters in our heads that we love talking/listening to. Why do we need to talk to real people? Booksignings can be awkward, painful even, for an introvert. In my mind, I'm an introvert. Anyone who knows me has a hard time believing that. I like to talk. I enjoy panel discussions. Maybe it's my years as a teacher. But before each event, I ask myself what am I doing! My stomach knots up. My hands shake. I should never have signed up for this! When I get to the event, my nerves settle down, and I have a great time.
After preparing the draft for this post, I found an interesting post on the Kobo Writing Life blog on booksignings.
I'm gearing up for the next event presented by the Grand Haven (MI) Loutit District Library on October 14th.
Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction, and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and the Alex O’Hara PI mysteries. She blogs here on the 30th of each month, on Paranormal Romantics on the 13th, on Pandora's Box Gazette on the 3rd Wednesday, and on her own blog on Mondays.