Bookstores and Book Signings
I’ve had many Indie authors ask me how I landed book signings for UNDERTOW at various bookstores. The questions were the same: How did I ask them? What did I say? Who did I beg?
Want the truth? I didn’t ask any of them. Instead, they asked me.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I could have asked. But a book signing isn’t a simple task for a bookstore, and to ask for such an event without proving that UNDERTOW would sell, seemed . . . arrogant.
So I didn’t ask. Instead I focused on the task of building buzz – and it worked.
UNDERTOW sold like mad, even drawing the attention of Barnes and Noble, who wanted in on the action. And while I loved the UNDERTOW story, I knew that books, no matter what, are a business. They are about money, pure and simple, and bookstores want a book that sells, not one that sits on the shelves festering for years.
They want it priced right, looking good, bringing in buzz via reviews and word of mouth, and they want to see a marketing plan. They want to see it in the papers, on TV, and on blogs. They want to be able to take 20-30 books at a time and sell-out in a couple of weeks, if not days.
They want to see it hit the bestseller lists on Amazon and NOT because it was a freebie (folks – it’s called the bestSELLER list, not the bestFREEBIE list). Ideally they want to see it climb onto the bestseller list and stay there – for a while.
A real Golden Goose for the stores? When they find out it is on Bookclub lists and is being added to the summer reading list for schools.
UNDERTOW did all that for me. I am forever grateful for whatever brain cramp I had that led to the story, and my team of Beta readers who tirelessly re-read it for flow.
But I also know that giving back to those who have cheered for the story is critical, for without the stores, librarians, schools, and reviewers, I would have never found the success I have in this one, crazy novel.
So I give back, offering a free book to libraries, English teachers, etc. I teach fiction classes, try to help other authors, and lend my graphics work to libraries and bookstores. While these acts of gratitude really have had no impact on UNDERTOW climbing the bestseller ranks, it does mean that I give a damn as an author and writer. I’m passionate about the success of bookstores, libraries, and the creativity of writers, new and old. At the end of the day, my “writer’s code” is quite simple: Give back to the fans and strive to give them one hell of a story.