Angela Kay has been a friend of the blog for a while, and her book The Murder of Manny Grimes came out in September of 2016.
Since then she’s been doing the dreaded M word – Marketing – including learning to do book signings.
Here, she explains how she’s done so far.
Saturday, January 21 was my fourth book signing…
My first was at a library with other local authors in downtown Augusta, GA where I sold five books, mostly to family who came to support me. The second was at a used bookstore, 2nd and Charles, where I sold eleven books. All but one of my sales were from family and friends. The one sale was from someone who picked up my book and thought it looked interesting. The third signing was at another library in Augusta–also with local authors–but no sales there. I honestly wasn’t expecting it. I’ve already utilized most of my family and friends. Walking into a library, who wants to buy a $14 suspense novel when they can chose several to borrow for free? I know I wouldn’t.
My most recent book signing was at the Augusta Mall’s Barnes and Noble, starting at 1 p.m. It was actually the most fun I had at a book signing. Before I arrived, it was raining hard. I mean, it was coming down in torrents. The funny thing about people and rain, I’ve learned during my years working retail that people want to go out. Why, I haven’t a smidge of a clue. I’d prefer to snuggle in bed and watch a good movie.
The ironic thing is that my book signing was originally scheduled for two Saturdays before. But, then, the weather started predicting a lot of snow. I knew it wouldn’t snow even before the day arrived. Contrary to my debut’s The Murder of Manny Grimes‘ setting, it just doesn’t get a lot of snow in the south. But of course, it is the south, and the very mention of snow makes the southerners freaky. If the snow day was expected on a Wednesday, I’m pretty sure schools would shut down. But, anyway, the day came, and no snow. Oh well. I had already rescheduled my signing in anticipation of the trepid weather.
“I never know how to act at a book signing. I want people to buy.”
But of course on the day where my signing would happen, and it would be too late to change, the sky opened up like there would be no tomorrow. I could barely see as I was headed for the awful mall in the awful rain. Arriving 30 minutes early, I tried parking close, but of course that didn’t happen. I got my umbrella out, opened it, and found that it was torn up. It still kinda covered me, but yeah, I got a wee bit wet carrying my tote bag and my promotional display to the shelter of the bookstore.
The store manager was already setting up the table for me, and he was trying to arrange my books. He asked me how I’d like it, and I told him it really didn’t matter. He ended up arranging them in an ‘M’. Manny, get it? Why didn’t I ever think of that? I loved that idea.
Up until the signing, I was getting more anxious and nervous. I never know how to act at a book signing. I want people to buy. I also am still learning the way of marketing. Confidence is something I lack. I know I’m a good writer, even a great writer. I knew that even before I got nine positive stars on Amazon.com, and two positive stars on the Barnes and Noble website. And honestly, only three of the eleven positives were people I knew, but they also didn’t have to leave a good review. I encouraged them to be honest, because anything else wouldn’t really be much help to me. After all, just like any business, I want to grow and become better than I was yesterday.
My table at the book signing was right by the entrance, so I just walked around the table, greeting people. Within the first five minutes of being there, I sold my first book–by someone I didn’t know. And keep in mind that I’ve already utilized my family and friends’ support.
“…like any business, I want to grow and become better than I was yesterday.”
As expected, the drumming rain brought in a lot of people. I mean a lot. I was lucky. The first hour, I sold seven books. Seven. The remaining hour and a half, I didn’t sell anything. But I did talk to a lot of people about my book and love of writing, and they took a lot of my promotional bookmarks and cards.
With each experience, I learn something new. This time I think I finally learned that I already did the hard work. I spent seven years perfecting the storyline and now it’s published. I have a total of ten five stars and two four star reviews. Even the four stars show how much my reader enjoyed the book. So, obviously, the book is a good one. Marketing is hard, but it’s all a learning process. It’s also trial and error. And furthermore, I must be doing something right. I’m selling at most book signings, people are buying kindle/paperback editions, or they’re requesting me to send them a personalized signed copy. I mentioned to my Beachbody coach that I needed lots of luck and prayers while I attend my signing, and she got excited about my being an author. She was about to order off of Amazon, then decided she wanted to buy a signed copy.
So, my fourth book signing was a major success. However,
in their own right, all of my signings were successful.
I either sold to people I didn’t know (or even if I did know them, they didn’t have to buy), or I met and friended several other authors.
I expect good times and bad times as an author. It’s like everything else in life. Well, everything worth striving for, that is. But I enjoy being in this large clique of the writers circle. I meet a lot of awesome writers, whether in person or on Facebook. It’s a fun time.
And it’s days like Saturday that keeps me moving forward in my career.
Gang, get your copy of The Murder Of Manny Grimes now!
Here are Angela’s links:
Like me on Facebook: Angela Kay’s Books
Follow me on Twitter: @angelakaysbooks
A big thank you to Angela for doing this helpful, informative guest post. Keep swinging for the fences.
What questions do YOU have for Angela about doing a book signing?
I want to know what it took to get four already!