- Sue Hawley
As I’ve stated before--writing a book is the easy part of being an author. Selling is where the rubber hits the road.
A few weeks ago I was privileged to be part of our neighborhood Barnes and Noble's local author book signing. Jen Meredith plans the book signings at our Barnes and Noble. She does an excellent job and I’ve always appreciated the hard work it must take to have a successful event. I've learned a thing or two over the past few years concerning book events- mainly due to stumbling along and hoping for the best. (This is not a wise course of action for any endeavor.) One thing I have learned the hard way is how challenging it is for people to find your book in the first place; events like these are fantastic for indie and small press authors!
However, it was only going to be successful if people actually had the chance to meet us and our books. There were 10 local authors at the event and our mission was to encourage folks to meander upstairs to where the meet and greet/book signing was taking place. But how to do that?
My oldest daughter, who functions as my business manager, came up with the idea of a raffle to spur folks up the escalator. I was able to gather enough items to have two overflowing baskets ready to be won. Having been blessed (or cursed) with the gift of gab, I find talking to total strangers actually quite fun. You meet interesting people from all walks of life and engage with them. I had the privilege to hear Hiett Ives speak concerning successful events; not just a book signing, but any type of event. He stresses the importance of connecting with people. When you think about it, isn’t that what makes life interesting? Meeting, talking, and connecting is a human need; I don’t think we interact with one another enough in modern times.
So that's what all of us authors did. We walked the store, talking with people, chatting about books (this was a bookstore, after all!), and telling them about the local authors and the raffle baskets. We connected with a number of people and everyone had a blast.
The raffle was a huge success and the two winners were thrilled with their bounty. Studio EXL, Vaughn & Company, Farmer’s Rail, Gasoline Alley, Malley's chocolates, and the Bake Shop in Ghent were all represented in our raffle baskets. I love supporting our local businesses- they make Bath thrive and are so important to our community. They provide local places for people to connect in daily important ways. I hope the winners, if they haven't connected with those places and people yet, find the time to do that now. Many of the people and places I frequent sneak their way into my books simply because the books are set here, in Bath, and I couldn’t write without including them!
I'm look forward to my next book signing and meeting new people. I’m sure some of them will find their way into one of my future books, too!