Every aspiring novelist dreams about doing a book signing, right? It’s a signal that we’ve made it, that we’ve actually published a book. And we can picture it all so clearly in our minds -- sitting at a linen-draped table, smiling confidently while television cameras roll and long lines of fans clutch coveted copies of our best-selling books.
So why was I so reluctant to let my local Walmart set up a book signing for the release of my debut novel, WHERE HE BELONGS, this month?
Well, for one thing, I’ve already agreed to do two other book signings in different cities. One will be with multiple romance authors. That seemed safe enough to me – if no one shows up, I can spend the time chatting with my friends. And I’ve already enlisted all my coworkers to attend the other.
But the Walmart signing will be during the week when most people I know are working. I’ll be by myself – sola – sitting at that table. Plus, I’m a new writer. I know I won’t have hordes of dedicated fans anxiously waiting to buy my first book.
No problem, you say? I should just chat up my book as shoppers pass by and let my friendly smile and warm personality lure them into buying my book? Oh, please. I’m a classic introvert – I love talking to people one-on-one but am very awkward at mingling. And I don’t enjoy the whole selling/buying process, either. I’m the type who even averts her eyes and scurries past the person giving out free food samples in the supermarket just to avoid a sales pitch.
Then why didn’t I refuse to do the signing? Well, for one thing, the manager sounded so excited about hosting it that I couldn’t bear to turn her down. And then I thought that just maybe I’d get lucky and meet a friendly reader or two.
So what do you think? Am I doomed to spending a lonely afternoon giving people directions to the bathroom? Is there anything I can do to make this event a success? Would anyone like to commiserate about book signings gone awry? Offer tips? Is the whole book signing experience worthwhile –- for readers or writers?