Today I have two book signings for my latest book, “A Walk Among the Brave.” Book signings can be many things – exciting, boring, a way to meet people, or a time to work on the next book. I have had book signings at an aquatic center, bookstores (inside and out), libraries, at an outdoor festival (where I learned I need to be prepared for sitting in the blazing sun), fairgrounds (when it is invariably beastly hot), town halls and coffee shops. One is no better than the other – except for sitting outside in front of the bookstore during a festival watching swarms of people stroll by, looking away quickly, possibly in fear that I would accost them and demand they buy my book. I have never chased anyone down the sidewalk – been tempted. Or they stop, peruse the books, then give a slight smile and say loftily “I really don’t read these types of books.” I have even been one of those people who see an author sitting all alone at a table, at the entrance doors of a bookstore. Should I stop and talk to him/her? Should I do the slight smile of acknowlegement that makes the author think (because I’ve thought this) “Just don’t smile, buy my book! Stop, Say hi. Don’t make me look like a fool sitting here just me and my books.”
This morning as I put books in my van, I went throught the guessing game of how many to bring. When I get to the signing the guessing game of how many to bring into the building starts. I’ve convinced myself that if I bring in too many, it will jinx the sales. Besides, I then have to lug them back when the sale is done. Fear grips me. Will anyone stop; will anyone buy; does anyone even care? At least I’m in the library in a room where I’ve done hundreds of interviews and many booksignings. If no one shows up – no one will see.
I have sold as many as 100 books at a signing and as little as – well – none. At least today, I know I will sell at least five – if the person requesting that many remembers to come. And I won’t be lonely for a few brief moments because someone iscoming to have me sign a book they already purchased. All is not lost – if I sell one, it’s one more I don’t have to lug back home.