If you’ve read any of my post over the last few months or get my newsletter, then you know that this past weekend I had a book signing in The Villages. And I’ve got to tell you, I have never felt more like a failure than I did Saturday afternoon as I sat there patiently counting the minutes until the signing was over. (Something else I’ve never done.)
I love book signings. It isn’t the potential of sales, it’s the connections and the opportunity to meet new people that I love. Plus, I get to talk about my favorite subject—writing! (You’d be surprised how much people get annoyed by that.) But this event … I believe I told my boyfriend I was in hell, which was exactly how it felt.
The worse part is it didn’t have anything to do with low sales. Yes, that happened, but it was the look of abject horror I kept seeing on people’s faces as they came across my covers. The ones that claimed the covers were too scary. Or those who said they were beautiful, but frightening. I wanted to scream at them, “Life is frightening!”
It was the number of times I had to tell people, “It’s not horror.” I truly began to wonder if these people even understood the term “horror.”
And for those who actually stopped and either picked up one or each book and read the back of it or heard me out on the story, it was the fake smile that crossed their faces that practically screamed, “Who would write a book about such a dark topic?” That doesn’t include the ones who said, “I can respect that stories like these are necessary, but I wouldn’t pick it up for myself or even someone I know.”
The more I heard, the more people that came by, the more I felt like I was drowning. It took everything I had not to break down and cry. Honestly, if I had been by myself, I probably would have. But I had my best friend there with me and my boyfriend supporting me by phone. I have a great support team and with a little coddling, they helped me see the takeaways of this event.
- Research the event and it’s likely audience before signing on. (If I had done this ahead of time, I don’t believe I would’ve attended.)
- Book signings aren’t just about sales, it’s also an opportunity to network and make connections. (Which I did. I met a young woman who does podcasts and I will absolutely be e-mailing her later this week to set something up.)
- Each and every event is a learning experience. (An experience that I thought I would share with all of you.)
- Even if you don’t make sales, remember to support other authors. (You may just make their day and gain a new friend/follower in the process.)
- Walk into and out of every event with your head held high. (Some people never even make it that far, but YOU. DID.)
- Finally, remember not everyone will like your book. (I’ve told this multiple times to my author friends and I forgot this myself at this event.)
No author likes hearing the word “no” over and over again, but it isn’t the end of our careers and it doesn’t mean we aren’t successful. It just means we didn’t find the right kind of people, our kind of people.
The ones who are out there, right now, looking for a book JUST. LIKE. OURS.