How I Survived My Second Book Signing

IMG_20180512_131558590.jpgMe^ (Photo credit: R.A. Johnson)

Don’t let that relaxed, calm, and passive face fool you 😉 I was STRESSED about my book signing last Saturday. I showed up an hour early, with all my stuff and my friend and her son and my mom…because, let’s face it: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Ten minutes in, I was sweating…well, more literally than proverbially. TMI?

How did I survive? What did I do right? What did I do wrong? Buckle up, folks! It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

HAVE A PLAN!

What I Did Right

  • I reserved the venue (my local public library) five months in advance (before the calendar filled up for 2018)
  • Contacted my baker way in advance (Cross’ Confections. YUM!)
  • Stayed in touch with my baker every so many months, until it got closer; by then, I was contacting her every so many weeks
  • Sent out personal invites to friends and family (you can do e-invites, but there’s something about getting actual mail in the real-life mailbox…)
  • Had swag related to each book
  • Had my help lined up months in advance

If possible, get a free, public venue. I could have asked a church, but some people aren’t comfortable in a religious setting, and you have to pay to rent a room. Plus, if the church doesn’t approve of you book…well, that’s a whole ‘nother dilemma.

Baked goods are optional. I wanted to feed my guests. Did it cost me? Yes (not nearly as much as if I had gone with another bakery, but still.)

Keeping the lines of communication open with your venue and your help/baker is essential. People are busy and sometimes forget to write things down. You are not being a nag contacting them on occasion to finalize or go over plans.

A personal touch can mean the difference between a yes and a no. Want people to come to your party? Make them feel like they’re wanted. Because they are!

Giving away swag related to your book is a fun way to keep you and your work in people’s thoughts. Let’s face it: you have to see/hear of a book several times before you break down and read it.

Putting the burden on your own shoulders alone will break your back.

What I Did Wrong

  • I did not set a budget. This is CRITICAL for any party planner: make certain you have a limit on what you want to spend. Things add up FAST! Whether you’re selling books or Mary Kay, you don’t want a deficit. Come out in the black!
  • I had my expectations set on my last book signing. By doing this, I kept comparing. And when you compare, you tend to get negative. You doubt yourself and your ability to write, sell, or throw a party.

Onward!

For refreshments, I had my high school friend Beth Cross of Cross’ Confections make three types of macarons (strawberry, blueberry, and I think the green one was matcha with a mint filling), chocolate chip scones, and shortbread cookies. Mmmm!

IMG_20180512_140939602.jpg(Photo credit: R.A. Johnson)

For book swag, I had postcards for Lady Catherine Says

Lady Catherine Says cover2

Lip balms with the cover art for Lady Catherine Says, along with information on where to find the book; postcards for Circus in a Shot Glass with pens attached…

CIASG post cards

Buttons for In a Pickle with the words “I’VE GOT SOME HISTORY TO FIX” printed on them; and bookmarks for those who bought Lady Catherine Says, encouraging people to leave reviews of my books on Goodreads.

With twenty-four people in attendance, I’m calling the official book launch/signing for Lady Catherine Says a success!

Keep your pen on the page and your nose in a book,
Beth

P.S. Here’s a link to my radio interview last Thursday: Listen Here!

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Novel Teas and Fiction Flings

I kid you not, this was going to be a party-planning book from a person who has thrown precious few parties. I’ve thrown a Saint Patrick’s Day party, a bridal shower, a baby shower, and a book launch party. That’s it. But this book of party ideas was going to be different and special and oh-so-awesome. It was going to be book-themed.

The problem? I had never actually thrown a Lord of the Rings party (chapter one.) Well, unless you count the time I lit 144 candles on a cake for Bilbo’s 111 and Frodo’s 33 birthdays combined and coulda burned the house down. Yes, the problem was lack of experience…for writing the book, that is. Any idiot can melt a cake.

Some hated person once said “write what you know.” In the case of “Novel Teas and Fiction Flings,” I can see the merit in those words. But when it comes to fiction, IMO, the sky is the limit–unless you’re writing sci-fi/space opera/etc., where things, you know, happen in the sky.

A wiser person once said “write what you WANT to know.” I like that: the only limits are the depths of your imagination and curiosity.

So, someday, when I’ve made it big, I’m going to throw book-themed parties. And then I’ll write NT&FF. Because that’s what I do: write.

Keep your pen on the page,
Beth