Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Book Signing Ups and Downs

 
I did a book signing last month!!! It was scary, awesome, exciting, exhausting, tough, and taught me a few lessons on preparedness.
 
What scared me: I forgot to rehearse my answer to "What is your book about?" The first person to ask me that question received a blank stare and a hasty half-answer. Thankfully, she asked lots of questions after that.  
 
The awesome, exciting part: Friends and family came. One of my students from my homeschool co-operative came with his mom, sister, baby brother, and grandma. Strangers I never met before came and bought my book. A pre-teen girl asked her mom to get both my books for her brother and then told me she planned to read them too.  It wasn't a big crowd, but it was good. :)
 
The exhausting part: I wasn't feeling well, but since the bookstore owner and I had both advertised with flyers, posts, and with the local newspaper, I went. It was a struggle to maintain a happy, friendly "ok" presence when I really wanted to go back home and sleep. The bookstore owner provided a nice chair.
 
The tough part: A couple came into the bookstore expressly to meet the "local author" as advertised by the big sign outside the store on the sidewalk. They didn't like fantasy. They didn't understand why I would write fantasy. I struggled to answer the "why," and the bookstore owner leapt to my defense.

An interesting question that I could have answered if I wasn't so tongue-tied: A representative from the local newspaper came and asked me just one simple question, and I was so nervous I blanked it completely. The question: "What books have you read on writing?" My answer . . . "Um." Sad, but true. Thankfully, as a writer of novels himself, he jumped in with his favorite writing books and we had a conversation.

Afterwards, I took the time to start compiling the list of books I've written. Some of them can be found on my page Books on Writing.
 
The lesson I took away from the whole experience: I couldn't have foreseen that I would get ill, but I could be more prepared. I've written out the questions I was asked and I've written up answers. I'm going to rehearse.
 
And, the local bookstore owner is a gem - she offered to have me any time for another signing. :)
 
Have you ever had a book signing? If so, what was it like? If not, what do you dream it will be like? Do you find it easy or hard to talk about your writing?


 
And, have you picked up a copy of Champion in Flight yet?
 
 
 


31 comments:

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Excellent, Tyrean! I think it's great that you wrote down the questions and came up with answers so you'll be more ready next time. That reporter's question was definitely an interesting one! :)

Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption

Nicole said...

Aw, that's so wonderful that friends AND strangers were excited about your book! Sounds like a valuable learning experience too. Thanks for sharing.

Michelle Wallace said...

Sounds like a wonderful and exciting experience!
Even a news reporter showed up! How cool is that?
Thanks for sharing, Tyrean!

T. Drecker said...

Yeah for making it through! Seems like your a hero in your own right. Honestly, some of those questions would have made me stutter to. Especially the books on writing. That seems like such a wierd thing to ask.
Good job! Enjoyed the post :)

Tyrean Martinson said...

Yes, his question just wasn't one I was expecting and yet . . . if I could just think under pressure, I had an answer. :)

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thanks, Nicole! It was definitely a valuable learning experience. :)

Tyrean Martinson said...

It was an awesome experience! He actually showed up because he had a personal interest as a writer - he's not going to write an article about it. (and I'm thankful for that because I was so not prepared)

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thanks T! He wanted to know, as one writer from another . . . so it made sense in a way.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

They couldn't understand why you write fantasy? Terrible thing to say to someone. Glad the bookstore owner helped you on that one.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Yeah . . . it was an interesting moment. I think they thought "local" author meant "local interest." I'm so thankful for the awesome bookstore owner. :)

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great advice, Tyrean. Awesome you had a good turnout. And it's always hard to be our best when we don't feel good.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Some of those things you just can't prepare for.

My motto with book signings (and the seminars I teach) is the only reason I won't go is death - my own.

Maurice Mitchell said...

Congrats Tyrean! I would have given a lot of blank stares for that question too, but it sounds like a very supportive group. Hooray for friends and family!

Mark Means said...

Awesome to hear that you're having actual signings! I hope to get to that point sometime in the (far flung) future :)

Also, don't worry about not being so snappy with the banter. Usually, a conversation isn't near as bad as our minds trick us into thinking it is. Keep at it!

M Pax said...

No, I haven't done one yet. Sounds exciting. I definitely learned from what you wrote here. Cool that all those people showed up.

Leandra Wallace said...

It sounds like overall it was a success, w/your book getting in new hands! I can totally sympathize about going blank, I do it all the time. And rehearsing sounds like a good way to help w/that. Thanks for sharing your experience!

Quanie Miller said...

I haven't had a book signing yet but the question "what is your book about?" makes my mind go blank every time. I mean, I wrote the book. I should be able to say what my novel is about, right? But it's never easy, having to condense an entire book into a few sentences without rambling on about the plot and confusing the listener. Reading this was good for me and let's me know what to expect when I do have a book signing. I think you're right about rehearsing. It sounds like the event went fine but by the time you do a few of these you'll be a lot more confident. You'll be a pro!

Julie Flanders said...

Congratulations on such a great turnout and also the newspaper interest! I had some of these same issues when I did my signing, especially when someone asked what my book was about. I know I sounded like a blithering idiot when I answered LOL. Thanks for sharing what you've learned, great advice here.

cleemckenzie said...

Having a local success is the best! Congratulations. And here's to many more.

LD Masterson said...

Sounds like you did well and learned some good lessons for next time. Can't ask for better than that.

Fundy Blue said...

Congratulations on your first book signing. How exciting! I haven't had the pleasure myself, but I've certainly had fun helping my sister promote hers.

Jeff Chapman said...

It's great you sold some books and were able to interact with some fans and fans-to-be. Rehearsing some standard questions sounds like a great idea. I've never done a book signing. My greatest fear is that no one would show up.

Christine Rains said...

Congratulations on your first book signing even if you weren't feeling too well. I get tongue-tied when people ask me questions too. I've never done a signing. Makes me nervous just thinking about it! Have a lovely weekend.

Jack said...

That would be scary! And even if you had planned for some of it ahead things like that can still catch you off guard. But it sounds like it went great overall! Except for being sick, that never helps.

Tyrean Martinson said...

That was one of my fears too, so I asked friends and family to come. I asked about 40 people that I knew well, and 10 came (5 families), and that helped. I've heard that it's good to "plant" a few people at a book signing or event for moral support in case no one else shows up.

E.J. Wesley said...

Sounds like you have an amazing bookstore owner! I've never done a public signing, so I think I'd freak out a little, too. LOL You bring up some great things to remember. Writing down a few generic responses on note cards, and keeping a few blank ones around to write down extra stuff as it comes, is something I think I'll try if I ever do one.

Tanya Miranda said...

Congrats on the book signing! I still have yet to work up the courage to do one, maybe for my urban fantasy novel. I guess I have to come up with an answer for the "Why do you write fantasy?" question too. :-1

That reporter's question would have stumped me. I have a tall stack of books on writing, all of them print so I can dog-ear and write all over them, and as I read your post I realized I don't remember one single title or author. I should make a list!

Milo James Fowler said...

Sounds like it went very well overall, Tyrean. I'd probably give a few blank stares myself in the same situation. Guess we'd better get to work on our pitches.

S.K. Anthony said...

How awesome! Sorry you weren't feeling well, and hey you learn from this and can't always be prepared for everything. Thanks to you, now we know to have some of these answers ready too lol

jamieayres.com said...

I've done one book signing at a B&N, and the people just came up individually to ask questions as they got their books signed. Very low key. Next one is at an indie store where the book is set, and the book store is actually prominently featured. I'm doing a reading, too. I'll keep your blog in mind & prepare some things :-)

Carol Riggs said...

Hugs and congrats for your signing, and I bet I'll do the same someday, blanking on the pitch and books and stuff!

Ha, WOW, that couple wondering why you'd ever write fantasy. Really? LOL Sounds like the bookstore owner was an awesome support!