Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Autopsy of a booksigning

First off, let me say that my first booksigning went fairly well -- it was not a rousing success that will establish my career, but I did make a few sales, made a couple of contacts. All in all, it was an interesting night. Out of 18 copies Borders had in stock, I sold a total of five that night. The manager was very enthusiastic and wonderfully nice -- she asked me to come back the weekend before Valentine's Day to give it one more try. :)

Those are the stats...now let's tear the night apart, dig in and see what really happened.

Thank goodness for friends!

One tip that I followed from a fellow writer was to print out little pamphlets regarding my book, SECRETS AND SHADOWS, to pass out to possible customers. It may bring in another sale or two, we'll see. I am glad, however, that I had those and my homemade bookmarks & business cards on hand.


Two things that did NOT surprise me: a couple of older gentleman stopped and asked what the book was about. When I mentioned romantic suspense, they immediately lost interest. LOL! Which, honestly, is a little sad. I strongly believe that any man who is interested in how women feel, think and approach a loving relationship should read at least one well-written romance novel. Seriously guys, it would save you a lot of grief.

The second unsurprising occurrence: the number of people who hurried by, avoided direct eye-contact and basically went out of their way (or my way) to enter the bookstore. LOL!

Trust me, folks -- I am not going tackle you and try to mind-control and/or guilt you into buying my novel. Really. For one thing, I haven't the foggiest how to do that -- otherwise my children would be much better behaved 24/7 AND my book would be with a big NY pub like Ballantine or Kensington. I love Samhain, don't get me wrong, but we all know where the bigger bucks are, don't we? ;)

The Unexpected:

One thing that did surprise me, however, were the number of people who seemed in awe of me. Just because I had written and had a book published. I felt a bit like a celebrity...actually, I felt like I was somehow impersonating a celebrity. I felt a little...guilty? Out of place?

It could have been my 'power suit' or my sudden and instant 'in the spotlight' status that created those feelings. Or it could have been the three young people -- two teenage boys, one girl -- who all had questions about writing. How do you do it? What's the process? How do you get published?

This is where I had to start thinking fast and talking like .... well, like I knew what the heck I was talking about.

Yes, I suppose I am now an 'expert' of sorts. I am published, so I must be doing something right, somewhere. And yes, if I really think about it, I can give advice -- which I did that night -- and I can maybe teach others a thing or two about the process and the mechanics of writing a novel.

But I am more of a natural writer. In other words, I sit down and the words flow. I don't stop to think about conjugating verbs or whether this is a metaphor or simile...yes, I often leave participles dangling **GASP!** and I still don't catch it until some more grammar-oriented person points it out.


I've decided for the good of the few ... at least those few young souls (or the young at heart) who truly desire to write but do not know how to begin ... I've decided to give this rather mediocre blog a more positive direction. I've decided to share my insights into the written word. I'll start by trying to answer -- in my most humble way -- those questions asked me by the eager and very flattering young men and woman at that booksigning.

How do you start?

What's the writing process?

What do you do from there?

So, if you want to learn at least as much as I, personally, can teach you, come back frequently. Writing takes time, patience, work, a thick skin, and perseverance. If you really, really want to reach the goal of publication, those are the qualities you must possess or strive to obtain.

A good dose of talent doesn't hurt, either. ;)


Laura Hamby said...

Oooo! You're a celebrity. This means I'll now have to save every card you snail mailed me, everything with your signature... Yanno, to secure my retirement. ;) Yay you! I'm so proud of you!


Denise said...

Very interesting viewpoint. but congratulations on the five sales. That's better than none! Maybe next time, a few more will go. Then, Borders will have to buy more.

Tina said...

Wow Meg! You're a celebrity and I actually hugged you. I hope some of whatever you've got rubbed off on me. Five books at a first book signing has to be great. Keep up the wonderful work you do!

Meg Allison said...

LOL! Okay, okay, ladies...I didn't say I was a celebrity. But I did feel a bit like one from time to time.

That was of course between the times I was directing shoppers to Boscov's and the public restrooms. ;)

Amanda Young said...

Sounds like you had a pretty good time overall. It gives me hope for when I slope into the Waldenbooks next year and do my own signing. Hearing about someone else's experience certainly helps kill some of those cannabalistic (spelling?) butterflies that eat away at my stomach whenever I think about it. :)


Meg Allison said...


Oh, yeah. Those butterflies can really eat a hole right through you, huh? Don't worry! You'll do great.

Sara Reinke said...

Congrats on such a successful book signing, Meg. I'm really proud of you. :)

And stop telling people it's okay to head-jump, LOL. Don't make me come out of editing semi-retirement and smack your hands. :)



Meg Allison said...

Ruh-roh! LOL!

Okay, Sara...I promise to stop promoting head-hopping. ;)


Loretta said...

If I was in a mall and there was a bookstore there with an autor sitting at a table trying to promote their book I would love to go up to them and ask them questions about how they got started writing and about their book. If I had the money to buy their book if it was the time of genre I read I would buy it and have them autograph it for me. I am in awe of you wonderful people who have the nack for writing. I am just an avid reader and love to meet you all. Just keep up the wonderful work out there.

Meg Allison said...

Thanks, Loretta! I for one will keep writing -- and hopefully the readers will keep enjoying my books. :)

Because, honestly, if it weren't for you wonderful readers, us writers would be out in the cold. ;)