Monday, October 21, 2013

The Book Signing... With Pictures

Good Morning. Okay, the only thing I can say about the book signing is I'm glad it's over. And not because it wasn't great, but because I'm exhausted.

As you all know, this book has been with me since April. The weird thing is, I never thought of it as MY book. It's always been about the teachers and the school. More or less. So doing the book signing was more for them than it was about me. That being said, I naturally wanted it to go well. The more I sold the more would get donated back to the school.

the books
So, let's rewind to two Thursday's ago when I ordered the books and I wasn't sure if they would get in on time. Well, they did. Yay! Talk about stress. However, that only gave the teacher (who wasn't going to be at the Festival) one day to get them signed. Which she did. Yay! And as we have a school newsletter, the book was given a chance for pre-orders, which 13 people did. Yay! So all was well in my little world.

Because I've been wicked busy doing other things, I only "thought" about what I was going to wear for the singing. I had an outfit picked out, but hadn't tried it on. Until Friday afternoon at 4 o'clock. (I was supposed to be there at 4:30 to set up my table.) The outfit didn't fit. I opened my closet and then my bedroom exploded. Dress after skirt after top after sweater after slacks and finally just standing naked in front of my ironing board with my go-to jean skirt and black top. Grabbing my black boots, I was ready to begin make-up.

There's a reason I haven't worn make-up in almost 5 years. I wear glasses. Bi-focals to be specific. Can I tell you how many times I stabbed myself in the eyeball with the mascara wand? And then cried it all down my face, which meant get the picture.

homemade sign by yours truly
By the time I left the house, it was 5 o'clock and I had to fight rush hour traffic through the city. What was normally a 25 minute ride, took 45 minutes so needless to say, I was very late. After slugging the box of books up to the gym, (as well as another box of accoutremants) several people admonished me for being late. (Hey, nothing wrong with a "grand" entrance right?)

Now, as this was first ever book signing, I thought a lot about what I envisioned a book signing to be. A nice quiet evening with a small but interested group in attendance, perhaps a short reading, and then I would sign some books. Well, as this was part of the Fall Festival, there were screaming children having fun, a boom-box blasting dance songs, inflatable bounce houses, a master of ceremonies on a microphone, and just about 300 hundred people all talking at once. Needless to say, "quiet" did not enter into any part of the evening.

my Thanksgiving tablecloth
I set up my table with a nice fallish cloth, had a few pumpkins, my other books, my header picture in a nice frame, and the absent teacher's picture in a nice frame. I also made a sign. I thought it was nice. The other teacher whom I wrote the story about sat with me, and thankfully, (I might add) she pimped the book. No one knew who I was. (I'm still new to the school and even though I'm there all the time, people don't necessarily put faces to names. Also, because I used my pen name, people really had no clue. They thought I was Anne Gallagher, and not me. Which was truly funny. "OMG, You're Anne Gallagher!"

Mrs. Heaton in the frame
Anyway, we were given the table right in front of the double doors leading into the gym so we were the first table you saw. Frightening, but pretty nice of them if I do say so myself. (Remind me to thank Tracy, the Festival coordinator.) However, because at the Festival they do everything with "tickets" people thought you could buy the book with tickets. Uh, no. And because someone told me to have a nice dish of candy on the signing table, I had Hershey kisses and mini Reese's peanut butter cups. Every single kid who saw that candy thought they could have one. (Luckily, Dianne -- the teacher -- beat them off.)

Okay, so you might wonder how it all went. I can't tell you because I have nothing to base it on. So you be the judge. I ordered 50 books. I sold 13 through pre-order and another 13 at the book signing. I also gave away 7 copies (3 each to the teachers and 1 to a special friend - no not that kind of friend - alas I wish he was.) My friend Laura thinks it will be nothing to sell the rest of the books through the school office.

And here we are

So, I guess I did okay. I'd like to say I did really well, but I'm not sure. I had hoped to get rid of the whole 50 and then some, but I guess that was overly ambitious. (I thought as it was about the teachers and not something I wrote -- if that makes any sense -- it would sell 150 copies.)

I do know one thing however, I will never do another book signing at a venue other than a nice quiet bookstore.

Tell me -- Have you ever had a book signing? How did it go? Did you sell as many copies as you thought you might? Were your expectations of the signing itself better or worse than you imagined? Have you ever stabbed yourself with your mascara?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2013


Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I have stabbed myself with my mascara. I have booksignings where I sold every book and signings where I sold one. You never know how it will go. All my signings except one were in book stores.

Maria Zannini said...

I'd say you had a pretty good turnaround.

I'm not fond of book signings regardless of the venue.

Davin Malasarn said...

I'm so happy the books arrived on time and you got them signed by the absent teacher. When I read your post last week about not being sure it would all work out, I was pretty nervous for you. All in all, I'd call this a big success. Congratulations! And, you did something really nice for the teachers and for the school.

Don't forget to thank Tracy! :)

Anne Gallagher said...

Susan -- That's what I was most worried about -- that I wouldn't sell any. And I'm getting rid of that mascara!

Maria -- I think I'll have to try another signing just to see if I like it. That particular venue just wasn't what I thought a book signing should be.

Davin -- Thank you so much for worrying about me last week. That's very sweet. And yes, I have to say it was successful. And I did thank Tracy. :))

Liza said...

I can only answer your last question. I gave up on mascara about five years ago. My eye lids have become so floppy they just about hide the lashes I have left. Sigh. If I am EVER published, maybe I'll spring for an eyebrow lift before my first signing. :)

Anne Gallagher said...

Liza -- My mother actually had an eyebrow lift. Her optician said it was only a matter of time before she wouldn't be able to see. So perhaps you should get one before that. Just in case.

I'm thinking that I just hate make-up period and I won't bother wearing it anymore.


This was a SUCCESS in my eyes. Really. I've done signings and sold 3 or 4. I've done signings where nobody was interested and I've done them where there have been crowds. You just cannot predict the outcome.
I'm doing one this Sat the 26. Beckley, WV at Tamarack the cultural art center. Beautiful place. They often have bus loads of people come through. It's fun, busy, sometimes sell more than others. Toss up.
I take a few hrs to prepare myself for a signing. I have to have quiet then. Prepare what I plan to say if I'm giving a workshop, and try on clothes before.
Now, you know! Good luck at the next one. Yes, selling 50 was ambitious.

J.B. Chicoine said...

Well, I'm just so proud of you! I think you did fabulously! I did a book signing at a Fall Festival in new England and I can be sure it was a very different pace than a quiet bookstore. And I am so relieved the books arrived on time, though I had a strong hunch they would. And once the buzz gets out about how good the book is, you'll sell even more copies!

As far as the mascara? I have the same eye issue, but I have a monster magnifying mirror for applying what little eye makeup I wear. It's great--except for the fact that it magnifies every wrinkle and splotch and imperfection--Oh god, my pores are like caverns, but at least I haven't stabbed myself in a long time.

Michelle D. Argyle said...

I've done many book signings, and I'll tell you right now that what you sold is fantastic. :) I'm really glad it went well!

Linda G. said...

I HAVE stabbed myself with the mascara wand. On a related note, I hate wearing mascara.

That's a great picture of you! And I love the sign you made for the event, too. Heck, even if you didn't sell out, it was worth doing just to get these marvelous pics. :)

Laura Pauling said...

Considering you were at a school and possibly not your target audience? Selling that many is good. I did do one school festival. I write YA and mostly elementary kids came, so lesson learned. It's not worth the time, money and energy if your true audience isn't there. :)

But any signing is a good experience and 13 is wonderful! Congrats. :)

Laura Pauling said...

Considering you were at a school and possibly not your target audience? Selling that many is good. I did do one school festival. I write YA and mostly elementary kids came, so lesson learned. It's not worth the time, money and energy if your true audience isn't there. :)

But any signing is a good experience and 13 is wonderful! Congrats. :)