The book signing - the first opportunity to engage with the public.
Well this was a learning experience, which was one of the reasons for choosing York, so I could see how it works before I start on Leeds, my target market for the AVER.
So how did it go?
Stood in the corner of the doorway was an excellent place to greet the arriving public as they walked through the entrance. It was also a prime position to see them walk on by, avoiding your glances at all costs. Now I remembered why I never wanted to do a sales job. Should I harass, should I stay quiet, or should I stand like a smiling geek until someone feels sorry for me?
Finally some friends arrived to rescue me and my wife and make us feel loved. In the end, the store informed that 5 books was good, and I suspect I sold more books than anyone else in WHSmiths that afternoon.
A good experience but what are the learnings.
1) People like to browse books, before they buy, so an opportunity to browse the book without having a desperate author breathe down your neck may have helped with interest.
2) Go for places where books are sold, sounds simple but the entrance to a store which sells many things other than books, means lots of people can easily ignore you, its not what they came for.
3) Don't park your signing table in front of Vampire books and kiddie books, it was a bit confusing at first why all the kids were trying to stare at us, when they were looking at the 3 for 2 offer on Vampires
4) in addition to point one, have some book information for people to see what the book is about. Also would greatly help if the store announced your presence over the tannoy, to give the public some idea of what you are here for and whether they might be interested.
Next time I see a poor author in a store trying to do a signing with a no-mans land empty space around his desk, I shall step inside and engage in conversation. Might even just buy a book in support of my fellow struggling author