Many authors, especially the more famous ones, avoid book signings. They feel that the amount of work required to put into a book signing doesn’t equal the sales returned. The ROI doesn’t calculate in favor of the author.
With my most recent book signing, I was billed as a native of Enid, Oklahoma. The Hastings store in my home town hosted the signing and helped me advertise it.
What makes a successful book signing? Some authors believe selling 10-50 copies constitutes a success. But for me, the success of the event centers around the people who attend.
For example, in Enid, the following people visited my table:
• A prayer partner – a woman who faithfully prays for my ministry as writer, life coach and program director at GateWay of Hope. She also prays for my personal concerns and the cares of my family.
• My former piano teacher – the woman who taught me how to follow the notes but also how to play with my soul. She is still teaching me because every time we visit, I am awed and inspired by her gracious personality and her godly character.
• A high school and college friend – this woman has taught me about the importance of faith, especially when life unravels in different directions. She encourages me through social media and by attending the events that are important to me. She is an example of the believers in the Hebrews’ Hall of Faith.
• The sister of another high school friend – she came to buy each of the books so that she could read them and then send them on to her sister. Every time I see her at church, I am struck by the peace of God that rests on her, and I feel blessed.
• A friend of our family who continues to meet weekly with my mother, walks around the mall with her and drives her to Braum’s so they can have biscuits and gravy together. I have known her all my life and appreciated her kindness to our family.
• My own sister who buys books for six of her friends, filling her Christmas list early and encouraging me in the process. She interrupts her own schedule to fill my needs.
• A pastor and his wife who show loyalty to the family of their parishioners and continue to encourage me in my writing journey.
All these people uplifted me because they took the time on a busy Saturday to drive across town and buy one or more of my books. I know they will read the books and probably tell someone else about them. They will pray for me and that will build up my coverage in heaven for this wordsmithing I do.
But then – just as I began to pack my remaining books away – another person approached the table, picked up a book and asked, “What’s it about?”
“A woman minister,” I said, “who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She lives in assisted living and meets a whole group of interesting characters.”
“Perfect,” she said. “My mother’s best friend just went to live in assisted living. Mom doesn’t know what to do to help her, and she misses her so much – the things they used to do together.”
We talked for a while about how life changes so rapidly and how difficult Alzheimer’s and dementia can be for the caregivers. She bought the first book, “The Unraveling of Reverend G” and slipped a bookmark for the second book, “Intermission for Reverend G” into her purse. She picked up a business card, “So I can follow you online,” she said, “and buy the second book on Amazon.”
Then she moved toward the register, and I continued to pack up my books, grateful that I waited a few more minutes so that I could share hope with this lovely woman.
All my book signings have been successful – that is – I’ve sold more than 10 books. But the best part of the entire process is that I get to meet face to face the people who read the words God has given me. I get to thank them for coming and hopefully bless them with a hug or a handshake.
I meet people who will be encouraged by the story of this brave little minister with Alzheimer’s Disease, people who are caregivers, who experience the 36-hour day and know firsthand how it feels to live with a loved one who sometimes forgets.
Book signings are another way to share the message that no matter how dire life gets – God is still good and he never stops loving us.
©2014 RJ Thesman – “Intermission for Reverend G” – http://amzn.to/1l4oGoo