Behold, my first book signing where nobody yelled at me!
7 p.m. Start time! Only problem is there is exactly one person here. Me. And a whole sea of sad empty chairs arranged around a podium with a microphone. Let me tell you there is no sadder sight than a microphone switched to “on” and an empty audience.
7:05 p.m. So I do what any insane, desperate person would do: I run up and down the aisles at Barnes and Noble asking people to come. My speech goes something like this, “Hi I’m Charlotte and I wrote this really funny book – I swear it’s funny – and tonight’s my first real book signing (I’m not counting the last one since I didn’t actually sign any books and it ended in tears.) so please please please come. At last a nice young couple offers to stay with me until their friends arrived so I won’t have to stand alone. We have a lovely chat about how awkward I must feel.
7:10 p.m. An elderly woman wanders into the seating area and sits down, carefully spreading out the ad section of the Sunday paper. She pulls out a pair of scissors and begins clipping ads. I pounce. She, obviously, was not there for my signing. She hadn’t even heard of my book but being the sweet little grandma that she is, she volunteered to stay and hear me out. We had a lovely chat about children. (Mine were running circles and turning random objects into guns.)
7:15 p.m. The kind Barnes & Noble lady Janet (truly – nicest woman ever!) goes to make one last announcement on the overhead speaker. “Attention shoppers…”
7:20 p.m. I joke with Janet about at least having my tap dancing to fall back on if this writing thing doesn’t work out. She laughs politely and then tells me I should probably start with my presentation now if I’m going to do it.
7:22 p.m. I look at coupon grandma and wonder if it’s worth it but then lo and behold another woman (with cute funky glasses that I covet) comes and sits down! AND she’s heard of my book! (I’m in March’s Fitness magazine!! On stands now! Page 27!) My friend Becca arrives with her husband and cute kids. Well now I have four adults – it’s a party! I launch into my not-at-all-prepared speech.
7:30 p.m. I am upstaged by my 4-year-old standing directly in front of the podium picking his nose and almost eating it. He would’ve except I used my sternest mommy voice “We do NOT eat our boogers in public!!” Yeah, that would be the royal “we”. Ahem.
7:35 p.m. Jelly Bean falls and starts crying. I pick her up and she takes the opportunity to use my nice sweater as a Kleenex and snotifies me. The 8- and 6- year-old start bickering about who gets to pretend an empty poster tube is their “bazooka arm” first.
7:36 p.m. My husband wisely decides to decamp and take the kids to visit the Thomas the Tank section.
7:45 p.m. By the time I stop for questions, Gym Buddy Allison (girl is my rock!) has made it along with my friends Cassie (who did my makeup!), Anna (who brought me truffles!) and Deb plus two readers of my blog! I almost wet myself like an excited puppy as I run around hugging them all and then apologizing for invading their personal space and then hugging them again.
Reader Anita and I. Anita is a circus arts performer! You know how I loved my circus arts class!
8:30 p.m. After answering a lot of really smart questions and having a fun discussion with my three ladies (Coupon Grandma, bless her heart, fell asleep in her chair) and friends, it was time to, you know, sign some books. The whole purpose for my being there. I signed the books of the women in attendance. Holly amused everyone by asking me to sign her receipt for the Kindle version of my book. Of course I did it!
8:35 p.m. Done signing books. I find myself chewing on the end of the Sharpie provided by Barnes and Noble. Gross on so many levels. Janet brings me their stock of my book and asks me to autograph all of them. She says they sell better if they have an author sticker on the front. I oblige but wonder how long before my books end up on the clearance table.
8:40 p.m. I tell Janet about my scheduled appearance on Fox this Saturday (7:45 a.m. on channel 9 for you local readers!) and she says sometimes that’s all it takes is for people to see a book on TV and then they’re lining up at the store to get it. I try to imagine anyone lining up to get my book and get a good giggle.
8:45 p.m. Janet goes home and my friends and I sit around chatting about all the weird books B&N has in their philosophy section. (One was simply titled “Cannabis.” I mean I had some stoner friends that thought they were very profound when lit but the philosophy section? Really?) My signing goes until 10 p.m.
9 p.m. We call it a night. At least I’ll get to bed on time! On the way out we bump into my friend Meghan who was popping over after her statistics class. I sign her book, admire her pink shoes and leave feeling pretty happy about the whole thing. Hey, everyone has to start somewhere right? (Thursday’s gig at the University of Northern Iowa will definitely be better attended – it’s part of their grade; they have to listen to me!)
So if you’ve made it this far, you are probably wondering how to get yourself some of this awesome action! Since my book has come out, I get about 3-4 e-mails a week from people asking me how I did it and how they can get their book published. I love it! I think everyone has at least one great book in them and the more great books in the world the better.
Unfortunately the publishing process is very time consuming and kinda complicated. The learning curve’s so steep I had to smash my face into the windshield a couple of times before I figured it out. I just want to save you the broken nose.
So today I did an interview with Josie from Fit Blogger’s Guide
answering all your q’s about where to start (non-fiction: write a solid book proposal first, not the book. fiction: write the manuscript first.), how to decide which kind of publishing is right for you (self published? E-book? Traditional publishing house?) what to do next (get an agent, yes you need one) and what to be careful of (SO many scams out there for hopeful writers – never front the money) and much much more. Go check it out
if you’re interested – I’d love to read your book! (Note: link to interview does not go live until Thursday Feb. 16th in the morning.)
Have you ever done something where zero people showed up? Have you ever gone to a book signing? Do you want to write a book?