Last Saturday, July 14, I made a three and one-half hour
journey from where I live in Eastern Washington, to a little store called A Book For All Seasons. The place is situated in
the equally small tourist town of Leavenworth, Washington, huddled in the eastern foothills of the Cascade mountains. The
buildings of this German-speaking community are designed as pseudo-Alpine, looking like Swiss chalets.
Including myself, there were four other authors crammed into the into the narrow spaces of the book store, either right
at the front and back doors or somewhere in between. We represented several genres including fiction, non-fiction, gardening,
The theme of this signing was known as a Book Buzz. As potential customers entered the store, an
employee would give them an entry form for a drawing which contained pictures of the books the authors brought to the event.
Each customer would then go around to each author's table, listen to his/hers pitch, and have the picture of his/her book
stamped. After the customer had all the pictures stamped, he or she filled out the form and drop it into a jar. Later one
entry would be drawn for a $25.00 gift certificate.
Unfortunately, most of these people were tourists
who were only interested in the drawing rather than buying one of our books. That's because the weather outside was hot (92
degrees plus) and muggy, and they came into the store to get out of the heat. The end result was not one author, including
myself, sold more than two copies. The gentleman sitting next to me, who had brought two titles, did not sell a single book.
I do want to make it very clear that the store employees were friendly and accommodating, and did their best to make
us feel comfortable. It was not their fault that none of us did well at this event. I know they did their very best to promote
this signing on the store's website. There was a very nice write-up.
However, I should have known better because
of my past experiences that this type of book event would not work for me. Multi-author book signings usually dilute sales--nobody
does well--this case was no exception. It was my eagerness to attend this particular gathering that got in the way of my better
judgment. Perhaps other authors may fare better, but in my case, not so. In the future, I plan to stay away from such events.
My advice would be the same to other authors except for those who are well-known and famous best sellers. In their case, they
could sell anytime and anywhere; not so for unknowns such as myself.