Auld Lang Syne

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sitting the Book Signing Table

It's a bit like a family reunion or a wake or any other gathering where polite conversation and smiling are expected. You have the book (books) and a great pen. You might even have change and a mailing list sheet. You've chosen an outfit that looks "poet-y." And of course there is the required bottle of water. You hope a few people will stop by to say hello, and that they will be duly impressed that you have WRITTEN a book. You wonder if they are lookie-louing their way from table to table, trying to look literate and upscale. You wonder if they actually read and appreciate poetry (you PRAY that they do!) You want to chat with them about poetry. You want them to want your book.

You think that they probably fall into one of three categories:

1. They have written a book too and want to know how to get theirs published
2. They are also poets and trying to be supportive by stopping by to say hello
3. They are trying to impress someone (the man they are dating, their children, themselves)

What you HOPE is that they fall into one of three of the OTHER categories:

1. They have written and published a book too and want to buy yours because they know it is hard work
2. They are also poets and want to be supportive AND they want to add your book to their libraries
3. They are impressed with your work and want to buy your book to learn from your writing

Personally, I love book signings. I want to see the faces of people when (if) they open my books and read a few lines. I love talking with people about writing and hope to find a new writer or two. I love signing a book and the feel of the ink smoothing itself onto the title page as I come up with a (hopefully) insightful message.

I'd be crazy not to admit that I also love it when I don't have to pack up the books and take them home afterwards. I want them OUT THERE. I also want to be able to go to the bank and deposit the few dollars into my account, feel like I do actually DO THIS as a means of supporting my book and paper and pen habit!

So here's the thing: buy books directly from authors. Don't say "Oh I love your book, I'll order it from Amazon." Get the books directly and the authors make a few bucks more. (Book sellers take 40%) It is heartening and feels good to see a person walk away from the book table with my book in hand.

So, enough with the commercial. Off to my book signing. Really. Today, 10 AM - 1 PM Marine Tent, Maine Lobster Festival. See you there?

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