Book Events- The Good, the Bad, the Awesome
Recently, a tweet from a debut author went viral when she expressed extreme disappointment that only two people went to a bookstore event for her novel. Many authors, debut and veterans, expressed solidarity. We’ve all been there and it sucks. It’s not limited to debut or relatively unknown authors. The first event I went to was for a young adult author that had published close to ten books, some of which won awards. There were six people at the bookstore to hear her speak. SIX. Two of which were my friend and me. When I contact a bookstore and ask them if I can do a signing there and they ask what kind of crowd can I draw I want to tell them that story and then tell them the truth: I’ll try my darndest to get people there but I can’t guarantee anything. NO ONE CAN!
In light of that viral tweet and closing out a year where I was actually able to do some in person events, here’s some thoughts:
• I have a book in the world and can talk to people about it!
• Suzy from The Book Cellar
• Bob from the Barnes and Noble in Algonquin
• My fancy purple pen used for signing books.
• Family and friends that came to support me, some on more than one occasion.
• Meeting strangers and talking to them about my book.
• Seeing people I hadn’t seen in a LONG time who had come out to support me and my book (more on that later)
• Feeling like you letdown a bookstore because they ordered 24 copies of your books and you only sold seven. (I can still see the look on the seller’s face as she lugged the left over copies off the table)
• Reaching out to schools, GSA’s, colleagues, family, and friends and only having two people show up.
• Bookstores rejecting you because you don’t have a following.
• Not even receiving any response from a store when you ask if they would be willing to host an event.
• Feeling like everyone else knows how to do this but you don’t (not a fact but a real feeling)
• My parents, who come to every event just like they did when I played sports all through childhood
• My friend, Carrie, who came to an event from Indiana. I hadn’t seen her in seven years.
• My friend, Malachy, who came to my launch at the Book Cellar and who I met when we were students at Roosevelt. I hadn’t seen him in eight years.
• My friend, Lisa, who came in from Minnesota to help me celebrate at The Book Cellar
• Suzy at the Book Cellar who knew how special this launch was and made a cake to celebrate
Attendance at these things are sporadic and unpredictable. It can leave you feeling elated or defeated. But I’ve got some things lined up for 2023. Maybe I’ll see you there!