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Thursday, June 24, 2010

On Book Starings, er, I mean Book Signings

When I was trying to get published, I dreamt of the moment I would be sitting in a Books A Million or Lifeway signing copies of my novel. Well, that moment has finally arrived.

I just finished up my Atlanta book tour and thought you might be interested in my experience. Man, it was awesome. People waited for hours just to get to meet me and have me sign their copies of Crossing Oceans.

The local papers were really good about covering the events and I even made the front page of a few!

People gushed about my writing, my outfit and how skinny I look in person compared to my pictures. I left feeling really good about myself, my writing, and life in general. I can't wait to do this again!

Um, are you laughing? You are if you've done a few book signings.

Really, it was more like wearing a big sign that says "Kiss me, I'm contagious."

Most of the stores were really good about doing some PR with signs about the store and handing out fliers ahead of time, but not all. In one case, my Atlanta host and good friend, Ane Mulligan, rushed me across town so we would be on time for an evening signing. When we arrived at the store, there was absolutely no indication an author was going to be there doing a signing. I mean not only were there no signs, fliers or anything like that, I mean there were none of my books out, not even a little desk for me to sign at.

Lucky for me, I'd already been humbled a time or two before hand, so I wasn't all that surprised or bothered. I simply said to one of the clerks, "I'm an author who's supposed to be doing a signing here tonight."

He gives me a dull look and says, "Oh yeah, the manager mentioned something about that. I'll get you a chair."

So, there I stand for two hours, handing out promotional book markers and apologizing to people because I don't know where they can find a book on sushi rolling.

In my limited book signing experience, I've had events where I signed hundreds of books, and then others where I've signed just one.

What I've learned in a nut-shell is this: book signings= lessons in humility.
This video pretty much says it all. Here's another article you might find interesting as well.


  1. Well, we had w\quality time together at least. LOL

    But Gina knows how to work a sorry situation into a good one! You should see her hustle. She could spot a reader at 50 yards, and no one got away without a bookmark in their hands.

  2. Love your honesty, Gina.

    I'm glad we got to meet.

  3. Ha, yeah. Looking forward to THAT one. lol

    I have to let you know, if I loved close enough, I'd have been in that same line :D
    Loved Crossing Oceans.

    You reminded me how much that is a fear of mine-leaving my children w/o me.
    It also reminded me to CHERISH the time I have with my kids...only God knows my time, so I'm going to make the best of it.

    Thanks, girl. :D

  4. lol...*lived close enough...*

    Good thing for computers :D
    I'd have wadded sheets of paper EVERYWHERE!

  5. I enjoyed meeting you, Gina. I just wished we had had more time together but your adoring public wouldn't wait!

    No, really--you're a lovely person and I'm looking forward to reading your book very soon.

    Blessings for the rest of your week!

    Patty Smith Hall

  6. I love your post! So honest, I think we need a fresh understanding of what selling a book is really like. Thank you and good luck in your future signings.

    JR Erickson

  7. Thanks for sharing your experience. I think those of us who are unpublished tend to glorify it all.

  8. Gina, I'm still chuckling! And that video! My first two signings were in Waldens in two different states and it was exactly the same! I've never been more embarrassed. You brought back some fun memories here though. THANKX.

    I'll be adding this post to my revolving social posts right now.

  9. BTDT (been there, done that) Gina! In June of 2004, at my very first booksigning at the local B&N, 50 people showed up. I was pretty tickled with the turnout until my dear wife pointed out that five of them were family and rest were from our church. Yes, I'll admit it: I was a victim of a ...duh-duh-DUHHHH...mercy signing!

    At the next two, NO ONE showed. At the third (and final) one I asked the clerks if they needed help putting up stock. Afterward we shared some overpriced coffee and rueful laughs.

    Good times ... *G*

  10. Gina,
    Thanks for the laugh. I enjoyed reading this and watching the video. I was entertained, true, but more so encouraged. At my first signing--a small town library--I did good. Sold and signed a dozen or so books. At other venues, maybe two. I learned quickly to stay humble and keep my expectations realistic.


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