Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Powell's Book Signing

Last night was the author's event/book signing at Powell's in Beaverton, Oregon. It was, as we powerful and influential members of the publishing world like to call it, 'lightly attended.' Apparently the incredibly beautiful weather we're having in the Pacific Northwest drew people out to other activities like picnics in the park, family and church events, and other such nonsense. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the other RotS authors Allen Lloyd, Nathan Meyer, and Micheal Ehart. We got a chance to chat about our current projects as well as fiction and sword and sorcery in general.

The bookstore staff had collected up all the copies of Return of the Sword from their locations across town and we all signed them, which was kind of fun in and of itself. As predicted, every one of my autographs looked different. I just cannot seem to make my hand write 'Draper' without looking like a three year old did it.

All in all, it was a fun way to meet some writers who are all better than me and try to gather up some of their thought processes. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.


Allen B. Lloyd said...

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting my fellow ROTSers and regret that I didn’t get a chance to shoot the breeze over a beer or two. I certainly would have liked to pick everyone’s brains about the publishing biz; of the four of us I have the least experience, and could use all the tips I can get. Regardless, the three of you seemed like pretty good eggs and I hope to you all again,


Jeff Draper said...

That's hilarious because I was thinking the same thing. The Powell's staff kept chatting us up and I was thinking, "Dude! I've got limited time with these guys and there's so much I want to talk about!" In their defense, though, the staff was great and very professional and courteous. They know their business and that impresses me most about people I meet. (My wife has told me that the best and most sincere compliment I seem to give out is "He knows what the hell he's doing.")

Candace E. Salima said...

I've had "lightly attended" booksignings (1) and killer ones (184 books in two hours) and have really learned how to maximize that time.

1. Have book trailer/author interview (professional done, not sloppy) on a DVD loop playing at the bookstore throughout the wee prior to the event.

2. Have a pre-order list at the cash register. The cashier needs to promote the booksigning and tell each customer about the event and would they like to pre-order. Explain there will be a reading, Q&A and booksigning, along with refreshments.

3. Ask the bookstore manager to choose two or three books he's willing to give away as prizes, and a copy of the author's book, with a personalized autograph, as the grand prize.

4. Make sure you have established good, friendly relationships with the bookstore employees. Get them excited about the event.

5. Posters/Signage a plus. When I did this type of signing for Brandon Sanderson, Tor really got on board and sent a big banner which was displayed at the store.

Now, you might be guessing I work for a bookstore. I don't know. I am merely an author determined to sell books. I do these types of events for myself with each new book.

Anyway, that's how I make a booksigning successful. My local Waldenbooks has been great in working with me on these events.

Howard von Darkmoor said...

Wow Candace, I sure am glad you found Jeff's blog! You've listed several key ingredients to making a successful reading/speaking event, that's for sure. I'm the guy who set this up and I could have used your pep talk in advance. :)

This was a long-distance set up though, so some of that would have been a tad difficult for me. I'm in Milwaukee, WI, and the event was at Powell's Books in Portland, OR. Powell's has been a hot seller of our anthology Return of the Sword AND it just so happens they are in striking distance of 4 members of the anthology (who are otherwise scattered across North America and England). So we spoke to the event coordinator and provided posters and books. But unfortunately I wasn't able to travel out there for the event and I didn't think of the DVD and other ideas.

Powell's staff is extremely friendly and I'm happy to learn they took good care of my boys out there. We'll do this again, guys - though I haven't received any submissions to RotB from any of you yet!

Howard von Darkmoor said...

Oh, and guys? I would have been on your side of the table, looking at Michael and Nathan as founts of knowledge and experience too! ;)

Jeff Draper said...

As we said, the staff at Powell's were very nice but I was expecting a touch more hype from them. I entered through the mall side of the store and I saw no posted announcement by the door. I also thought they might make some kind of call over the PA system in the store and out in the mall.

Howard von Darkmoor said...

Jeff, did you see Kelly's posters anywhere? She made 4 of them and offered to mail them as many as they wanted. Allen mailed her area newspapers, too, and she was going to run ads, but I don't know if that was done or not.