How to Make the Best of a Bad Book Signing

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The image above was my vantage point for much of Saturday afternoon, as Hollis Seamon and I sat in comfortable wicker chairs at the front of the Open Door Bookstore, chatting and listening to Christmas music on the store’s radio.

It was a disgusting Northeast kind of day, with sleet in the morning and then a cold steel rain until that night. Perfect for a miserable book signing.

Fortunately, I brought my eldest daughter, Grace, with me to this event. Here we are pre-signing grabbing some pizza.

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She adored Open Door, because she’s a reader and their Children’s and Middle Grade sections are phenomenal. Also, because they have this fantastic play area, which she had all to herself.

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But as far as the signing, it was as I thought it would be when I woke up and saw the horrible weather: sparsely attended. In spite of excellent promotion, I’ve had a couple of lightly attended signings so far with Press Play, and I’ve had plenty of others with my previous books. This isn’t something I’m supposed to say. I’m supposed to tell all of you about how amazing all of my events are, as if I possess some magnetic power that draws in readers far and wide. That’s just not the case.

I understand people have lives, are incredibly busy this time of year, and simply have better things to do. I understand, as much as it stings. This is the business.

Saturday, however, was not a total loss. Grace had an absolute blast. She walked away with a toy recorder and a Smencil (waffle cone).

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More importantly, she walked away seeing the fact that whether people bought books or not, I sat and chatted with them about writing, about books, about life. I’m not good at a hard sell, so I never press people, who I can tell are uninclined. I listen. We hang out. And really, there are a lot of worse ways to spend your time on a cold, December afternoon, than with your daughter, and in the company of good people.

So thank you, Open Door, and Hollis, and all who did come out. Possibly next year we will have better success. But even if we don’t, I know a good pizza place 🙂

No Calm Before the Storm

Tap Out releases in twenty nine days. My world may flip on its head. Or not. I have no idea. And that fact scares me.

I’ve been doing well, keeping my emotions at bay. I’ve kept busy this summer, vacationing and writing and working on my local markets for promotions and signings. But now that I’m a month out, I feel as if I’ve run out of time.

I’m misinformed and I’m well informed, all depending on which topic of the publishing industry is being addressed. Examples: I had no idea how important the first two weeks of sales are until two days ago. I also didn’t know pre-orders don’t always work in your favor, depending on when the books are shipped to the distributor.

I did know to set up both newspaper and television interviews, as well as three signings. I have additional plans, but are they enough? Probably not.

There’s always more that could be done, and I’m sure there’s always more that should be done. Up until now it has always been about the writing. That is literally all I have ever cared about. Now, it’s so much more. It’s business, a word in this age that has a multitude of meanings, because everyone is vying for attention, and trying to figure out how. I have no fear of hard work, but misapplied labor, fruitless endeavors and missed opportunities unsettle me to no end.

So I’m not calm. Far from it.

September will arrive, and with it a return to school and work and schedules. Amidst that chaos, Tap Out will emerge. Somehow this is fitting for a novel that is about a world of struggle, born out of my own desire to be where I am.

My wife asked the other day if I am happy now that the realization of this hard work is almost here. I had to be honest. I said, “No, I’m nervous.”

The joy is in the writing. And I believe that will be amplified by the reaction of those who read and respond positively. But until then, I’m on tenterhooks. Come see me on them at any of the dates and events below:

 

Tap Out will be available on 9/11 via all major online retailers and through my publisher, Running Press. It will also be available locally at The Book House in Albany, Market Block Books in Troy, The Open Door Book Store in Schenectady, and Barnes and Noble in Colonie.

9/25: signing at the Clifton Park library from 7-9 pm (books will be available for purchase)

9/29: signing at The Book House from 3-4 pm (books will be available for purchase)

10/6: release party/signing at Legion Training Center: 1208 Rt 146, Clifton Park (next door to Northern Lights) from 2-4 pm (books will be available for purchase and there will be discounts available on MMA merchandise and various training packages–for all ages)

The first two chapters of Tap Out can be found included in the free online download: Buzz Books 2012