Yesterday I had my second signing at a Barnes & Noble here in Northern Virginia. I have been trying to get them to let me have one at a local branch but the district manager won’t return my emails. A writer friend was able to get three other branches in the area to hold multi-authors signings and I managed to snag two of those.
The first one was kind of a sleepy event. Not many people visiting the gigantic store but somehow we all managed to sell books and interact with many people. The second one was held in a wealthier part of Northern Virginia and the place was teeming with humans. The four of us got pretty excited. If we had a good turnout in a sleepy branch, here we should make a killing, so to speak.
Here’s how it really went:
- Several kids came to ask for our candy.
- Several people refused to accept free swag.
- One very nice aspiring author asked us for some guidance in the publishing world.
- An older lady came and asked each of us if we used the F-word in our books (I use it very sparingly and only because it was pointed out to me that my characters are too proper, lol). Once she found out that pretty much all of us did in one way or another, she asked us why did you use such an offensive word. She didn’t buy anything.
- When I offered them my FREE postcards, they almost always took the one advertising an event I’ll be participating in but which holds absolutely no information about me or my books.
- A very kind older man came to talk to us and had us all laughing with his jokes. He didn’t buy anything but thanked us for all the work we do (he used to work for one of the Big Five)
- Lots of people entered the raffle to win books from all of us, but most of them didn’t buy anything.
- We heard a lot of, “I don’t read romance” (totally understandable. It’s not for everybody, of course).
- People thought we were the information desk and came to ask us about items in the store.
- We left the event with about $6 each for one book sold from each one of us.
- I sold a M/M paranormal romance book to a lady who told me she didn’t read romance at all.
Moral of the story: don’t judge an event by how posh the neighborhood is. Buying power and romance doesn’t always jive, apparently.