I had a book signing in Denver on December 1 while my wife and I were down from Alberta, Canada, visiting our two daughters and their families who live there. My two daughters were my “campaign managers,” and they sent out invitations to their friends to attend. I arrived a little early and set up and began trying to do some “cold sales,” that is presenting my books to people in the store who didn’t know me or my book. I had no success. But then my daughter’s friends began to arrive and the sales went well. We sold all the copies in the store and then spent the evening running around Denver, buying up additional copies to satisfy the demand. We were grateful for the support.
But the experience gave me pause. Had I gone to a store without any advance preparation or publicity, it would not have been a successful venture. Because I’m not a JK Rowling or a Stephanie Meyer, I cannot rely on mass interest and support. I attended a Stephanie Meyer book signing in Denver a couple of years back, and it was like going to a rock concert. Hundreds of screaming teenage girls queued up to get their books signed. My book signing experience was not like that! But things picked up immeasurably when my daughters’ friends began arriving. That’s why careful planning and advance publicity are so important. It’s no fun sitting at a table where store customers go out of their way to avoid you so they don’t get “drawn into” a discussion with an author they don’t know and a book they aren’t particularly interested in reading at the moment.
What made the signing special for me was that my grandchildren who live in Denver donned their “Grandpa’s Book Buddy” T-shirts and walked around the store to help promote the event. I sure appreciated their love and support.
The fun part about being in a parade is that you get to see the spectators. The only drawback is that you miss the parade. But this year was definitely worth missing the other entries because Marsha and I participated with “Grandpa’s Book Buddies,” our ten grandchildren!
Our float (promoting The Anniversary Waltz) may have been small in comparison to the professional commercial ones, but it was big in the excitement it generated in our family. We worked for hours to decorate it. But nothing prepared me for the thrill of driving the parade route with our ten grandchildren aboard and laughing as they picked up candy by the handful and shouted to the crowd, “If you want some candy, make some noise!” Surprisingly, it was the adults who cheered the loudest!
After the parade, I held a book signing, and it turned out to be my most successful one to date. I was deeply touched by the show of hometown support.
I am a schoolteacher by profession and a writer at heart. I have always loved to write, be it stories, poems, songs, or novels.