I had a lovely book signing at Godspace, the Catholic bookstore in Thousand Oaks. I sold more books than I had in a long time.
What did I do different? Not a single thing. In fact, I only had three days' notice. I have to credit the store owner, Claudia Satori.
First, it was her grand opening, so that was a draw. People attended who were loyal to the store, friends of hers, or who came in for the other deals and the free cider and cupcakes.
Second, another local author, Greg Stone, was there signing his new book, Taming the Wolf, which our local Franciscan priest, Father Joe, helped write. Thus, there was an additional draw of readers coming for his books. His is a nonfiction on conflict-resolution, but some folks did check out my table as well.
Third, she gave me a lovely little table outside the door. That way, I caught the foot traffic that might not otherwise have come into the store. Since my books have readership in the secular world as much or more than the non-Catholic, I was able to stop people and talk them up. Also outside was the Christmas caroler who was selling his kereoke CDs, so we did a lot of singing.
Fourth, she TOLD HER CUSTOMERS ABOUT MY BOOKS! I'd dropped off some copies for her a few weeks ago, and she'd read and loved them, and she let people know. I sold four in the first half hour because she told one reader, "You will not believe what Karina writes! Catholic sci-fi." Turned out her customer was a big SF fan.
Fifth, she asked Greg and me to give a presentation about our books. He gave an interesting presentation on the levels of conflict resolution, while I read from Infinite Space, Infinite God and Magic, Mensa and Mayhem. I got a couple of purchases and some nice compliments.
It goes to show that sometimes, the bookstore's efforts can make just as much an impact on the success of your sales as you can. What can you do to help that?
--Leave the owner a copy of your book.
--Give them materials and suggestions for advertising
--Suggest a location. If it's a small store in a mall, you might suggest begin put outside.
--Get some info about their event so you can draw people in, too. (I would let folks passing by know it was the grand opening and everything was on sale so it was a great time for early Christmas shopping.)
--Try to go in with other authors. Several authors doing a signing will draw more attendees.
--Offer to do a reading or small lecture.
I wish I'd known about the grand opening sooner--I had four day's notice; three, because I had to check with Rob on his schedule--because I could have added my advertising to hers. She runs a terrific store, with as many books as gifts, and a huge children's book section. If you live in the Thousand Oaks, CA, area, I'd suggest checking it out, or look at her website for more info.
Thanks, Claudia and the members of Godspace!