It was wonderful seeing so many friends and a whole bunch of people I hadn’t connected with in a while. My heart was overflowing with the love and support that came my way for those 3 hours. It was hosted at Kristin’s Bistro and Bakery in downtown Keene on one of the most beautiful Autumn days we’ve had so far. You all know I lovelovelove the Fall and New England is without doubt the best place to be on the planet during the time of year. While I was able to visit with friends – new and old – Marsha (Kristin’s lovely mom) kept the chocolate chip and cranberry scones and cider coming and I swear I gained 5 pounds just from inhaling the delicious aromas wafting through the establishment.
Sales were amazeballs, but aside from that, it was wonderful the amount of people who came out to support a local writer. After the radio interview I did on WKBK with Dan Mitchell on Thursday, I really did hope I’d get a good turnout, and I did. Never let anyone ever discount the power of the radio or word of mouth. It works.
So what did I learn from my first official signing I can take with me for the next one?
First and foremost, don’t be so nervous! I woke up that morning with a pain in my stomach like I was in labor again. I couldn’t eat, my hands were shaking and all I could feel was a sense of doom – no one would show up, or people would and would laugh at me. Why? I have no idea, but it was running through my head the whole time. When I saw the first few people who came in were dear friends I hadn’t seen in a while, I started to feel a little less nauseous. The gig started at 11 and by 11:30 I was able to breathe again normally.
Second, thank everyone, even those people who just stop and take a free scone and don’t buy a book! Manners matter and the perception of how you conduct yourself, even with people who aren’t fans, is important.
Third, be gracious. I heard from several woman this phrase, “I’m so proud of you!” I kept thinking, “Why? I haven’t cured cancer or done anything noble.” The declaration was usually followed by another statement like this: “You took something you had a passion for and made it happen. Not many women take a chance like that.” This surprised me because most of the gals saying it, I consider movers and shakers and risk takers.
Fourth, have food and drink available for your guests. The scones were – no surprise – a big hit, but I heard so many people say how nice it was to have apple cider on a Fall day. Thank you again, Marsha, for your foresight!
Fifth, make sure you have all your media stuff like bookmarks, postcards, business cards, available. A few people came in to Kristin’s just to get their daily baked goods, coffee, et al. They weren’t there to see me ( silly fools!),but several did stop and listen to me talk to someone I was signing for, then took a few business cards, or post cards with them, so perhaps they’ll get home and look me up on one of my media sites, and decide to give one of my books a try. ‘Nuff said.
Last, learn that it’s okay to promote yourself. I truly do not like talking about myself. It makes me feel…conceited somehow. But if I’ve learned anything these past 6 months, it’s that as a writer in this present time, you need to self promote as much as you can. How you do it -graciously and without being obnoxious – is as important as the need to do it. Writing is a crowded society right now. To stand out you have to write something good and be willing to put yourself out there to sell it.
All in all it was a wonderful day. Next one is the New Jersey chapter of RWA conference in October, where – Yippie – I’ll be signing again. Hopefully, my nerves will be much less then. We’ll see….