Attended at the Chapters store in Oakville on Saturday (April 23) for a signing event. For the first time, I actually had people lining up to meet me. I sold 7 books in the first 30 minutes. People were lovely and treated me with great interest and respect. Of course, I had a couple of rude people who gave me a dirty look or said something snoddy as they passed my table.
All in all it was a lovely time. I had some really great chats and I was open and honest which seemed to sell more books. It’s definitely a bonus having 5 books of different genres for sale. Usually, if someone showed interest, they found one to buy.
It was also a very pleasant store. Staff were friendly. Laura, the manager who was in charge of me, was friendly and efficient. She had everything ready for me and checked on me several times throughout the day.
I’m sure you’re all wondering how many I sold. Well I sold 13 books and made $143. That money goes to paying off what I paid to buy the books. Since I self-publish, I have to pay for my own copies. Each book costs about $4 and with shipping another $3. So each book cost me $7 and I sell them for $20. The bookstore takes 45% so I make $11 a book or a $4 profit. Not bad eh?
I’m very lucky to have my best friend and next door neighbour drive me to all my signings. I love to drive around town but I’m terrified to drive on the highway. Just can’t do it. When I told that to Miriam, she offered to drive. Now, its become a bit of a tradition and something we can do together. These Chapters stores are usually in big store centres with lots of great places to shop. While I’m selling, Miriam goes shopping. She loves to shop and always has a few bags of stuff when we get home.
Miriam has been driving me in her car and I would pay her gas. Then she mentioned Friday that her airconditioning unit was broken and she worried the day would be hot and she can’t stand the heat. So she asked if we could take my car. I’m like duh and hit my hand on my forehead. Of course we should be taking my car. Miriam is an excellent driver and my car is easy to drive so of course we should be taking my car. I fill up the car when I want so no worries about gas. Also I should be putting the wear and tear on my car not hers.
We both couldn’t believe how well everything worked by taking my car. Now I can leave my books in the car and not have to leave them in the house. This is much easier for me. I’m so happy.
My next signing is not until Saturday, May 14th at the Erin Mills Power Centre and am looking forward to it.
What are your signing experiences?
After my last blog, I received numerous questions about book signings. Here are 9 steps to hosting a successful signing.
Number 1: All you have to do to obtain a signing event is to call the bookstore. Ask for the person in charge of consignment and events. Usually, it’s pretty easy to find that person and get them on the phone. You’ll express an interest in holding a signing at their store. The person will ask you to send her an email about your books with available dates.
Number 2: As soon as you get off the phone, write a good email. State your purpose: Further to our telephone conversation this afternoon, I’m writing to request a signing event at your store. I enjoy shopping there and I think it would be a great place to sell my books.
Signings are usually held on Saturdays from 1 to 4 pm.
Describe your novels adding any reviews. Attach book covers. After which say you are looking forward to attending at their store.
Number 3: Using their form, fill in your information, their information and list of your books with the ISBN numbers. Send this to them with your introductory email as well as in an email on the Monday before your signing. They will appreciate your efficiency.
If you can, have all the books cost the same price. This will make it easier for them to create the stickers.
Number 4: Write a reminder email on the Monday before the event. Send the Book Contract to them again.
Number 5: Arrive to the signing at least 10 minutes early. Enter the store and ask for the proper person. He/she will arrive promptly and provide you with a table, chair, bookstands and bar code stickers to place on your books.
One word of advice: bring a pillow. Some of those chairs are rather hard and sitting there for 3 hours without a pillow will cause a sore butt.
Next, arrange your books on the table, get yourself settled and look for that line to induce people to approach you. I say, "Can I interest you in a novel?" Then I ask, "What do you like to read?"
You can say anything to entice them over but don’t talk money. Get them interested in what you have written.
Number 6: Bring at least 10 copies of each book. If you have bookmarks or business cards, bring them to hand out to people.
P.S. If you can go with someone, that will help. My best friend drives me to all my signings. She helps me set up, gets me a coffee, comes around to look after my books when I need the washroom, and she drives me home (we are next door neighbours). I’m pretty tired after selling myself for 3 hours so I’m thrilled to be able to just sit back and relax and let her deal with the traffic.
Number 7: As soon as you can after the signing, prepare an Invoice stating their address, your address, the date of the signing, and the date of the invoice. Then write how many books were sold and at what price with whatever percentage the bookstore takes on each book and then the total amount sold.
It looks like this: Items sold: 9 books at $20 each at 55% (the store takes 45%) = $11.00. Amount owed: $99.00
Number 8: As soon as you can, write a thank you email and include the invoice.
Number 9: Send a thank you card through snailmail thanking them for hosting your signing and their assistance. This is always a nice gesture and would help achieve further signings at their store.
Hope this answers your questions but, if it doesn’t, please leave a comment and let me know.
On Saturday, April 9th, I began my signing season. For the next couple of months, I hold signings at various bookstores between here and Toronto. I do this every spring and fall. I don’t do signings in the winter because the weather is too unpredictable or in July and August because bookstores aren’t as busy.
Now that I have 5 novels to sell, I wondered if that would help sales. I have been doing signings for two years now. The first year I just sold Locker Rooms and Shall We Chat? No one was interested in my chat book but sold a few of Locker Rooms.
The second year, I included That Truthful Place and A Discerning Heart. I sold more of the kids book than the other. But having a bigger selection was better. Some people bought two books.
This year, I have added Devouring Time and The Perfect Hand. I found I received more respect from people when they asked, "Did you write all these?" People were also impressed with the range of my novels, such a variety of choices.
My first signing was held at the Indigo Burlington from 1 to 4 pm. The store was busy with lulls at times. Quite a number of people were interested in my books but a few said they don’t read fiction or they have a pile of books to read.
The only thing I dislike hearing is: "I’ll be right back." Lots of people say they just want to brose a bit more and then they will return. They never return. I wish they would just say, "Not interested," instead of giving me hope that they will return.
But I was very lucky Saturday and I sold 9 books making me a profit of $99. (The store receives 45% of the book value.) I was so happy. People responded well and it’s definitely a bonus to offer 5 different novels. Some lovely people bought a book just to support a local author. I love it when people do that. I appreciate it so much.
My next signing is on Saturday, April 23rd, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Oakville Chapters, 240 Leighhand, Unit 244, Oakville, Ontario. I hope anyone in the area will come out and say hello.
When someone says, "No," do you accept it? I never have. No to me just means try harder. Just because I’m told no, I don’t give up.
For example, I had been accepted at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and hoped to start my school year in January. I don’t remember why but I was late and classes had started.
I had a meeting with the dean of the English department. He said, "No, you’re too late. You have to wait until September to begin your studies."
I was furious. I wasn’t going to wait 7 months to start school. So, I picked 6 courses being offered. I introduced myself to all 6 professors and told them my problem. I asked if I could join their classes albeit late. I received a note from 4 agreeing to my request. One class was closed and another was studying Beowulf in the original and that didn’t interest me.
I returned to the dean with my 4 notes. He had no choice but to allow me to begin my school year.
Two years later, I was in Israel learning Hebrew on a kibbutz. Half the day, a group of us studied and the other half we worked on the kibbutz. My favourite job was working in the apple orchard. I loved the trees and the fruit I ate even in their infancy.
Two crotchety old men worked in the orchard. Both had survived a difficult past but found peace on the kibbutz. I loved those men and asked to be permanently stationed in their orchards. Both men believed that I couldn’t handle the work and said, "No."
My response was, "Give me a chance. Give me any job and I’ll prove to you that I can keep up."
For the next week, I had every difficult job. I had to weed the base of every tree, I set up the rows and rows of irrigation hoses and even checked each tree for disease. Those jobs took hours and were back-breaking.
But at the end of the week, the old men gave me brilliant smiles and accepted me. We became good friends and I have many happy memories of working with them. They strongly followed the beliefs of the kibbutz and taught me well. It was inspiring.
So don’t tell me, no. I will just take it as a challenge.