Thursday, May 22, 2008

BOOK SIGNINGS ARE NOT ABOUT SIGNING BOOKS

by Lyman Rose

Well, at least for me they are not.  I am anything but a famous author so there are never long lines waiting for me when I go to a book signing.  (Once there were three people waiting but I think they were confused.)  I am one of those authors that goes to a book signing and tries to engage people passing by in some kind of conversation that will lead to the subject matter of one of my books.  I try not to ever sit at the table (unless I am actually signing a book).  I stand by the table and great people with questions like - "Do you know anyone who is getting ready for a mission?"  Most do, and I talk to them about "Dare to Prepare" or "The Lord Kneads You".  If they tell me no, I ask them if they know anyone who is dating age and try to lead them to "Pure and Chased".  If they still say no, I ask them if they know anyone who needs help getting out of debt or with their budgeting and try to lead them to "Winning the War Against Debt".  Usually I can engage them in some type of dialogue.

But, over the years I have found out that the real purpose for book signings is not to sell books. I probably average somewhere between 5 to 10 books sold during an event and that doesn't make economic sense.  If that event is in Provo, for example, (I live in Bountiful) it will cost me twice as much as I would make in royalties just to make the trip.  That doesn't account for the couple of hours spent at the sight and the couple of hours spent in driving.  If that is what I counted on, I would be making about seventy five cents and hour.  The real purpose of the book signing is to make sure that the management of the book store and the employees know about your book so they can recommend it to people who come in the door.  I spend most of my time telling the employees and managers about my book (when they are not busy) so that when someone comes in and asks for a book on dating, for example, they can direct them to mine.

Book writing for me has never been about the money (that's a good thing or I would be starving).  It is just enjoyable to try to do something that will have a positive effect on someone else.

Good luck on your next signing!

4 comments:

Rebecca Talley said...

Fantastic post. I love your book titles.

I haven't done a book signing yet--I don't even live in the state of Utah so travel is a big issue--but I'll remember your suggestions. Thank you.

Randal S. Chase said...

I've done a book signing, but was faced with the awful situation of the bookstore only having 7 books in stock for the day, and those were sold out in 30 minutes. For the next hour and a half I did essentially what you did--talk to people and try to enjoy the day. And I did enjoy the day.

I'm also impressed with your motivations. I can honestly say that money is not my motivation. I am most motivated by the thought that I might leave something of a legacy for my great-grandchildren. If they can read my testimony and be touched by it, then it was all worthwhile.

Abel Keogh said...

Great insight. I think your right, the relationships built with the store manager/employees is very important.

Emily Cushing said...

Great post--thanks for the tips.