Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Er . . . Um . . . Wanna Buy My Book?

I'm heading for the airport this afternoon for my trip to Utah for Women's Conference, so this is going to be a bloglet. I should have gotten a guest blogger for today, but did I think that far ahead? Of course not. Sigh.

I'll be doing a few book signings while I'm in Utah. Here's my schedule. Come visit me if you get a chance. Just look for the red-faced, nervous-looking person twiddling a bookmark into oblivion and babbling incoherent things like "It's, you know, a suspense story with, you know, scary things happening and stuff like that." Can you tell I'm a little nervous about the signings? Book promotion is not something that comes naturally to an introvert like me. I wish I had a personal publicist to accompany me on signings. The publicist would be charming, outgoing, gregarious, and have a marvelous ability to talk to anyone and relate to everyone. She would do all the chatting and promoting while I sat, content in my silent awkwardness, reading a Rob Wells novel. She would be so good at her work that people would swarm toward my table, and all I'd have to do is pick up a pen and say, "So is that Christy with a "C" or a "K"?

I know someone out there (Jeff) is thinking, "Get a grip, girl. You need to get out there and BE that outgoing publicist!" And I'm thinking, sure, all I need is a personality transplant.

So . . . how many authors out there thrive on doing face-to-face book promotion and how many of you get the promotional heebie-jeebies? And for those of you who started out in the latter camp but are now in the former, what's your secret?

Anyway . . . I've got to go put the laundry in the dryer, run some errands, make some phone calls, pack a suitcase . . .


At 4/30/2008 2:32 PM, Blogger Marcia Mickelson said...

They are so hard for me too. I hate just sitting there while everyone tries to look in the other direction. Good luck. I did have one really good experience a few months ago, but I still don't look forward to them

At 4/30/2008 2:51 PM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

Well I'm not yet published but I wish you luck and am sure I would be in the heebie jeebie category. I would be sitting there with a mphito under the table skirt, taking sips when no one was looking.har.

At 4/30/2008 3:13 PM, Blogger Sariah S. Wilson said...

It is the bane of my writerly existence. That and rewrites.

The best experience I had was in a Seagull where they weren't expecting me. The manager had forgotten to tell the staff I was coming. So I was able to set up right next to the door and honestly, didn't have very high expectations as it was in the middle of the day during the week.

The difference at this store was that one of the staff stood right by the door and after greeting the customer asked what they were looking for. I called out to said customer that if they were looking for a romance, they should come check out my books. Nine times out of ten they came over to the table to pick up the books and look at them, and I sold so many copies that day.

I keep telling my mom we should write a book together. She's the sort of extrovert/saleswoman who would have every customer circling her table, hanging on her every word and she'd be making everyone laugh. I could just sit quietly and sign whatever I needed to and be happy.

At 4/30/2008 4:42 PM, Blogger Matthew Buckley said...

I hate promoting my books! I despise it. Actually despise isn't even a strong enough word. Loathing doesn't come close either, I'd need to combine all three to even begin to get where I really feel. Hathingspise. Yeah, that's almost there.

I solved the problem by acknowledging the fact that I will never be able to do self promotion. At book signings I just tell people that my books and CDs are at the library, and they can check them out there to see if they like it. Interestingly enough, I don't invited back to do more book signings. Which is a good thing

Although one thing I have noticed...while I could never tell people, 'hey, I wrote a book, would you like to buy it?', I have been able to tell people, 'hey, I wrote a book, and I'm giving it away for free on my site.' So in my case, while I can't bring myself to sell something, I can bring myself to give something away.

Of course, I'll never get rich that way, but the way I see it, I'll never get rich the other way either, so there you have it.

At 5/01/2008 10:16 AM, Blogger Jewel's Gems said...

Jeff, no way are you an introvert. You're one of the funniest an outgoing guys I know:o)
You're signing will be great and your fans will come out in packs.
I have a lot of fun self-promoting. For some reason I can talk myself up better at signings than on my blog. Go figure:o)
Good luck!

At 5/01/2008 11:47 AM, Blogger Cheri J. Crane said...

Good luck, Stephanie. I hope you'll have a great time.

I've had many positive and several negative experiences with this type of thing. I think it helps when you can sign with other authors. At least that way you have someone to talk to. ;)

At 5/01/2008 3:58 PM, Blogger Nancy said...


Your book is wonderful and the cover is absolutely FANTASTIC. That helps a bunch. Also, it helps to sign with other people. Last night I signed at BYU for the Women's Conference and sat next to Jerry Borrowman. We'd never met but hit it off and had a really fun time talking and laughing. It's nice when you get a group of 3 or more people at your table, then the other customers think it's something cool and soon more congregate. So pay your friends to stand at your table. ;-)

Truly, you'll do fine. Sign your bookmarks if you're feeling fidgety. People like a signed bookmark, and if they're awkward about not wanting to buy your book, you can say, "Here! YOu can always use bookmarks," and give them one you've signed.

Ask customers where they're from, what kinds of books they like to read, how many kids they have, etc. Get them talking a bit about themselves and that helps break the ice a bit. I do not push my books on people. I hate it when people do that to me. Nor do I believe in approaching customers as they come within a 20 foot radius of me and shoving my books in their faces. Cannot, cannot do that. It would make me vommit, which wouldn't endear me to a potential buyer.

Smile, smile, make eye contact but don't stare people down if they're not looking like they want to stop and talk. Stand up and stretch, stand near the table, sit for a bit if you want, but remember you don't have to shove yourself so far outside of your comfort zone that it's counterproductive for you to even be there. You still have to be you.

Hugs, and good luck!
Nancy Allen

At 5/05/2008 5:13 AM, Blogger Stephanie Abney said...

Stephanie ~ (my name also)

I just finished "The Believer" yesterday and I am in ablsolute AWE ~ Wow!!! It was incredible. I loved it. Congratulations.

I'm sure your book signings will be great. (guess you're pretty much done by now). Wish I was in Utah so I could have come. I'm in Arizona and on Saturday I had lunch with JoAnn Arnold, her daughter-in-law and Mary Walker (a fan of LDS fiction) ~ we are all on LDS Forever Friends and I'm thinking I've even read a comment or two from you on that list as well. Anyway, it was wonderful being with them so when you ever get to Arizona... we'll have to get together as many friends and fans as we can (Marsha Ward, Kerry Blair, Janette Rallison, etc. ~ we're all in ANWA together) and we can crash your book signing and make everyone want to come to your crowded table and see what they are missing...

At any rate, I think you are truly a remarkable author. By the way, it may interest you to know that Tristi Pinkston spoke at our ANWA conference in March this year and named you as one of her favorite LDS authors. :)


At 5/05/2008 9:32 AM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Thank you for all the comments and encouragement! The signings went well. There were awkward moments, but I was able to meet some great people and I even sold a few books. And I totally agree about signing with another author. I was able to sign with Kerri Robinson at the BYU Bookstore and that was very fun.

Stephanie, I'm thrilled that you enjoyed The Believer! Thank you so much. I'd love to come to Arizona sometime!


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