Saturday, July 08, 2006

Booksigning Karma

It doesn't look like the book is yet in Target. I checked the Target web site last night, and they don't have it listed. I guess they just placed the order last week. As often as I seem to be in Target, I'm sure I'll spot it when it gets there.

I went to Emily Giffin's booksigning last night, and it was a rather humbling experience. If I hadn't had the Target news, I might have ended up deeply depressed. For starters, you had to check in with the info desk and get a numbered ticket. You had to either have the book you wanted signed already with you, or you had to buy it up front. Then you had to tell the person at the info desk who you wanted it personalized to. She wrote that on a Post-it, then stuck that to the title page (which is actually a very clever idea, better than my "and how do you spell that?")

Once I had my book, I wandered through the fiction section on my way back to the events area, and there were no copies of my books to be found. I consoled myself by reminding myself of all the sales they'd be eventually losing to Target. There were about 30 people gathered there, almost all young women. They were right in the middle of the market I want to reach but don't seem to be reaching. It's probably a good thing I didn't find my books, or I might have been tempted to start waving them around while we waited for the event to start.

Emily did a short talk on the ideas behind the book, then took some questions from the audience. The very first person to ask a question asked something about the ending of the new book -- then seemed to realize midway through that she was giving away the ending of the new book. After the Q&A, they called us up to get in line to have our books signed in groups according to the numbers on our tickets. I was almost at the back of the line, so I did get to mention I'd see her at the RWA conference, and from there managed to get in who I was and didn't get an entirely blank look, which was nice. I'd also chatted with one of the booksellers while waiting in line, teasing her about the store not having my books. She said some authors get mad about that, then I shrugged and said I figured it was their loss because people would be buying it elsewhere. I was actually teasing, but now I worry that I sounded like a jerk because I have a kind of deadpan sense of humor, where I say stuff like that with a totally straight face, and the only way you can tell I'm joking is that I go overboard with the deadpan delivery -- like extreme deadpan.

I was browsing the front tables on my way out, and what do you know, I saw a whole stack of my book, right at the front of the store, so I took them to the info desk to sign them, and the bookseller there said it must be doing pretty well to still be out on the front table months after release. I then went back and told the other bookseller I'd been talking to that all was forgiven, since the book was right up front (though I think it might be a good idea to put at least one in alphabetical order in the fiction section). I joke about booksigning karma and how I go to other booksignings since I want people to come to mine, but this time I got a more immediate payoff.

I dream of one day having that many people show up to see me. I'm not sure about the numbered ticket thing, but a crowd would be nice. I also need to figure out ways to reach that young female audience. These were groups of girlfriends, some of them were law students -- kinds of people I seldom even see in bookstores when I'm there. I'll have to think.

But first I have a book to get written, and tomorrow's going to be a busy day, so I have to make up for it today.

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