To participate in this week’s “Coffee Share” click on this link and visit Eclectic Ali for the details.
If we were having coffee together this weekend, I’d probably tell you about my book signing gig today. It was the kind of book signing that every author hopes he never experiences even once in his whole career. Not only did no one ask me to sign a book, but no one even wanted to buy a book. In fact, only two people even went so far as to pick up any books to look at them closer.
Yep, as sad as I am about it – and as embarrassed as I am to admit it – that’s the truth. My last book signing was pretty successful. I had a good time with people taking real interest in the books and asking intelligent questions – and most importantly – buying books and asking me to inscribe and sign them.
So why was this event such a failure? Well, as all authors know, we have good times and not-so-good times when it comes to book sales, but there are some specific circumstances that can lead more to one result or another. I was talking with my sister after the sad experience today, and she reminded me that the event took place in a county of our state that is known for its illiteracy, poor educational system, poverty, heavy drug use, heavy crime, witchcraft, and financial and political corruption. What does that fact mean in terms of selling books? Well, to begin with, the majority of people in that county are not interested in reading books much, period. But even when they do want to read, they are not looking for books with Christian-based themes and the propagation of the Gospel. Those two facts gave me an automatic two strikes against me before I even set up my table.
“So,” you ask, “why did you even participate in that event?” Well, my answer is two-fold. One: I’m an author who believes I’ve written books that will help people and make their lives better in a few different ways, and I naturally want to sell those books. So any possible market is worth at least considering. Two: I believe everybody, no matter what their culture or past experiences, should be given opportunities to choose to step out of what is negative and into something positive. I just believe that, given the opportunity, many people who live in a negative culture want to change that experience and will take advantage of such possibilities as reading good books in order to do so. I’ve been proven right about that theory in the past, and even though no one stepped up to make any of those choices today, I still believe there are people out there who do and will in the future.
So am I sorry I took part in the event – that I paid money for my place in the vendor’s fair that hosted us – that I spent hours getting all my materials together, traveling to the event, setting up everything, and then taking it all down and hauling it back home? No, I’m not. It was an experience that will have its own rewards for me it its own ways. However, when the coordinator of the event asked if I would come back to do another similar event before Christmas, I said no. I have to be a good steward of my time, my energy, and my finances, and when the evidence is staring me in the face as it did today, I’m smart enough to recognize that one of the lessons learned today is that this particular venue is not good stewardship.
Now, on the other hand, while we were sharing over coffee, I would also tell you about how I received shipment today of my first big order of the HOLLY JOLLY HOLIDAY PLANNING JOURNALS. I love these journals, and I’m so glad I decided to create them this year.
Moreover, half of this first batch is already spoken for, and that’s a pretty happy situation for an author and book creator to be in. With only half of this batch left in stock, I have to order more for the next book event that I’m participating in – in a totally different county, by the way, with a much more educated and literature-conscious culture. It takes place in a couple weeks, and by then I will have licked all my emotional and financial wounds from today, and I’ll have a great time interacting with potential readers at that event.
So — you win some, you lose some. As authors, we know that’s how life goes. It’s like the old song says — with a little paraphrasing from me:
You’ve got to give a little, take a little …
You’ve got to laugh a little, cry a little …
You’ve got to win a little, lose a little …
That’s the story of – that’s the glory of – being an author.
Lyrics taken from “The Glory of Love,” written by Billy Hill