Yesterday, I had my very first book signing event. It wasn’t held at a cozy bookstore, surrounded by hipsters, sipping wine and talking about the Beats, open mic and pot legalization. Nope. Instead, I was tucked away in a cozy corner at the Sweetheart Local craft bazaar, surrounded by direct merchants, crafty types and a few hippies who create with hemp, recycled yarn and crystals.
It was AWESOME.
I was with my tribe. The artists, the empowered, and the women of business. Everywhere I looked there was a woman at a table, selling her wares, and believing in herself, her product and her future. I settled into my corner with my hippie neighbors, one of which seemed decidedly annoyed that she was next to an erotica writer. She placed a crystal on the edge of her table to block my energies from invading her space. As a secret hippie, I knew what she was doing and let out a snort.
My boyfriend came with me to watch the table. He actually volunteered to be my book signing buddy as he can lift heavy things and watch the table for me while I networked. I was very surprised by this as normally events like these would prompt him to chew off his own arm, but he wanted to help keep me company. Since I have to pee every 20 seconds due to my coffee addiction and I have a wimpy left arm, I said YES.
I honestly thought he would like the time alone. I drove him and all my Facebook friends nuts in the days leading up to the event. As a first-time INDIE author, I was a wreck. I couldn’t sleep. My stomach turned. I had visions of people mocking me or burning my book in front of me as a protest of either the blight of content or the fact that (gasp) there’s a same-sex hookup. I whined constantly about my fears. Brian patiently let me babble and reminded me that my book IS worth a read.
“Calm down, Francis,” he said as he would pat me on the head.
I read about how to do a book signing online and meticulously prepared for the event. I did my table strike at home. I put together my cards and my cross-marketing materials. I ordered books. I even bought special purple pens. I was ready.
Sort of. I wasn’t ready mentally.
That morning I got up early as part of my marketing is pin-up and I had a complicated hair-do to pull off. As I dressed and primped, I fretted. My mind raced. This may come across as my being slightly unhinged, but so be it. I decided to make a mental switch. I embraced my pen name as a different persona. Confident, sexy, witty, clever CAT.
To be honest, I had planned on doing this. I bought some special perfume and eyeliner just for the occasion. I manifested my second self, reaffirming my confidence and by the time we pulled into the parking lot, I was fully-engaged. The author is here.
Since the planners had failed to promote the event, I decided to network. I worked the floor like a pro. I had my cards in hand and chatted with one vendor and another. I exchanged cards and as a result, I sold four books and had many others interested in finding the Kindle online.
Signing my first book was something that I will never forget. The purchaser stood there, praising my book and encouraging me to continue. They said they would treasure the book forever as they were confident I would be famous some day.
Another purchaser put my book on her Facebook and bragged about it. I received emails from other vendors stating that they were going to get the book as well. It worked. Instead of hiding at my table, I went out and told people about the book. I had mixed reactions, but I didn’t let it stop me. I was Cat Ravenelle, author. ME-OW!
By the end of the day, all I wanted was pizza and beer. We ended up at Denver Deep Dish and had an Old Style with some Chicago style pizza and chatted with the owner who is a new friend. Then I received the best compliment I had all day.
One of the managers came up to thank me for the review I did in the paper about Denver Deep Dish. She told me that my article prompted several new customers. I thought I was hearing things, so I had her repeat it. Winds up, my article brought them new business and the day after I was published, a man was waiting outside at opening. He read the article and couldn’t wait to try the pizza. Dozens of people read the article and told her that’s how they found them. I looked at my tab and saw my first round was comped. I felt like a rock star.
Brian and I went home and I had a feeling of belonging and satisfaction that I haven’t felt in years. My words have meaning. I can make a difference. I can arouse and ignite. I created new business. I make people happy.
My first book event is down and many more to come. If you are a new author, here is some advice for you.
1. Stop freaking out.
2. Pack a lunch
3. Don’t be like me and leave the lunch at home
4. Your work is valid. You are valid.
5. See number one.
Get your copy of Libertine Awakenings at http://www.tinyurl.com/k4mty2o
Got a book club? Ask me about Filth and Booze. firstname.lastname@example.org