I had my first Haunts Haven book signing last week and it was so fun. Since my story is an LDS yarn, the by-line being an LDS Ghost Story, my novel is sold only in LDS bookstores, and since Haunts Haven is published by an independent publisher, my signings are in independent LDS bookstores.
The marketing person for Walnut Spring Press and Leatherwood Press, Amy Orton, arranged for me to sign at Beehive Books and More in Edgewood, Washington. Because of my schedule, it had to be on Thursday at noon. Strange time, I know.
She advised beforehand that bookstores are leery of book signings unless the author could guarantee a good turnout, so the president of my fan club (hubby) and I sent email invites to everyone we knew in the Seattle area, and posted an invite on ANWA Bulletin and FaceBook. As it turned out, “O” came from our efforts and I had to rely on the usual walk-in, Thursday noon traffic.
Beehive Books is an adorable shop that not only carries books and LDS supplies, but also missionary and scout clothing, and all kinds of extras. The owner and staff gave me a warm welcome and set me up in a cozy area with a loveseat and fireplace. After a few minutes relaxing on the couch, I decided it was best not to sit and hope people came to me. When each customer walked through the door, I took a book and a Ding Dong and approached them.
“May I introduce you to my novel?” I’d ask. The trapped customer always nodded yes. “Haunts Haven, an LDS ghost story is about a girl who inherits an inn that has been boarded up for 50 years, and when she moves in, she discovers she has also inherited a real ghost. The story tells how she deals with him. She is also addicted to Ding Dongs.” That’s when I’d hand over the Ding Dong bearing a cleaver ghost sticker. Inevitably, the person’s eyes lit up.
Out of the 15 women I spoke with in those short two hours, 8 bought Haunts Haven. (There were half as many men who came in, but when I tried to tell any about the book, their eyes glossed over.) I learned you can’t predict if a person will buy your book only by their appearance. Some I thought would not want to read Haunts Haven, were the most enthusiastic.
Thinking Ding Dongs could sell books, I visited the local LDS bookstore in my hometown, fully armed. With permission, I began giving my spiel to customers about Haunts Heaven. They listened politely, took the Ding Dong and said they’d keep my book in mind, but nobody carriedHaunts Haven enthusiastically up to the cashier. So what’s the diff? Do we have LDS bookstores so close that good products are always available and there is no expediency to purchase? Was it that I wasn’t an official guest of the store, so there wasn’t a luminary spirit?
Book signings and figuring out how to sell books is still kind of spoooky.