I promote the shit out of my book. Online. Via mailings. In person. And for the most part, I really enjoy this part of the job. It's fun to interact with people and share my enthusiasm...or dementia (you say potato, I say...)
So far, I haven't found a promotional method I didn't feel comfortable with. Until this past Sunday, that is.
A few months back, I got this really flattering request from a local Barnes and Noble to do an in-store signing appearance. Their sales of Happy Hour had been brisk and consistent and they were confident it would be an awesome opportunity. I didn't need to be talked into it, I would have come no matter what.
I figured, I'd go sit around chat with some folks sign a few books that the store could then sell. No big deal. When I got there though, there were 20 books sitting on the signing table, so I felt some pressure going in. Not to mention the fact that I was regaled with tales of a previous author sticking around and handselling his massive hardback western to tons of people. I was pretty sure this was a standard pep talk kind of thing. Like an urban legend.
Until I'd taken my seat and watched the customers as they marched in. Can I just say, NOT my demographic. They were primarily teenage girls buying their 10th copy of Twilight and middle aged men hunting for Car and Driver or the latest Baseball bio. Zombie bitches was not just a hard sell in this crowd it was an impossibility.
Second, I noticed that none of these people would give me even a blink of eye contact. I felt like a door to door salesman. Sad. The four people--count 'em: 4--that actually were interested enough in the cover to come over and chat, bought.
Four in nearly three hours.
I wondered if it was a timing issue. Is there a better time for buying urban fantasy with a potty-mouthed protagonist than right after church? When do you go to bookstores? I go on Friday nights sometimes.
Was it the weather? It was sunny. Do people buy cannibal comedy instead of attending picnics?
Was it me? I'd bathed an everything.
Whatever it was, the in-store was uncomfortable and kind of unproductive (though the staff was great and really receptive to the book--which one had read and another bought). I really prefer the "reading event" as a means to hawk my wares. I can reach into the aisles with a mic, but anchor me to a desk and I'm weak.