Book signings have long been a promotional staple of an author’s life. Before the digital age, lucky authors traveled across the country or internationally to greet piles of books and enthusiastic lines of readers eager to meet their favorite writers and acquire an autograph.
I published my first book in those days and the subsequent book signings did not meet expectations. The publisher did not arrange the events; I did. The publisher did not cover any costs for travel or other expenses. Bookstores—not the publisher—notified local news media. I did manage to sell some copies, but mostly I sat at tables filled with books and perfected the art of being invisible as bookstore patrons pretended not to see me.
Decades later, the experience hasn’t changed all that much, except for the venue. For one thing, my hometown no longer has a “regular” bookstore (although we have a couple of used books bookstores).
In 2017, I dipped my toe into convention waters, first with a mid-size, 3-day event called CONglomeration held in Louisville, Kentucky. Attendance there hovered around 500 people, most of whom attended to participate in the gaming tournament. I had no idea what to expect, so that event served as my baseline. I sold five books, not nearly enough to cover my hotel, meal, and travel expenses. However, it served as a valuable learning experience. I attended GenCon in Indianapolis, Indiana which commands attendance exceeding 50,000 people and spoke to several of the authors selling their books. They reported decent sales, although stated the costs for participating as vendors at such a large convention were, in a word, prohibitive. Another excursion to Louisville for a book signing/selling event proved nothing but a waste of time and money.
This year, I decided to stay local to minimize those outgoing expenses. I participated in author events in Columbus, Springfield, and Dayton, Ohio. The Columbus event captured a small number of attendees. The Dayton event had over 100 authors and probably fewer than two dozen attendees. The two Springfield events varied widely, despite having comparable numbers of participating authors. One event was held in August, the other two weeks before Christmas.
The mad rush of Christmas shopping did not impact attendance; the lack of any holiday shopping did not affect attendance at the August event. What I learned is that timing doesn’t seem to matter, but location does. The one factor that apparently determines the success of an author event is that it be held where people already gather.
In short, if you want your author event to succeed, then it must be held where the people are.
Hen House Publishing hopes to repeat the success of the Springfield Book Fair on February 10. Again, the Winter Book Fair will be held at the same popular gathering place: Mother Stewart’s Brewing Company. The goal is to take advantage of the brewery’s popularity as well as to bring in additional customers for the brewery. Wish us luck.
Bear of the Midnight Sun
After a thousand years, immortal polar bear shifter Sindre finally finds his mate—on a talk show. In the city where anything goes, an impromptu wedding is just a taste of what’s to come. Startled into going through the ceremony, Miranda can’t stop the big, virile man from staking his claim on her and releasing her bear. Sindre can’t believe his good luck and will do anything to keep his mate at his side, up to and including taking marital advice from Atlas Leonidus. An independent woman with a successful career, Miranda melts at his touch and shuns his control, except she can’t control her bear.
And here’s the buy link: Bear of the Midnight Sun (Immortal Shifters Book 3).
About Holly Bargo
Holly Bargo is a pseudonym, but really did exist as a temperamental Appaloosa mare. The author still has horses—anybody looking for a wonderful pony? She lives on a hobby farm in southwest Ohio with her husband and menagerie of 4-legged critters. She and her husband have two sons, one graduating from university in 2019 and the other serving in the military. Holly writes primarily romance and fantasy, often blending the two. She has published over 20 books since 2014. She explains her prolific output by saying that if she doesn’t write, her mind will explode.