Book-Signing: Let Go of Expectations


Two months ago, when Plus It! had just been released, I met with the customer relations manager at the local Barnes and Noble bookstore.

Does your store like to support local authors? I asked.

Yes! And Naomi, the CR manager, was enthusiastic when I showed her a copy of my book and when she found out the B&N distributor carried it. Especially she liked that the price was under $10.

She suggested we do a book-signing on a Saturday in July when lots of parents were likely to be in the store. I was delighted. I told my Facebook friends about it.

Then Naomi and I had a flurry of emails to confirm details: the store would list my book-signing in their monthly printed calendar that goes out to customers, and they’d put posters with a picture of my book cover around the store. I sent her a .jpg of the cover. She encouraged me to invite my local friends.

For six weeks after that I didn’t hear from her, which was fine. But last week I emailed her again to confirm. No response.

Yesterday I thought a personal visit to the store would be smart—just to check on arrangements. I took my camera, intending to take a picture of the poster with the Plus It! cover against the background of the book shelves. That would be a great pix to post on this blog.

I walked into the store and looked around. No posters anywhere. Okay. I’ll let go of that image in my head, I thought, and I’ll just speak with her.

You probably guessed what happened: “Naomi is no longer with us,” another manager told me. “We’re very understaffed.”

Still, they’re honoring their commitment. No, there wouldn’t be publicity (“Our printed calendars for July still haven’t arrived at the store, though they’re a week late”).

But they will have a table set up for me near the children’s books section. I won’t need to give a presentation, which is a relief, but there will be a place for me to sit and a stack of my books.

The new manager—a woman who’s most likely had customer relations added to her already heavy workload—suggested gently that I be sure to circulate and engage people in conversation.

Some authors, she said, just sit behind the table and expect people to come to them. That doesn’t work to sell books.

“And what we want is to sell your book!” she said.

That’s what I want, too.

So my intention next Saturday at 1:30pm at The Shoppes in Chino HIlls, CA, is to move beyond shyness with grace, enthusiasm, and tact. I’ll do my best to engage people as they flow among the bookshelves.

Take a deep breath. What an opportunity for personal growth and for letting go of expectations this is. It’s good for me. Cheers!

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