this independent self-publisher's recap for book signings and sales on The Devil's Bastard for 2006






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Small Publishers Association of North America

Issue 12/2006



Closing the Year, A Recap of Book Signings and Store Sales for Loblolly Writer’s House

I am moving books any way that I can, and I’m giving a lot of books away. I knew going into this venture that is what I would need to do if I were to successfully market my books. I do not expect to make a profit on the first printing of The Devil’s Bastard, but I never did. I have already made income on it, and for the first year, for a new business, that pleases my accountant (more accurately known as the lady who does my taxes. She’s as close as I come to an accountant).

I’ve had three official book signings: Two at the Barnes and Noble in Gulfport and one at Lemuria in Jackson. I have a fourth signing scheduled on 10 February at the Barnes and Noble in Spanish Fort, Alabama (my first out of state gig).

At my first Barnes and Noble signing, I sold 19 books, at my second, 9. Both lasted two hours. Many sales were to complete strangers who walked by and saw me sitting at the front of the store. I hope I’m as fortunate in Alabama.

At Lemuria this month, I sold six books, all to friends and family. I was in the book-signing nook at the back of the store. The way Lemuria is set up, unless a buyer knew I was back there, he/she would not just stumble upon me. I talked to Joe Hickman about this after the signing, and I confessed that I probably should have waited until I was more famous (gotta think positive). He agreed, but didn’t seem to have a problem hosting the event. He did tell me that signings at Lemuria were almost as common as, well, books. His buyers thought nothing of an author sitting in that back nook (and I can continue his opening with: unless they know who you are they wouldn’t bother to venture back there). That was precisely the case with me. I sold to family and friends, but because I didn’t have that many family and friends in the Jackson area, I didn’t sell that many books. So, you’ll want to keep that in mind when signing at Lemuria—get everyone locked on to visit and buy your book that day. Also, keep in mind that Joe kept six copies of my books in the store. Heretofore, he’d only had one on the floor, and I don’t know if he’d have ever kept anymore if I hadn’t had the signing. Since getting my book in the store was what I really wanted when I first approached Lemuria way back in the spring, I consider my signing at Lemuria a resounding success.

On 4 December, the owner of Main Street Books in Hattiesburg invited me to participate in the bookstore’s annual Christmas signing. I only sold one book—to John Floyd—but the owner of Main Street Books, who had read my book and liked it, hence her invitation, feared I might not sell many books at that event. This is an annual event she started years ago for local authors (local meaning Hattiesburg) and though she now invites authors from farther away, buyers still tend to converge on the Hattiesburg authors. I wasn’t discouraged—she kept six books in the store, and I know that as of this date she’s sold two of those. Again, getting the books in the store is my goal—so, another short-term success.

In addition to bookstore signings, I have participated in craft/artist fairs, two at local gift stores where I sold 32 and 9 books respectively; one on Main Street in downtown Gulfport, 39 books; one in downtown Long Beach, 9 books.

The local Barnes and Noble is carrying my book—and has sold out once. Both the gift stores mentioned above, where I sat and signed, carry my books and I refill those stocks roughly once a month. The book is selling.

The book is also on sale at Cover to Cover Books in Natchez. I’ve filled an initial order from the owner for three books—he sold out in about three days—and I have since refilled orders of 6 books from him, three times. Two are on the floor at Yellow Dog Books in Madison—I don’t know if they’ve sold. And there are 5 copies at Bay Books in Bay St. Louis. I don’t think any of those have sold.

I have the book at a local coffee shop—PJs—here in Gulfport and I’ve refilled that original order of 6 with 12 more books.

I give a lot of books away—for RWA conferences, libraries, Christmas presents—try to send them out of the area—and to newspapers in attempts to get reviews and press notices (so far, all for naught). I did get a radio interview here on the Coast—but the host actually bought the book and then called me. It was great!

Amazon still has two copies—they haven’t sold.

So the book is selling steadily. Not flying off the shelves, but I didn’t think that would happen anyway. I do get a lot of good feedback—even e-mails from strangers who’ve read it. If I ever get back to updating my poor neglected web site, I’ll post some of the comments.

Oh, Oh! I did get a review from James Cox at The Midwest Book Review. It was a plot summary, but he took the time to read and comment. I am ecstatic. I’ve posted the review on my review page and I've linked to The Midwest Book Review posting on the MBR web site, too.

So, all y’all out there let me know when you’re ready to start self-publishing. I highly recommend it, and I’m ready to help get you started!!!

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