When I was pre-published I thought book signings must be glamorous things, with those twisty line corral things like they have at amusement parks, people peering over one another and snapping shots while the author signed the 100th book that had been put in front of her. Yeah, maybe I watched a little too much Castle.
Post-publisehd I’ve learned this is a myth. Even those of us who are somewhat well known can do a signing with only two or three people showing up – and some of those just happened to hear you tapping on the mic at the bookstore and wandered over to see what was going on. And in a lot of ways this is actually nice because we can give very personal attention to the handful of people that are in front of us.
Much like bad reviews, you build up a callous over the “ouch” factor when your latest signing fell flat. A lot of us travel in packs because of this. It’s much easier to laugh off a bad turnout when you go out for drinks afterwards with a couple of writer friends.
I’m three years into published life, and have had some success. I’m happy with my sales, have contracts into 2018, and have a signing or event somewhere or other on most weekends. Do I feel famous?
I recently had the experience of exactly zero people showing up to my presentation and signing.
If this had happened at the beginning of my career I probably would’ve cried and crawled into a hole. But after three years of speaking to small groups I knew that eventually the day would come when I had my laptop hooked up, a screen pulled down, chairs set up, a display of my books for sale… and no one would be there to see it.
Did it kind of suck? Yeah. It kind of sucked. But at the same time I now have that low as a benchmark. Every signing from here on out will be better than that, or at the worst, match it. It’s impossible for negative people to show up to a signing.
So I’ve hit my low. From here on out, the only place I can go is up.