I had my first book signing of 2021, more than 16 months since The Outlander War was released, and it was not what I had hoped for. Right off the bat, let me say that the staff at the Moravian Book Shop in Bethlehem, PA, were phenomenal. They were great in setting it up, advertising, etc. The event just went off like a wet firecracker… Smoke but no bang.
I only signed four books in a two hour period. There was foot traffic through the store, but not a lot of interest. I didn’t mind talking to people about my novel, that was fun to do. Its the people who walked by and didn’t say a thing, or tried to avoid looking at me as if talking to me was a bad thing. Its like I wasn’t even there. I hate that.
I’m not here to complain or vent… Well, maybe just a little. I only have a couple of book signings under my belt and I really don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I mean, the people I talked to about my book listened, asked questions, and a few of them bought my book. Others just thanked me and walked away. It’s really hard when you’re sitting there, offering a fantasy novel to someone, and people are looking in the fantasy/scifi section of the store but ignoring you. That was really confusing.
I know its still early in these waning days of a year of being stuck inside your house, hiding behind a mask, for your protection and others. I mean, I’m fully vaccinated and didn’t wear a mask at this event. I even wore my steampunk goggles to attract attention. I used my own social media platform to advertise the event. I even emailed local newspapers about it since it was held less than 20 miles from my hometown. I thought I did all the right things and yet, four books. That’s it. The royalties from that doesn’t even pay for the gas it took to drive up there.
I guess I’m ranting about a familiar subject… The cost effectiveness of being an independent author. We put ourselves out there, attending book fairs and festivals, setting up book signing events, etc., for the chance at becoming mainstream. As independent authors, most of us are working a full time job while writing, editing, and marketing after that job is done.
I love writing, I can’t stop myself. It’s a part of my DNA. I will continue to write and work toward becoming a full-time author. Things can get discouraging but I’m lucky to have a great support system–my wife, children, family, and friends–to see me through.
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Mark Piggott is an independent author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series and other fantasy novels and short stories. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers. His latest fantasy novel, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart is available through Lulu and other booksellers. Get ready for The Prometheus Engine: Book 4 of the Forever Avalon Series, coming soon, and the steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky Pirates.
2 thoughts on “My first book signing post COVID was not what I hoped for or expected”
Gotta say man, I understand the frustration but getting precious about a low turnout on social media afterwards is not attractive or professional. It smacks of entitlement.
I was quite frustrated, but it had nothing to do with entitlement. I’ve had worse book signings in my career as an independent author. The Moravian Book Store is one of the oldest established book stores in Pennsylvania. I was quite honored to be offered a book signing there. After a year under quarantine I was hoping for a better turnout after months of advertising and social media posts, both mine and the bookstore. It is a constant struggle for independent authors seeking to find that audience. So no, it’s not entitlement, and it may not be attractive, but it is a fact of what we go through.