Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Monday, December 7, 2009

Blogging relieves anxiety and Book signings don't

When I have anxiety over things, even a near panic attack, I can blog and it calms me down. Maybe because it's instant writing to an audience (although a somewhat invisible audience), which to a writer is instant gratification. Chocolate will also calm my anxiety attacks, but blogging is less fattening. And talking to my husband or one of my kids who know how to relate to my crazy fears also helps, but they're all asleep.

I could write about what is giving me anxiety and bore you all to tears. Half the time I don't know myself, it just comes in the night, a sleep snatcher, and drives me to do things--like fill the dishwasher, fold laundry and blog. Read, comment, post. Read, comment, post.

Okay, now to the second part of this post, which I'm sure is much more interesting and thought-provoking than "my anxiety and how I cure it":

A Tale of Two Book Signings.

I attended W. Everett Prusso's signing at Borders last Friday and was very impressed. He had a poster set up, he had invited many, many friends and family, and he had a group of family members who stayed with him the entire time so he wasn't sitting there alone. A good number of his invited friends stopped by and purchased copies of his book, Ghost Waves. The people at Borders were pleased by the results. He prepared ahead of time, and at the event he conducted himself with class and good taste.

Now the next story. It's short and painful. Setting--Costco, a great place to have carry your book and do signings due to all the traffic. Characters-- woman with a stack of books at her table and an attractive young man who just happens to belong to the clan of Gowen. Freakish event that really did happen-- the Gowen fellow is walking down the aisle of this Costco toward the book section with an acquaintance of the female gender. Gowen is closest to the author's table. Author, still seated at her table, grabs his hand and says, "I'm so and so, and I wrote this book." Handsome Gowen fellow nods, smiles and says, "Okay," as he quickly walks on, with no desire whatsoever to even look at her book, let alone buy a copy.

Conclusion: This is why people will avoid book signing tables. They're afraid of being accosted. Better to bring your own friends who want to buy your book, have a party, sell a few copies and walk away with your self-respect. Desperation doesn't sell books.

Prusso, yours was a successful signing. Good job.


  1. I have read actual advice from writers to accost people in the bookstore and put "your book" in their hand-essantially forcing them to look at it. That and wander away from your signing table? so that you could bump into people and talk up your book.
    I do believe in being friendly and outgoing with people-but that advice left me scratching my head.

  2. Looks like this author took the advice. Clearly it doesn't work! Who is giving out this awful advice anyway?

  3. Who is giving out this awful advice anyway?

    MLM executives

  4. I'll bet that poor writer had major anxiety before her signing at Costco. She was probably thinking, "That is way out of my comfort zone, but they are the professionals, they should know." I wonder if she will ever go back.

  5. And sadly, I think we who have done book signings can all identify with her. I've never done one at Costco, for some reason I thought Costco would be different. But apparently not.

  6. Good lesson for the future. I have writer friends who hate doing book signings at Costco. They say it's the worst place to do one. Not sure why, but they say libraries and book stores are the best. What do you think?

  7. They hate doing signings at Costco? Because it's one of the biggest booksellers around. However, I do know that they require a lot of "table time" and if the book doesn't have the sales, they pull it.

  8. I saw what appeared to be a successful book signing @ Costco. I purposefully didn't go over to her table because I knew I would buy the book. It was receipe book for holidays and the table was decorated beautifully, she was in a chef coat, and was so approachable. She seemed comfortable and was smiling (not grimacing). I listened to how she talked to the many people who stopped by her table and although I don't know how many she sold, I did see people with her book in their cart.

  9. @Melissa, People who come to a signing at a library or bookstore like and buy books. They often anticipate buying a book at the signing. Costco isn't necessarily the place people go to buy books even though it sells a lot. You have more competition when signing in that store. IMO

  10. I admit--I look for books at Costco. It's the one section I ALWAYS visit, because they are typically under ten dollars.