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Many readers would
be honored to buy his books and have him autograph them, I thought. But
apparently that wasn’t the case at a Walmart store, according to what Crais told a
group at Sleuthfest, where he was the keynote speaker.
hawked his books and tried to engage customers, he said. He’s say stuff like, “Do you
like detective fiction. Do you like mysteries?”
One man replied, “No,”
and then asked Crais to help him find the fishing gear, he said.
I pushed that memory
out of my head and told myself, my book signing would be successful. I was
determined. I believed in my book, my baby, and I wanted
everyone to read A Message in the Roses.
Larry and I arrived about 30 minutes early. I
placed six blue pens on the table beside a stack of my books. I was determined
not to run out of ink.
We put the bookmarks and an address book on the
table and placed my poster on an easel. Luckily, the store positioned me near the front door. Before long, a potential customer
Larry went into action. He sounded like a carnival
barker, “This is your lucky day,” he shouted. “Author Sandy Semerad is autographing
her critically acclaimed book, A Message
in the Roses.”
As he led this unsuspecting and somewhat
stunned woman toward me, I asked her, “Do you like romantic thrillers?”
“I prefer nonfiction,” she said.
“Well, then, you might enjoy A Message in the Roses,” I said,
motioning, in Vanna White fashion, toward the stack of books. “It’s loosely
based on a murder trial I covered as a newspaper reporter in Atlanta.”
I handed her a bookmark. She glanced at it and
then picked up one of my books.
We began a conversation. I asked her to sign my
address book and said, “I’d be happy to autograph a copy of my book for you.”
And so it went.
With other signings, I’d learned to autograph
on the title page, and I knew I darn sure needed to ask each person how to spell
his or her name.
I'd also learned to ask, “How should I autograph this?”
Most people respond with, “Write whatever you
want.” But I think it's important to write something personal, and it's easier to do that if you've shared conversation.
I’ve been told it’s best to have a person write
out instructions to the author on what to say. I’m sure that’s good advice, but
I didn’t do that.
After I signed the books, Larry snapped our photos.
That is, if they agreed to have their picture taken. If they did, I later e-mailed
the photos to them, and tagged their names after posting on Facebook.
Everyone at BAM was supportive. One of the
employees, with the voice of a broadcaster, kept announcing, “Author Sandy
Semerad is in our store signing her latest book A Message in the Roses.” She added blurbs about my book to entice
customers. I complimented her later.
Should I have written my own announcement? Perhaps, but luckily, she did a superb job.
After the signing, I got the store’s approval
to autograph the remaining copies that didn’t sell. I’m hoping they’ll display
them, prominently, with the bookmarks I left behind. Maybe they’ll place an “autographed
copy” sticker on them. Did I mention I’m a hopeful optimist?
I thanked the BAM employees and a couple of days later, I called to thank them again. As an afterthought, I sent a photo taken
with the staff to the BAM marketing site with a brief e-mail about the signing.
Maybe I should send a snail mail letter to the store and include more bookmarks. I
want them to remember my books and keep promoting them.
Weeks before I started trying to arrange book signings, I asked
Michelle Lee to design my bookmarks. These were helpful in getting the
signings in the first place, I think. (I gave a copy of the bookmark with a press release
and a list of distributors to the managers of two books store and asked them to order my books.)
I downloaded the bookmark to Printing for Less.
I should have ordered more than 500. I’m almost out. I’ve been distributing
them like crazy.
For the signing, I knew I’d need a poster. So PFL
created one on foam board, not cheap, but sturdy. It looked sharp on the easel,
I thought. The poster has my book covers and a promo blurb under each and my photo.
The poster arrived in time, but not the postcards,
I'd ordered. I should have ordered them a month before. They came the week of my
signing, and I was working out of town. My poor husband distributed them as
best he could.
Two weeks prior, after I checked to make sure
the BAM store had the books, I e-mailed a press release to local newspapers. I also
created an event on Facebook and other sites and invited everyone.
There were a few things I wish I’d done.
should have placed a copy of my book with bookmarks at the cash registers. I should have asked Larry to hand out book
marks and a copy of my book to customers we didn’t catch at the door. I was too
busy hustling those who came in to do that myself.
And maybe I should have placed a bowl of chocolate
candy on my table or held a drawing to win a gift, perhaps a free book. I’m
thinking I might do these things at my next one, which is Saturday, Sept. 27,
at the Destin, Florida Barnes and Noble.
lady from B&N has already called to say my books are in. Wish me luck. I wish you could come by and spread the love. #booksigning #AMessageintheRoses www.sandysemerad.com
A Master Passion - A Founder's Marriage Angelica, older sister to Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, was a piece of work. Perhaps you've met someone like her--enchanting, intelligent, daring, filled with boundless energy, bubbling over with wit. She was also a champagne tastes kind of gal who brought the party along with her, brightening any room she entered. Men and women alike adored her. She had admirers not only in America, but in France and in Britain, too, among them the leading lights of the time. The French Statesman Talleyrand, the Whig Leader, Charles Fox, the play-write Richard Brinsley Sheridan, as well as Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, and the Marquis de Lafayette were among the many luminaries who fell beneath her spell. We can no longer see the glamor in this picture of her and her first child, painted by Trumbull. Fashions in beauty change. In one letter to his father-in-law, Hamilton speaks of Angelica and his wife Elizabeth as "our b…
As a writer
I know the power of words, and I’m constantly searching for the right words to
make my stories live. But recently I discovered the word “feminism” has been
misunderstood. I had no idea until daughter Andrea received a rude response
after she admitted she was a feminist. Made me wonder, why has this word been
demonized? Dictionary.com defines feminism as “advocating social,
political, legal and economic rights for women equal to those of men.”
Merriam-Webster has a similar definition. The term feminism originated in 19 century
France, I learned. A second-wave began in the United States during the early 1960s
with Betty Friedan’s book The Feminine
Mystique. Friedan wrote this book after talking with friends, who had
given up their careers to become housewives. These women felt unfulfilled in
their domestic roles, Friedan claimed. She blamed women’s magazines, run by men,
for encouraging women to become mothers and housewives, rather than career
women. A dif…
I grew up in
an engineering family and worked many years at Boeing. There, great flying
machines are built to stay in the air for literally hours and hours and jet halfway around the world without refueling. This is well engineered
stuff. With that in
mind, I’ve always considered the human body a high maintenance machine. It is
fragile and can’t take much without breaking down. It must regenerate (sleep) for
a huge amount of its shelf-life. It requires hours of upkeep, always needs wiping
down or, over the years, completely submersed in water with gallons of soap.
The human body must be constantly refueled which produces prodigious amounts of
venting waste. This turns out to be an expensive, never ending maintenance slog.
have thunk this a good design? Not me. I’d really like a conversation with the
designer and tell him my thoughts on how the human body could be improved. But
with that conversation unlikely, I’ll have to stew over poor engineering. Let’s take
one of the abo…