Sometimes This Happens . . .

Susan signing 2I have heard stories from best-selling authors about having only one or two people show up for a reading/signing at a bookstore. Or about sitting at a signing table at Books-a-Million or Barnes and Noble and having no one or only a couple of people even make eye contact or stop to ask about your book. Now I know what that feels like. I drove out to Collierville yesterday afternoon for a signing and reading for Tangles and Plaques: A Mother and Daughter Face Alzheimer’s.

It wasn’t the fault of the good people at Barnes and Noble at Carriage Crossing in Collierville, Tennessee. They did a great job of promoting the event:

Listing on the EVENT page of their web site for several weeks prior

Large sign on the front door for several days prior to the event

Nice signing table right inside the front door with another sign and copies of the book

Announcements over the PA system inside the store before the signing, and again before the reading/discussion session

Set up a dozen nice chairs in a sunny area by the windows, right next to the Starbucks Café inside the store

Table and signAnd so how many people showed up? ONE! Cheryl Wright Watkins, a writer friend who lives in the area, who had already bought the book at another event, came just to show moral support. If she hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t have had anyone to talk to for the thirty minutes I sat at the signing table and then the thirty minutes I waited for folks to show up for the reading/discussion. We had a great visit, enjoying our Starbucks drinks and catching up on our busy lives. And I was happy to see that this lovely bookstore seemed to be doing well, at least based on the foot traffic on a beautiful Sunday afternoon when people tend to be at outdoor events.

I knew it was a risk scheduling an event in Collierville, since I only know a couple of people who live in the area. But I thought I’d give it a try, and the booksellers who organized it for me were so encouraging. I’m sorry they now have so many books to return. Hopefully they’ll keep a few in stock.

Door signThe experience was humbling and also gave me a great appreciation for all the other events I’ve participated in this spring with wonderful turnouts. Whenever anyone takes time from their busy life to go to a bookstore and meet an author and buy her book, it’s a victory for the literary world.

Thanks so much to the wonderful booksellers at Barnes and Noble in Collierville for hosting me. I wish you much continued success!

9 thoughts on “Sometimes This Happens . . .”

  1. I would have been. I live in Ar. and couldn’t . I am thoroughly enjoying reading “Tangles and Plaques.” You are a superb author. I hope you are not discouraged by the turnout.

    1. Thanks, Mary. I’ve had great turnout at numerous other events, so I’m not discouraged. Thanks for reading. When you finish the book, if you have time, please put a short review on Amazon!

  2. I have been following your blog for so long, that all I can see is you in REAL book shop with a REAL book written by YOU!!! That is amazing and I’m so happy for you! You are an inspiration!

    1. Thanks, Mari. Fortunately, I’ve been in numerous real bookstores with my real books in my hands, and with real customers buying them! This was just a humbling experience, and I’m not undone by it at all.

  3. It’s too bad that the people who would be drawn most closely to Tangles and Plaques are also the people most likely to be spending Sunday afternoon – or any other part of the weekend – caretaking with a loved one dealing with dementia. I hope some of them will discover your book when they do get a chance to visit the bookstore.

  4. Oh No! I can imagine how it must have felt. About ten years ago I was in a B&N store for some other reason and someone was having a book sale. I looked over, and there was this poor author sitting all alone, and no one was coming to talk to her or buy her book. Well, it was just too much! I went over and had a nice conversation with her and bought her book (it was about gardening, a subject in which I have not the least interest,) She was so grateful! Hang in there, Susan, Talent like yours won’t go unrecognized for long!

    1. I’ve done that, too, Cecil! Thankfully, I’ve had numerous successful events, so this one didn’t throw me. BY THE WAY, I’ll be in the Nashville area this coming Saturday, at 1 pm at Barnes & Noble, Cool Springs, Brentwood, for A Second Blooming: Becoming the Women We Are Meant to Be (with Nashville area contributors River Jordan and Kathy Rhodes). Please come and buy a book for someone for Mother’s Day!

  5. Susan,
    I wanted to thank you for coming to visit our store and allowing me the opportunity to promote your book. I know I am a bit later in response, but I sincerely apologize in the lack of business you received during your visit. I am sending positive vibes and generosity your way. I am sure that you will continue to make great strides.

    1. Thanks Jessica. I received wonderful hospitality from all the store employees. Hopefully the book has legs and will continue to sell well.

Comments are closed.