Sunday, March 22, 2009

My 1st Book Signing

Yesterday the St Augustine Lighthouse & Museum was the location for my first ever book signing. I was scared to death. Not sure if I was nervous about 'the pitch' or worried that sales would be dismal, like maybe even zero! The lighthouse folks opened the doors fifteen minutes early & the first couple through the doors (they were from Toronto) bought a book! What an icebreaker!!!

Deb has an eye for "stuff" - so she set up the table with lots of cool eye-catching promo gadgets - a small wooden treasure chest filled with faux gold pieces, skeleton parts made of foam & miscellaneous little trinkets. It turned out to be a kid magnet. We are in our element when it comes to kids, maybe 'cause we're kids at heart. No more nerves for JaxPop - lots of joking, laughing & teasing. We had a blast. Sales became unimportant - just let it roll. Here's a pic of Deb's set-up.

I couldn't leave the table so Deb buzzed around taking pics of the festival. The folks from Disney Radio were there. Live bands. Boat building. Plays. Lots of refreshment stands. Pony rides. Tours of the complex. Guided nature walks thru the hammock. Storytellers. Games & a coupla 5K races. It was crazy crowded. I missed all of that. The staff at the lighthouse handed out maps at the door showing the locations of the 'attractions'. Directional signs were posted on the grounds to use with the map to get where you wanted to go. Here's a pic of my favorite sign.

This is probably my favorite place to hang out. 2 Chapters of BAD LATITUDE are set in the haunted lighthouse (Ch 9 - Dead Girls & Ch 10 - Hezekia Pittee). I've done quite a bit of writing & editing in its shadow. Somehow it seemed fitting to do my first book signing in that same shadow.

The lines were pretty constant but the staff kept everything moving.

The gift shop workers kept the book near the cash register, replacing the stack as sales continued. Several times, the cashiers ran out to our table & swiped the books right off our display racks & we would have to run to the car to grab another box. (I didn't want to bring them all in & look cocky. I especially didn't want to have to carry boxes of books out to the car when it was all over.) We were supposed to be there from 11 'til 3 but were asked to hang out a little longer - 'til 5. It was a steady flow all day. In the end, the lighthouse gift shop bought more books to replace their inventory & we returned to the car, smiling like idiots, with .... all empty boxes. Truth be told.... the great day of sales was the result of Deb's slick marketing skills. 2 years of hard work upstaged by strategically placed bones & coins. (Sigh!)

There were plenty of highlights worth mentioning but I'll only include a couple. 1st was meeting a County Commissioner with a great story about his experience as a lowly Private during his time in military intelligence. I'm going to put it in writing for him. It's funny & inspiring. 2nd was a visit from 13-year-old Victoria. She read the book at school about a month ago & said she 'loved it' - then bought her own copy. How cool is that?

The people that manage the lighthouse & museum & their group of hard working volunteers were spectacular. They went out of their way to provide maximum exposure & made us feel really comfortable. Now they want me to do another signing in April for a weekday shindig for school kids. I need more books - & that's a good thing. Whew!!! What a rush!!!


ReNu said...

Awesome! Glad it all went so well, and the pirate props look so cool. Congratulations!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

What a great day! I'm thrilled for you. Book signings give me the nerves too.
I started Bad Latitude yesterday and am loving it! Great work Jaxpop!

Careann said...

The lighthouse was such a cool place for your first signing, and I'm glad the day went so well for you. You may have to go into another printing if the April event is equally successful. :) The props were a wonderful idea -- kudos to Deb!

caite said...

hey...I just happened in here because I have my google blog alert set for any lighthouse posts...'cause I love lighthouses.

By co-ink-dink, I made my first visit to the St. Augustine lighthouse when I was in Florida visiting my niece (UofF)and I must say it is a delightful town and a lovely lighthouse.
Your books sounds very interesting. I review books on my blog, but usually not YA fictions. The description makes me wish I had a kid to give it to!

Ronnie said...

Dave! I love this kind of news!
Way to go guy.
The perfect backdrop for your book. Continued, well deserved luck, my friend
Deb, that red overlay is perfection! Great display.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I knew you'd do well. Didn't I tell you so!

Bravo, buddy!

JaxPop said...

ReNu - Thanks. The props were the ticket! 2 years of writing & Deb upstages me with her overwheming talent & imagination.

Becky - I'm so stoked that you're 'lovin' my tall tale. That means a lot! I have a hard time believin' you could be nervous talking about your book.

Careann - It was (the invitation) outta the blue. It was so appropriate, as I explained in the post. I couldn't have scripted the whole experience any better.

Caite - I don't know when you were in St A last - but it's a totally incredible place. They keep the lighthouse & grounds in immaculate shape & our beaches are awesome.

Ronnie - As usual your replies always make me smile. I still plan to visit St Mary's real soon. Shows how smart I am... I said to Deb 'nah.. we don't need the red one. Black is fine all by itself'. I'll get even with her soon when I blog about Deb sayin' 'Duh!' at the signing - it'll make you laugh. She's a quiet riot. (Good name for a band?)

Joylene - You're a great coach & cheerleader. The handout that I patterned after yours was also a big hit & I suspect it will lead to even more online sales. How do I work out those commissions?

I was really excited that so many boys wanted the book. It's tough to get them to put the video games aside to sit down with a book. In retrospect, I think that was my biggest thrill. Thanks all of you for the kind words & the encouragement. It means a lot.
Dave - (JaxPop)

Cheryl Pickett said...

Hey JaxPop,
Thanks so much for inviting me to your blog! See, lots of people knew you could do it and we were right :-)

It's a wonderful example of a book signing done right. You had a tie in to the festival, to the setting, and someone there to help you work the crowd. They may or may not all go that swimmingly, you can never know for sure going in. But, more importantly, you now know you can do this and do it well!

Congratulations! When's the next one? :-)

Cheryl Pickett

Anonymous said...

Wonderful! Glad it went so well.

Could you send me your email address so I can send you info about the blog library challenge? You graciously donated a flat amount and I'm getting ready to send all the participants info, and to collect final stats from everyone.

You can send to me at jennifer[at]jenniferhubbard[dot]com. Thanks again!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Jaxpop, I just finished chapter 7 and am really enjoying your book! I would have already finished it, but things have been crazy around here--darn these kids. I have to feed them occasionally--and baseball has taken over our lives!
I'm looking forward to diving back into it!