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!!!