Book Promotion (yawn)

It's been one month since my latest novel, Trouble Down The Road, was published. It's been a remarkably easy time for me. You see, for the firsttime in my writing career I have not scheduled a single booksigning appearance. There are no bookstores in the city where I live, and truthfully I am not well established enough up here to put on a signing anyway. I used to do quite well in the stores in my hometown of Yonkers, NY, and in Jacksonville,Florida, where I lived for nearly 20 years. Once you get accustomed to selling 50 to 90 books at a signing, selling 15 to 20 just doesn't cut it...especially when you factor in the travel time from my home in southeast Wisconsin to downtown Chicago, the Southside, Northwest Indiana, or Milwaukee. So I decided to just skip it.

To tell the truth, the one thing I miss the most is the time I get to spend with friends who live in those areas, like Donna Deloney and Sean Young. But aside from that, I'm perfectly content to do whatever promotion I can from my chair at home, venturing only as far (or in my case, as near) as the area booksellers to sign store stock.

I find I can even take or leave that small effort. At a stop at a Wal-Mart in Gurnee, Illinois, a wealthy suburb north of Chicago (it's home for a number of professional athletes), but with enough black people to warrant their carrying a limited selection of black-authored novels, I encountered the lady from Levy (the vendor who stocks Wal-Marts in the Midwest with books, music, and DVDs). I introduced myself to her, with the intention of asking her to order TDTR as well as the mass market version of Once Upon A Project, when she promptly informed me that her company doesn't purchase manuscripts for publication. Of course, I know Levy is not a book publisher. But I felt no burning desire to tell her I was already a published novelist. I was content for her to think I was an aspiring writer trying to break in to the business, so I merely tucked the business card I'd been about to hand her back into my purse and headed for the next store.

I'm not quite sure where this ho-hum attitude came from, but I suspect it has something to do with my getting older and reorganizing my priorities. I get the most enjoyment out of crafting stories, and at this point life's too short to be spending it on things that seem to take more time or involve more aggravation than they are worth.

Do you find yourself becoming more laid-back about certain aspects of lifeas you get older? If there are any authors reading this, do you still schedule book signings for your new books?


Sean D. Young said...


I'm hoping to get back into the game. I'm excited about doing some signings because it's been years since I've done them.

If I set something up will you join me so we can at least have dinner together or something :)

Shelia Goss said...

Bettye, I can definitely understand. I don't do as many booksignings as I once did. If it's in my city, I will do a signing. If it's outside of my city, there has to be a demand for me to be there. For example, I went to Dallas this past weekend for a signing only because the book club requested me--so it was well worth the trip. But to pay for gas, hotel and/or airline and only sell 20 books--don't see how it benefits the pocket at all. I would love to go to every city; but only if I could get some expenses paid and guarantee that a lot of books will be sold (but with signings, there's no guarantee).

Katrina said...

I am MAKING myself do a few booksignings this go around. I'm scared senseless but this is part of the territory. I'm also planning a blog tour and a few advertisements, but other than that I'm keeping it pretty low-key.

bettye griffin said...

Sean, after an early season snowstorm forced me to cancel an event with a book club in Chicago (where the snow wasn't as bad as in Wisconsin), I'm reluctant to schedule any events between late November and mid-April. I know your book comes out in January, and that's when you'll want to promote it, so I dunno...

I'm glad it's not just me, Shelia!

Katrina, just try to let as many folks know about the signings as possible. I always made a color flyer on heavy stock and asked the store to post it two weeks in advance. Good luck! You know I'd come if you were in this vicinity!

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