A couple of weeks ago, I attended Festival of Mystery. I’m not sure how many books I had to sell–must have been 20 or two dozen at least. I sold out in the first hour and a half. After I sold out, I started taking orders for my books. That resulted in selling another 18 or so copies of my books. (Now, remember–I was standing there without anything to show people in a room full of other authors competing for sales. So I think that 18 or so more copies was a real test!)
Later, another author asked me, “I noticed you stood up the whole time. Why?”
I stand up at signing events for these reasons:
1. It pumps up my energy, and I want to be focused so I can give my all to fans.
2. It makes me easier to approach. When you are sitting behind a pile of books, you can remind folks of bad moments facing authority figures. (We’ve all had those.) Instead, I want fans and potential fans to come on over and say, “Hi!”
3. It makes it easier for me to call out to people who walk by. If they were milling about, I’d say, “Hi! May I tell you about my book?” And usually, they’d say, “Sure!” Even if they didn’t buy, I tried to make new friends. After all, they were there because it was a book sale. They, I assume, were all readers. They might decide my book would be great for them–or for a friend.
4. It makes it easier for me to communicate. We love looking into people’s eyes, don’t we? Did you know that our pupils flare when we are viewing something that makes us happy? So, I want people to see me–and I want to lock eyes with them. I want them to know I think they are important.
5. I want to be seen over the pile of books. Um, I’m short, so this is important!
Does standing up make me more successful? I dunno. But, I come from a betting family. If I had to lay odds on it, I’d say, yes, standing really does improve my chances of making a sale.
Here’s the news release Richard and Mary Alice sent following Festival of Mystery:
On Monday May 4, 2009 at the Greek Church Hall in Oakmont was the scene of the crime. Dozens of volunteers and the crack team of Mystery Lovers staff pulled of an amazing retail event— the 14th Mystery Lovers Bookshop Festival of Mystery—with loads of good feeling all around. Thanks to our staff and volunteers as well as the authors and publishers who make it all happen.
In the pouring rains the folding chairs came out and from 1:15 until the 4PM opening folks lined up around the building to be among the first 100 to score a bag of free books donated by our generous publishers—-Harper, Random House, Midnight Ink, Simon &Schuster, St Martins and Penguin. Folks who value the entertainment of reading came from all over Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Michigan and Indiana. In 8 minutes the freebies were gone and the real shopping commenced. Fueled by the goodies sold by the Riverview National Honor Society, readers mingled with other readers and with writers during the four hour event.
Armed with a bibliography they received when buying their tickets, and the full story of 40 authors from the US and Canada in the latest newsletter, lists were scrupulously reviewed and over 300 readers came prepared to meet new friends who write mystery books and old friends met in past years. By the time Richard’s interviews with the 13 new writers began, eight long lines of shoppers were lined up to take home piles of new mystery books.
In four hours, 1806 books were sold—-a 15% increase over last year. At almost 8 books a minute sold, it was a recession defying achievement. The raffle for our charity Beginning with Books netted over $500……a new high. The gift baskets donated by our media sponsor WDUQ, authors who couldn’t make it to the Festival this year, and many attending, were swept up by grateful readers.
A happy and grateful group of Mystery Lovers once again thank all those who make this the largest and longest running book festival in this region.
Richard Goldman & Mary Alice Gorman
Mystery Lovers Bookshop
514 Allegheny River Boulevard
Oakmont, PA 15139