My first booksigning, in 2006, was a momentous event. I didn’t sleep for days worrying about 1. finding the bookstore in North Fort Myers. 2. Collecting all the gear I needed such as, business cards, promo poster, book marks, and, oh yes, BOOKS! You can’t imagine how worried I was that I’d arrive with no books!
The little book store, Banyan Books, was so named because of the large banyan tree in the front. If you can imagine Old Florida, the vegetation, the structures, the Gulf Coast tropical “feel”, this lovely little shop fits your imagine.
The signing was set up for three hours. 11:00-2:00 on a Saturday. I’m guessing I arrived at least thirty minutes early. The owners suggested as gently as possible, “You may not have many customers.” The picture of people lining the sidewalk, waiting to get in to meet the author, disappeared. Replaced with the author, sitting in a corner while the sweet clerk looked upon her with pity.
I sat and I sat; wishing I’d eaten something before I left home. My growling stomach was the only sound in the store, other than the clerk opening a box of newly-purchased books.
She must’ve heard my bodily noises, because a glass of sweet tea and a delicious pastry appeared out of nowhere. “On the house,” she said. “After all, you drove all this way.” (From South Fort Myers) The pity in her voice was palpable.
Then a miracle happened!
A ladies’ tennis group dropped by the store for refreshments! My sales instinct took over and I convinced them to buy books for their children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews!
I sold 11 Cynthia’s Attic books that day! The bookstore owner was amazed. “I believe that’s a record.” I wasn’t sure whether she was happier for me, or for the fact she wouldn’t have to send a poor newbie author home with the exact number of books she came with.
Didn’t matter. We were both relieved. I drove home, proud that I’d survived my first signing without any major screw-ups.
Fifteen years, and many, many booksignings later, I still think of that little Florida bookstore. I discovered that anyone, even someone without a knack for sales, can sell a product they believe in. I’d put my heart and soul into that middle-grade book. A small publisher had picked it up, edited, and placed my printed text in between a fantastic cover.
With my name on the front!
I’ve moved on from children’s books and now write adult mysteries. My first Andi Anna Jones Mystery, Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder, will be released this year from Wild Rose Press. I look forward to the days, post COVID, when I can, once again, experience the anxiety and joy of seeing a reader eagerly purchase my books.