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03 April 2006

Magical Bath Tubs and Books

Magical Bath Tub
Slip in, close your eyes
and you will find
A spot
to dive down
that leads
to a tropical
All for you!

I wish I could take the credit for saying this, but I can't. This colorful poem (such as it is) and the equally colorful illustration greeted me when I turned SARK's Pure Relaxation 2006 calendar to the month of April. I think I like this better than those Calgon commercials. Yesterday, I was wanting to do this. Instead, I just snoozed off and on and tried to read. Tried being the key word, of course.

The 9th Annual AZ Book Festival was on Saturday. I was there. In my booth. All day. Greeting people and hardly ever sitting down. I paid for it yesterday. But that's beside the point. I sold 8 books, no T-shirts, a lot of buttons and a handful of gel bracelets. I'm pretty sure I did a lot better than the guy next to me. He had a book titled "The President-Elect Must Die!" The cover was very plain. Black background, red letters, a work of fiction. He even had the cover blown up, framed and displayed on the table. I think he sold only two books. And that was to the lady in the booth next to his...who happened to own a giant liquidation book store. They were for her private collection, I overheard her saying. The author and his wife (I presume) had come down from California. For this event specifically, I have no idea. I can't imagine he'll want to come back.

The one thing I've learned about promoting your work--booksignings in particular--is that you can't. sit. down. It's like the kiss of death or something. People aren't going to come up to you if you're just going to sit there like a turd in a punch bowl. The author remained seated the majority of the time. Even when someone came up and said "The title intrigued me so I had to come over and check it out." That would've made me pop up and say something like, "Are you a Democrat or a Republican?" Not that I'm into politics or anything, but still...if he'd encouraged a little small talk, I bet that guy would've bought a copy.

It's called interaction, folks, and even someone as shy as I am knows that even a "hello" could turn into a potential sale. Every person that walked by my booth, I spoke to. Every. single. person. I said "good morning", "hello", "good afternoon", and every other variation of those greetings, even if the person was walking by real quick. For the people that lingered, I had a spiel.

"Hello, I'm Celise. I'm the author. I write for young adults, ages 13-18. Today, we're giving away a $50 spa card, a purse charm bracelet and a gold necklace. And you don't even have to be present to win. The books are $10 each, or 2 for $14 (because you always should have some kind of "Festival Special"). Just to let you know, $1 from every book sale is donated to the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign".

I also told them (when I remembered..which wasn't a whole lot) about my weeklong book signing at a local art gallery at the end of the month. I gave out my special author "calling cards" and told them the website would go "live" next week. My best friend and PR-Pro-Bono person, Amy, managed to get a whole group of high school girls over to my table (YIKES!!! My shy side had immediately kicked in when I saw all those girls walk in, so THANK GOD for Amy). They didn't buy books, but they bought bracelets and buttons. And thanks to the contest, I now have their contact information. Maybe it was because I had a primo spot right near the entrance. Or the fact that I made the effort to speak, but people lingered. I think that if I hadn't said anything, I wouldn't have met a local proofreader, found out about another book festival in Costa Mesa, CA in September, will possibly have another booksigning gig at a local new and used bookstore that just opened up, might have a classroom gig with some kids in Chino Valley (wherever the heck that is). Two teenage girls bought a copy of each of my books, and, after reading the back asked,

"These are your only books?"
"Are you writing more?"
"Yes." Read: HELL YES-that's-affirmative-good-buddy.

Last month, I attended an author/publisher conference, and donated a huge gift basket for an auction. It had my books, merchandise from my online store, SkyMaDa Designs, and some Mary Kay products. The money raised, which I found out was around $2000-something, was going to a local place called Sunshine Acres Children's Home. I don't know how much my basket went for, but at the Festival, I met the woman who'd bought it for her daughter. She said that her daughter had been feeling kinda down that day and LOVED the basket. She better have, it was valued at $103. But seriously, it's always nice to hear stuff like that. It really makes what I'm doing worthwhile. I'm not changing the world, but I made someone's day.

Yay me.
posted by GeminiWisdom @ 10:06 AM |


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