What Book Signings Are Like

Right now I’m in the Omaha, Nebraska area visiting my good friend Janet Syas Nitsick.  She signed up to be one of the vendors at the AppleJack Festival in Nebraska City, Nebraska.  There were lots of vendors, but Janet was in the Fox Center.  I played the gopher for her, running around and getting things she needed.  It was a lot of fun.

janet at booksigning

Janet Syas Nitsick at her table. She is dressed in the same outfit the heroine is on The Bride List book cover (which is featured on the poster next to her).

So anyway, I don’t think I’ve ever done a post on what an author goes through to set up a book signing at a craft show, festival, or some other kind of event where people can sell things.

1. The author needs to search for events that are going on in their area that they are interested in going to.  

There will be a person to contact if you want to be a vendor.  The author contacts the vendor, and the vendor will give the author the information on where to go, when to be there to set things up, etc.

2. The author needs to look at expenses.

There is usually a cost to reserve the spot.  For this particular event, Janet paid $75 to be a vendor.  Also, since she’s in Nebraska, she is required to charge sales tax.  In this case, Nebraska City’s sales tax was 7.5%.  The sales tax varies from one city to the next. (The taxes all go to the government. She doesn’t keep it.)  In addition to that, Janet had to figure in cost of gas since this is almost one hour from her home and money paid for food and drink while she is out.  Also, she had to keep track of the miles she drove. Those costs are business related and can be written off when she files her taxes, but she will need to keep careful track of her expenses, so receipts are a must.  I mention all of this because unless she can make more than all of the expenses, she will not make a profit.  So as you can see, her asking $9.95 for a paperback isn’t outrageous.  If she was to have any hope of recouping the costs, she needed to ask that.

3. The author must engage people.

One thing I noticed over the two days was that if Janet didn’t start talking to people, no one would have bought her books.  The rules of marketing are different when you’re in person.  Online, you have some flexibility. You can do free reads, engage in social media, run ads, etc, but at a book signing, you don’t have that luxury.  You need to get out and mingle with people.  If you don’t, people will go right by the table without looking back. About half the people Janet talked to loved to read, but they hadn’t planned on stopping by the table. She had to make eye contact with them, smile, and engage them into a conversation in order to get them to stop. When I found out they loved clean romances, which is what she writes, I kept wondering why they didn’t stop before she talked to them. So if you’re going to have a book signing, you must be willing to get out there and socialize.  (The same was true for other vendors as well. Those who initiated the most conversations sold the best.)

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Now, I skipped over the whole thing where an author has to set up their table because I have pictures for that!  Pictures are the fun part. 🙂

When you’re at an event, the big thing is setting up the table.  Just as marketers stress attractive book covers, blogs, and websites in the online world, it’s important to present an attractive table to appeal to your ideal audience.

Below is the process for setting up the table.

First, we got the skirt around the table.

skirt around table

After we set up the book signing poster, we finished lining the table with tablecloths to cover it.

top of table and poster

Then we put the items on top of the table where they belong.

setting up table

table is complete

Janet is somewhere in this picture.  Can you find her? 🙂

Now you add the author, and everything is ready!

just add the author

And I thought I’d show what it looks like inside a building when all of the vendors and set up and doing business:

applejacks1

This is the view from one of the entrances.  Janet was to the left in the corner, so you can’t see her table from this angle.

applejacks2

This is the view from Janet’s table.

And though this has nothing to do with the topic, I saw the bathroom sink and thought it was so cute that I took a picture of it.

cute bathroom sink

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Some Pictures From My Trip to Fort Benton, Montana

Since I’ve started Wanted: Mail Order Husband which is the first book in Fort Benton, Montana Series, I decided to go over there to take a look through their pioneer village and museum.

Fort Benton is the birthplace of Montana.  They were a thriving town as long as the steamboat was the preferred method of transportation, but when the railroad came in, it stopped being a big hub in the state.  It was a “wild” west town in its early days. People were shot in the street, and it got pretty rowdy on the main street at night with the gambling and prostitution.  I also learned that buffalo hunting was a huge deal in this area of the United States from both Native Americans and the white settlers.  Also, grasshoppers were a hardship people who grew crops had to contend with.  Those are just a couple of highlights I learned along the way.  I have some good material for this upcoming series that will be a lot of fun.

I thought I’d share some of the pictures my husband and I took.  The things on display ran the range from the late 1800s to the early 1900s.

Here are a couple of restored buildings.

buildings

On the second floor this building was the dentist, eye doctor, and regular doctor.  The mercantile was on the main floor.  We were able to go inside and see all of the items that were in them.

mercantile and doctors offices at the top

This is what a dentist’s office used to look like:

dentist

This is in the mercantile:

store

 

Here’s a buggy:

buggy

This is an old cookstove with pots and pans:

cookstove

Here is a kitchen sink with a pump:

kitchen sink with pump

And since I love to write romance, the pictures would be incomplete with a groom’s and bride’s clothing:

groom and bride clothing

Next time I go to Fort Benton, I will take some pictures of the town as it is today.  It really is a picturesque place.  They have done a wonderful job of preserving their history.

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If It Takes A Scandal is Now Available!

This morning, If It Takes A Scandal is featured with an excerpt on the Buried Under Romance blog!  To celebrate, I’m offering a giveaway.  The winner will win a free ebook copy of If It Takes A Scandal.  To have a chance of winning, just leave a comment to the question I posed over there. So click here to get to the post!

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If It Takes A Scandal (Marriage by Bargain: Book 4)

if-it-takes-a-scandal-ebook-cover

If It Takes A Scandal is the last book in the Marriage by Bargain Series.

If you would like to read the entire series in order, here is the list of the books:

  • Book 1: The Viscount’s Runaway Bride
  • Book 2: The Rake’s Vow
  • Book 3: Taming The Viscountess
  • Book 4: If It Takes A Scandal

And, though Her Counterfeit Husband is not a part of this series, that book features Jason and Anna (the Duke and Duchess of Watkins) who are friends with the heroine in If It Takes A Scandal.  Because of that, they do play a role in this book.

Here’s the description for If It Takes A Scandal:

A liberated widow. An impoverished earl. A forced marriage may be just what they needed…

Lady Candace Daniel is finally free from her cruel, abusive husband. He’s in no position to order her around from six-feet under. And with all the fun she’s having on the social circuit, she intends to never let a man have that kind of power again…

Corin St. George, the Earl of Durrant, has inherited an earldom and a ramshackle estate. He’s toiled for years to restore the property to its former glory, and he has little respect for the noblewomen around him squandering their husbands’ fortunes…

But when Corin is thrust into a compromising predicament at a ball, he’s forced to marry Candace, the unlucky widow who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Neither spouse has an interest in being together… until friends and fate conspire to show them the possibility of love…

If It Takes a Scandal is the forth and final book in the Marriage by Bargain series. If you like 19th century settings, stubborn but lovable characters, and second chances at happiness, then you’ll love Ruth Ann Nordin’s marital tale.

Buy the book to start the scandalous and heartwarming romance today!

You can find it at these retailers:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

iBooks

Smashwords

*If I didn’t post a link for your country, please let me know, and I’ll see if I can add it to my list in the future.

 

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