Measure Book Signing Success by Experience, Not Sales
For many authors, the thought of seeing your name on the sign at Barnes & Noble for an author event is the thing of wild dreams. I am no different. From the time I first started dreaming about getting published, I wanted to be on that sign. I wanted to have people coming to buy my books, lining up to get an autograph. I wanted my J.K. Rowling moment.
Over the years, I've been fortunate enough to live out my Barnes & Noble dream (minus the J.K. Rowling status) several times. What's more, I've been able to travel to all sorts of amazing places for author events and get that moment to celebrate my works.
This year, especially I've been branching out. We traveled to Gettysburg Book Warehouse last weekend and are heading to State College in July. We'll also be heading to Virginia for a Book Festival this fall. We're traveling and seeing new places. For my husband and I, who are self-proclaimed Netflix junkies and homebodies, traveling is pushing us out of our comfort zone.
But I've come to realize it's a good thing.
However, there's just one problem most indie authors find with book signings: Sales aren't typically J.K. Rowling status or even close. In fact, for some authors, the dreamed of book signing can become the thing of nightmares, leaving you feel like a failed writer.
So how do you balance your dreams with reality, and are book signings worth the risk?
* some successful. some in a monsoon. Some where I left in tears.
Measure your success by the experience.
Places and met people I'd have never met.
Writing journey isn't all about sales. It's about growing as a person and about meeting new people. It's about seeing how your words can affect others and about meeting new people. Break the introvert mold.
Readjusting Book Signing Measures of Success
I have had plenty of successful signings where I sold more copies than I expected.
I have, in truth, also had the exact opposite. I had a book signing where I sold exactly two copies, both of which were friends. I had a book fair in a practical monsoon where we traveled three hours to sell two books and get soaked to the bone. I've had plenty of tears over book signings that many would deem unsuccessful.
However, two years into my writing journey, I've come to learn that success should not be measured by sales at a book signing. That's not what author events are about.
In fact, that's not really what the writing journey is about. Okay, sure, we all want to sell millions of copies and retire to a private island. However, this shouldn't be your driving force. The writing journey is about growing as a person. It's about meeting new people and seeing how your words can affect others. It's about sharing your story, your characters' stories, and your personal truths. It's about breaking the introvert mold and learning how you impact others.
Book signings are a way for you to meet others, to share your story, and to inspire others to attack their dreams.
Because of my book signings, I've had more experiences in the past two years than I could've dreamed of. I've seen amazing bookstores. I've met new people. I've seen cute shops and awesome attractions along the way.
Most of all, I've had the chance to share in the experience with my husband. The memories we've made will last a lifetime...or at least until the next signing.
So to you indie authors out there wondering if book signings are worth the risk of standing alone at a table with pitying looks from strangers, I can tell you... it is. Because every person you meet can affect your writing journey. Every signing, good or bad, becomes a part of your story.
Every experience gives you the chance to grow, to change, and to evolve into the writer you were meant to be.