Yesterday, I had the privilege of setting up a “local author table” at the nearest Half Price Books location. This was my first experience with something like this and overall, it was a good one.
I set up the table just before noon. My wife came along and her smiling face helped attract customers. HPB originally had the table in a position where few people saw us until they had checked out and were leaving. I asked permission after half an hour and we were able to move the table to a more prominent location. After that, we started getting more attention.
Half the people who came by our table were friends who knew in advance – some of them old friends we hadn’t seen in quite a while! That added some extra pleasantness, and they accounted for around half the total sales.
Side note: every so often, one of the employees will page a customer, letting them know they have an offer on books they’re selling. One of them, who we heard throughout the afternoon, had a voice that sounded exactly like the late Sir Christopher Lee. Delightful.
Most common question: how long did it take you to write this?
Heard surprisingly often: my daughter/granddaughter/niece might like this. I’ll buy one for her.
Somewhat disappointingly, none of the people who came by the table were outright fantasy fans (or at least it seemed that way). Most just seemed to be avid readers of any kind and were attracted by the cover or the “local author” allure (autographs!) or whatever.
Good news: I did sell a number of copies, gave away a bunch of bookmarks, and was invited to return whenever I wanted.
Amusing theory that won’t die: a stranger came up to my wife and asked if she was the model for the book cover (Seri). She really isn’t. The cover was done by an artist in Indonesia who has never seen nor met anyone in our family, and submitted a cover design in competition with around a hundred other artists. Throughout the design process, no one noted any resemblance to my wife. Then came the cover reveal and several people suggested a likeness. And now it won’t die. Too funny.
I’m not entirely sure what I would do differently in another such event. It’s something to consider as I continue trying to find readers/buyers.