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Sunday, June 30, 2013

A TEXAS TEA AND BOOK PARTY-Book Signing Event


Several years ago, the release of my first novel excited me, yes, but it also threw me into a dither. A dither, if you’ve never been in one, is similar to mild hysteria and confusion. All other authors I knew at the time talked about book signings, and I attended a couple of them. In my opinion, this might not work for me, as they don’t seem to work very well unless you are the author of Harry Potter. How many readers would drive to a bookstore and buy my book? I fear not many, and there I’d be, all alone in public, people walking past me, ignoring the books on the table. The thought of buying a big stack of books and not selling them didn’t make me comfortable, either.
THIS IS MY FIRST NOVEL

So, I wondered what else I might do.
I decided to have the book signing at my house. I know many people in town since we’ve lived here for close to four decades. I’ve had gatherings at my house, and we have a lot of parking space—near the house and out on the road.

First, I created a half-page invitation on Word and printed it on pink paper. I explained about the book: title, genre, a brief plot, price, and a link to buy it in eBook or print from my publisher and on Amazon. On a separate line, with a different font, I explained I would be happy to order it for them, give a one-dollar discount, and I’d pay the postage. With my publisher’s generous author discount, I’d still make a little over three dollars on each book. Besides, I was more interested in numbers of books, not the dollar amount.

I instructed the reader to send me a check or cash for the amount, or send an e-mail to reserve one and pay later, or tell me in person and make sure I wrote down the name. I said I would place the order in two weeks.
As an added incentive, I invited each buyer to my house on a certain date and time for a Texas Tea and Book Party. Instructions included my address and to look for the Lone Star Flag out by the road. (Photo to the Left--My Front Porch)

Everywhere I went, I left a small stack of the half-page notices. If someone picked one up, fine, if no one did, fine. I didn’t even look. At the end of the two weeks, I had orders for sixty-four books.

Now, about the party. The food was easy: Texas-shaped chips, salsa, nuts, Texas Pecan Cookies, assorted cheese tidbits, and peach iced tea. I shopped at a warehouse with highly discounted everything, and bought plastic cups, and small paper plates and napkins the color of a Texas bluebonnet. All this cost about twenty-five dollars.

My husband worked as the parking lot attendant, and he also stayed on our wide front porch to greet people.
Before the party, since I had everyone’s name, I pre-signed all sixty-four books. That alone took a long time.

With the release of my second book, I sent out almost the same announcement by e-mail, except I did not have a party. Instead, I delivered the books, or took them along when I knew I’d see some of the buyers at a meeting or gathering. That took time, but I could give that buyer special attention.
I now have a reader base and an email contact list for my next book—if it’s available in print. Since I live in Texas, I write about Texas, whether it’s a Western Historical or a Contemporary. Each time I send an announcement, some of the readers will ask: “Will you have another party?” Maybe with my next (and fourth) Texas book (titled TEXAS DREAMER-as yet unfinished) about the Camerons and Kings of Texas, I will throw a party. 
And you all are invited!
 

 Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
 
BIO:
Celia Yeary is a seventh-generation Texan, and her life revolves around family, friends, and writing. San Marcos has been her home for thirty-nine years. She has nine published romance novels, a short story, six novellas, three anthologies, and published essays with a local magazine. The author is a former science teacher, graduate of Texas Tech University and Texas State University, mother of two, grandmother of three boys, and wife of a wonderful, supportive Texan. Celia and her husband enjoy traveling, and both are involved in their church, the community, and the university.

She meets with The Write Girls on Tuesdays at a local coffee house.
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Post: "Texas Tea Party re-dux"

4 comments:

  1. Celia, I remember when you did this. It was such a great idea, and you really made a lot of sales, as I recall, and had a good time doing it! I have never had good luck with book signings. I've done it with others, alone, at different places, and for whatever reason, it just never seems to work. I'm so glad you did this, though, and I wish I lived somewhere that this might be feasible. Congratulations on a super idea!
    Cheryl

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  2. Yes, the key is to know a lot of people. And hope some will be curious enough...or supportive enough...to buy the book. Thanks!

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  3. Great idea, Celia. And it certainly worked for you. I don't think I've lived anyplace long enough to get a support group like you have but I've done pretty well with the coffee house idea and having multiple authors signing. Whateer works and it seems to be different for differnt authors and different locations.

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  4. I'm so sorry I missed this when it was first posted, Celia. What a great plan. I love how you made it a tribute to Texas. I have always felt the same about book signings...what if I sat there all day and nobody came? I don't know as many people as you do, but if I did, having a book signing at my house would be a wonderful idea.

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