Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bookstore Customers

“I get crazy in a bookstore. It makes my heart beat hard because I want to buy everything.” -Reese Witherspoon

Thanks to Sandi Gershman at the Barnes and Noble on Tamiami Trail in Sarasota, I held my first bookstore book signing. Unfortunately, not all bookstore customers have the same attitude as Reese Witherspoon because they all didn’t rush toward my table to purchase a signed copy of The Ride. Still, I found the experience enjoyable and educational.

It was a bit strange to spend a few hours in a book store and not be wandering up and down the aisles browsing through the many titles. Instead of focusing on books, I concentrated on watching the customers and their responses towards me (I should say, my perception of their reactions).

Many patrons looked as though they were on a mission and were in and out in a matter of minutes with purchase in hand oblivious to me or anything else in the store. Some customers smiled in acknowledgement and kept on going; some stopped to ask questions about writing or about the book. Some of those people bought the book, some did not. Some people assumed I was a store employee and asked me to help them locate a specific book or other item. Then there were the people who avoided eye contact, as if by looking at me they may somehow be hypnotized and forced to buy a book they had no interest in owning. Other customers went out of their way to avoid the area I was in altogether as though it was taped off as a crime scene.

I understand. I really do. I’m an easy touch—the type that hates to say no to anyone—so in the past, I have been guilty of weaving through a store circumventing a signing table to avoid putting myself in an awkward situation. No more.

Now I go out of my way to attend book signings as a way of offering my support as a fellow author. It turns out that I have enjoyed the books that I may have missed otherwise. An example would be the books I bought recently from Ad Hudler at One for the Books in Cape Coral. Househusband and Man of the House were funny and presented an interesting viewpoint on gender, role models and raising children. Now I want to go back and buy his two other novels.

I’m wondering, do you go out of your way to attend a signing or to avoid them? Are you comfortable looking through a book if the author is present? Do you feel obligated to buy if you stop to look? Are you able to fan through the book, make a comment to the author and walk away? I’d really love to hear your comments on this.

If any authors out there have suggestions on how to make book signings more successful, I really need to hear from you.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tags: The Ride, Reese Witherspoon, Barnes and Noble, Ad Hudler, book signing, One For The Books,

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Jane's Ride - Novelist Jane Kennedy Sutton's journey through the ups and downs of the writing, publishing and marketing world