Turkey & Bookstores

I haven’t had one of these weekends in…ever.

Friday Denise is doing a book signing 12-4 pm at the Books-A-Million in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the only bookstore in the city that is the setting for her book, The Girls of Atomic City. I’m tagging along. It’s the first time either of us has ever signed on Black Friday. I’m not sure what to expect. On a day overrun with “doorbuster” sales, are people really going to visit a bookstore? We’ll see.

Saturday afternoon we’re both volunteering to work 3-5 pm at Malaprop’s (see photos above), our local store here in town, as part of a nationwide event called Indies First, first promoted by author Sherman Alexie. 

Basically, a bunch of writers all around the USA (and several nations overseas) are hand-selling at their favorite indie bookstores for the day. This map gives you an idea which authors are volunteering. Denise describes the event in a column appearing today in the Huffington Post.

Again: Not sure what to expect. In the past, we’ve hawked our history titles in gift shops at historic sites around the country. Those signings always went well, but convincing someone face-to-face why they should buy your books is not something I enjoy doing. That’s why Malaprop’s asked us to pick a handful of other authors’ books to pitch, so we’re trying that. I have no idea how I’ll perform in that situation.

One thing I’ve learned is to always bring a notebook to book signings and plop it right there on the table next to you. That way, people can sign up for your mailing list on the spot. Some people sign up even if they don’t buy your book, intending to buy it online later. Our email list has grown to more than 2,500 names since we started doing that. We only mail out one or two blasts a year, but it’s been totally worth it.

If I don’t talk to you, have a great Thanksgiving.