September 2022 About That Book Tour…
As promised, we wanted to let you know how things went for Aquila Dhu, author of In Wrath Remember Mercy, who went on a book and speaking tour for about a week at the end of August into Labor Day weekend.
She considered it a success, but not in the number of books sold. She enjoyed meeting people and learning their concerns as well as getting to watch them interact with the book.
The experiences were different at different stores. All the stores were welcoming, and most said they would keep a few books in stock to sell later.
Some stores were willing to host the book signing, but did not have the bandwidth to provide any assistance with marketing or even help with setting up inside the store.
The Barnes and Noble was a big store that likes to do events, but again, they were pretty matter of fact about another author being there.
However, in at least one location, Our Brother’s Keeper in Rock Springs, Wyoming, not too far over the Colorado border, the manager decided to make the signing a special occasion. She personally baked goodies the morning of the event, stocked a refreshment table, and then placed the author and signing table near the entrance to her store, which is located in a mall. She invited friends and made sure they came. Aquila was kept busy talking to customers who, she reported, bought books.
The description of that event and the elements that helped make it successful happened to also mirror some suggestions I recently found, much to my surprise, in the John Grisham novel I’m reading called Camino Island. What is fun about this story (so far anyway) is that a number of the characters are authors who swap stories and discuss the to-be-avoided situation of having no one show up at book signings. The bookstore owner (of course there’s a bookstore) in this book is charming and savvy and creates a customer community featuring food (and wine). He leans on regular customers to be sure they show up when there’s a signing — and buy a book. He makes the event fun and something that draws the community in. [Of course, he’s also supposed to be a thief so apologies in advance if he’s someone I’ll later cringe about referencing here!]
Aquila’s tour culminated in a satisfying speaking engagement for a local history museum in northern Wyoming. There a good turnout of folks came to listen to her share about her expertise on the Civil War and subsequent Indian Wars and settling of the West.
[By the way, if that subject matter is of interest to you, be sure to check out In Wrath Remember Mercy!]
Thankful for the bookstore owners out there whose commitment and passion for connecting people with books keeps Christian retail alive.