Last night I went to a book signing. The signing was for Babyproofing Your Marriage by Stacie Cockrell, Cathy O’Neill and Julia Stone. I didn’t know the authors and didn’t have the chance to meet them at the signing. I did see people there I knew and some I just recognized.
It was a high profile event since it was by invitation at the home of Texas Monthly senior editor Evan Smith. Evan’s home is wonderful. Huge wooden front doors that open to a unique, warm, impressive house. I did get to say hi to him, although I’m sure he didn’t remember me. We’d met briefly once before when I was at the KLRU studios doing a promo spot.
Lots of people mingling, waiters with trays of drinks, big names … and press. As in lights, camera, action.
Which is why I never got to say hello to the authors. The camera was either taking shots of their stacks of books, or the crowd mingling, or the interviews with the authors. And I’m sure that cost them sales.
For this kind of event, sales would be nice, but they weren’t the real point. People at the book signing were there, I believe, because of their association with Evan Smith or Texas Monthly or some other connection to either Evan or Texas Monthly. You’re probably wondering why I was there. I think it was my volunteer work with the Texas Book Festival. The thing to consider, though, is that those people didn’t come to meet the authors and get their signatures. They came because Evan opened his home and made it a pleasant event with wine and hors d’oeuvres, amiable guests, networking opportunities, and an evening out. Sure, you’re gonna buy a book. That’s expected.
However, if the authors missed, say, twenty sales because they were busy with the press instead of sitting and signing, that’s okay. Far more valuable than twenty sales was the press coverage. I don’t know where the cameras were from – KLRU, a local station, cable, whatever. I know I talked to Patrick Beach with the Austin American-Statesman. Maybe they’ll only get a half minute on the local evening news. Maybe it’ll lead to other, bigger, opportunities. Even a quick blurb on the local channel could lead to sales above and beyond what they missed getting that night.
5 months ago