So, today I had the signing – supposed to be more or less the launch signing for Daughter of Texas, at the Twig – and it was actually a bit of a bust, scheduled as it was to start in the afternoon at exactly the time the Farmers’ Market around in back had already closed down. Alas . . . it seems that the Pearl Brewery pretty much resembles a tomb, once whatever big event scheduled folds up and goes away. Part of this was my fault, for scheduling release to coincide with Fiesta, and not realizing that Easter this year coincided also with my range of dates, and that the Fiesta celebrations would actually put the Twig out of commission on a couple of relevant days, because of traffic and parking, and their immediate vicinity being the staging area for a parade . . . And it seems to Blondie (no mean detective when it comes to trends and atmosphere) that they are preferring to emphasize their place of business as sort of the FAO Schwartz of kid’s books, in San Antonio, and downplay the local, adult, independent, small-market author sort of thing . . . without entirely nuking their bridges to that community. But still – one does sense a certain chill in that respect. And it’s not just me, BTW – another indy author of a gripping book about the Texas war for independence had a signing event on a Saturday in April – and if it weren’t for me and three of his friends showing up, I don’t think he had much more in the way of interest and sales, even though his event was on a Saturday morning. Just about everyone who came through the door was a parent with a kidlet in tow.
Anyway, a two-hour stint of sitting behind a table in an almost-deserted bookstore, before Blondie and I packed it up at the hour-and-a-half mark. A bore, and a demoralizing one, at that, although I managed to get through one-third of a book about the Irish on the 19th century frontier; which I might have bought, if the author had written more about the Irish in Texas. We left then, as we had passed a parking-lot rummage sale that Blondie wanted to check out, before everyone packed up the goods or the good stuff was taken. Honestly, only two people even came up and talked to me during the whole hour and a half . . . and there were things that I could have been doing in that hour and a half, like working on chapter 12 of the sequel, posting and commenting to various websites, working the social media angle. The excellent thing is that Daughter of Texas has sold big, during April, especially in the Kindle format. Working through Watercress and by extension, Lightning Source has let me price it at a competitive level and at an acceptable discount for distribution to the chain stores – and it is selling, a nice little trickle of sales, through thick and thin. In the last month there was also a massive up-tick in interest for the Trilogy and for Truckee, through the halo effect. All of my books have very high level of presence in search engines on various relevant terms . . . so, honestly, I believe now I would better be served by working more on internet marketing, on doing book-talks, library talks, and book-club meetings – and the internet stuff. Doing a single author-table at a store just does not work without massive local media interest. I have managed to score a little of that, but not enough to make an appearance at a local bookstore a standing-room-only event. I have one more such on the schedule, at the Borders in Huebner Oaks, but after that I will probably pull the plug on any more single-author book-store appearances. They just do not seem to have any useful result; they are an energy and time sink – and I only have so much of either to allot to them. Joint appearances with other local authors; yes, indeedy, I’ll be there. Book-talks, book-club meetings, special events, special events like Christmas on the Square in Goliad, and Evening with the Authors in Lockhart, the West Texas Book and Music Festival in Abilene – and any other events that I am invited to . . . I’ll be there with bells on, and with my full table display and boxes of books. But the individual store events – It’s just not paying off, relative to the time and effort spent on them.