Yes, I know it’s Friday. Hush. I got spoiled, so I’m passing it on. LOL.
Every author has, at one point, had the same daydream. The one where you’re doing a signing at a major bookstore. There you sit, at a small table, looking sharp and having a line of people chatting with you. Some have waited hours to meet you, out in the cold.
It’s a myth. It’s not going to happen for several years, possibly decades. Don’t ever kid yourself that it’s going to happen two weeks after you release your first book if you don’t already have a few important things.
1. Name recognition: are you a celebrity? Does your photo grace the cover of a tabloid? Are you a candidate for political office? Did you just win an Oscar, Emmy, or Grammy? Get out of prison after serving time for a crime you didn’t commit? Escape from a life of captivity? Is your book the basis for a major motion picture? Do you already have an established reader base of several thousand loyal fans who buy your book three seconds after it becomes available?
2. Connections: do you know the manager at the store? Are you with an agent? Did you hire a publicist? Is your publishing house really big and have a dedicated marketing department?
First time authors, new authors, people whose books are still being found by readers are NOT going to get that signing event. Why? Because bookstores want to host authors who are going to bring in customers. Ones that will browse, and buy, while they wait for you. The ones who will spend $100 between coffee and books so they have something to read or sip while they listen to you/wait their turn.
They want authors who will bring in readers. Period.
It’s not that they don’t encourage new authors. Heck, we’re the backbone of their business. Without new authors and new stories, there wouldn’t be new bookstores, just used ones. But, at the end of the day, they want to make money. And they’re not going to do that by hosting an author no one’s heard about.
Don’t think of it as a lost dream. See it as a goal. One that you’re going to have to work towards, spend hours cultivating a readership who will start laying the groundwork FOR you. Because they’re going to go into a store and ask about your titles. They’re going to create a buzz, get managers to start noticing they’re getting multiple requests for a single title/author.
It takes time. Perseverance. It will not happen two weeks, two months, possibly even two years after your first title released.
So stop acting like it will and do the work instead of expecting it to be handed to you. Because you haven’t earned that line yet.