Doing book events – the Reality
On Saturday I was scheduled to speak at two libraries in Charlotte. The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library found me through my publisher and they contacted me back in January. In April we settled on a date, August 11, the last day of their summer programs.
Though I told my Charlotte friends about the program on Facebook and email, I left the bulk of the marketing to the Library. I wanted to sell my book Hiking North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains but their procedures required that I use a retailer. The obvious choice was Bill Bartee of Jesse Brown Outdoors.
Bill is an enthusiastic guy who owns two outdoor shops in Charlotte. I’ve had book presentations in his store and he’s a pleasure to work with. He advertised the program as well. He’s also had me on an outdoor radio show.
I left Asheville at 7:30 am and followed my Google and Mapquest instructions which I had printed out to find my first library. It took me about two and a half-hour to get there. On the whole trip, I couldn’t find a Starbucks. I stopped at Dunkin DOnuts and the coffee was awful.
I had brought a flash drive with my slide show on it. Nowadays, most venues have a computer and digital slide projector. I didn’t bring my own equipment as a back up. Bringing a carton and a half of books was enough.
Sure enough, everything worked. About 15 people came including Sharon (Smoky Scout) who lives close by. It was so nice to have a familiar face. She’s heard me so many times and still she came. The questions were good and the audience was involved and who knows, maybe a couple of people in the audience will actually get out in the woods.
After Sharon and I had lunch and caught up with each other, I headed out to the second library. They were just finishing a camping program for children, which was somehow connected with my book signing. The library offered ice cream to the kids and I didn’t refuse.
But after the children had their ice cream and they had their picture taken in the tent, they and their parents left. And there was nobody. No one showed up for the program. This has never happened before. I’ve had a few people, a small number but never zero.
Oh well. A new experience.