Face it, unless you become a famous author, your first book signing, usually at your local library or bookstore will be your best and most exciting. Friends and family come to wish you well. Many will buy your first book to be supportive, though they may never read it. In my case having been the former county library director, much curiosity was involved. Thanks to the steamy cover on my first somewhat sexy book (only three flames out of five, folks), more than one person whispered that Miss Lynn is now writing dirty books. Nope. I'd probably sell more if I did
Once that first rush is over, subsequent book signings will not go as well. It is known that libraries are the worst places to sign as people who use then will simply check out the library copy if interested and now can even borrow them temporarily on their e-readers. Usually, many authors attend as both libraries and bookstores are being bombarded by the self-published for a venue, and so they group all of us together whether self, e-pubbed, or traditionally published for one mass signing. The bad news-lots of competition, the good-lots of authors to talk to in order to make the time pass faster and perhaps make some interesting contacts.
I would advise writers new to this business to dress up your table a little. Don't just sit behind a stack of books and hope. I put out the wonderful red and black Sinners jersey my daughter got for me and display the football romances on it. My new Mardi Gras series titles are nested in a pile of colorful beads and other throws. A bowl of candy might help, but mostly people seem to grab and run. I do envy cookbook authors. They always have a hook - a steaming crockpot of some dish to attract attention. I had some excellent spicy white beans and rice at my last library signing where I sold three books, great compared to the events where I have sold none or one. Mostly, browsers pick up my sexy book cards or my less sexy, but very pretty, Mardi Gras cards. These might result in e-sales later, and indeed, someone bought an entire set of Sinners books in paperback on Amazon the following Monday, so not a wasted afternoon.
I admit sometimes toying with potential customers who really don't want to buy or even hear about my books. One lady who stopped by for a chocolate fix immediately told me she didn't read those kind of books, i.e. ones with hot covers. She only read mysteries (I hear that one a lot), so I pointed out Mardi Gras Madness which has a mystery sub-plot and is not particularly sexy. Oh, she says, "I can only read Large Print." I suggest she take a card for the book, and she can get it on an e-reader and adjust the print size any way she wants. No, she doesn't have an e-reader, has to hold the book in her hands. Having come full circle, I bid her adieu with a cheerful, "Thanks for stopping by", not adding "and eating my chocolate". An amazing number of folks also only read historicals or non-fiction. Since Queen of the Mardi Gras Ball is an historical, I now only have to produce a non-fiction book to please everyone. As for myself, I read a wide variety of books. I do think I would find literature very limiting otherwise.