I thought you were famous
I spent last week on my first "book tour." For the uninitiated, it seems glamorous--arriving at a bookstore, seeing posters announcing your visit, and chairs arranged around a table stacked with copies of your books. But unless you're a mega-bestselling writer, forget about throngs queuing up for your signature.
Few things are as pathetic as an unknown author sitting forlornly at a table while the store P.A. gamely announces the signing. Instead of stampeding toward the table, customers migrate away, as if the lonely author was now infected with smelly cooties.
At the Borders Biltmore in Phoenix, Arizona, I actually had a small group waiting by the signing table. When I introduced myself, they looked surprised and replied, "This isn't the French appreciation club?" Sadly no, but they were welcome to stay for my signing. They declined and retreated to the cafe--the far end.
The store manager came by and noticed the empty chairs. "Where is everybody? I thought you were famous."
Obviously not. So I dragged the table and books to the front of the store and proceeded to pitch my novel to anyone coming within range. This was a tactic I employed all week at two book festivals and the other chain bookstore signings. I sold a few dozen books, paying my dues as a tadpole wiggling into the lagoon of publishing, waiting for the day when throngs queue up for me.