First Book Signing & Technology

Getting ready for my first book signing required a much longer to-do list than I would have thought. So I started making a list of the things I needed to do.

  • Get a tax ID so you can collect and file sales tax returns. The last thing I need is the controller of the State of Texas knocking on my door asking if I collected sales tax on all the books I’ve sold.
  • Buy:
    • Two small easels to hold up the 11” x 14” posters
    • Rolling ball pens in blue to use to sign the books
    • Small roll of packing tape so you can reseal the box to bring the remaining books back as baggage or ship them
    • Stylus with a soft rubber tip to use on a touch screen to enter data
  • Have the posters mounted on quarter inch foam core so that they will stand on aforementioned easels;
  • Set up bank account to handle the cash/checks from the book signing; and
  • Pack the books to make sure the box would survive three trips in the baggage compartment of an airliner.

And then, my wife asked me how I was going to handle credit cards? Huh…. Oh yeah, I added to the list the note to set up a PayPal account. That was a process unto itself and I picked a service that offered a free card reader that turns my iPhone into a “point of sale” system. All without picking up the phone and never talking to a human being.

Sounds easy, and it is, sort of. First, it takes a couple of days for you to get approved and then PayPal mails the card reader by regular mail which can take a week or more to get. Or, according to their contact center, you can buy one at WalMart, Staples or an AT&T store. Easy enough, but when I went into the local Walmart and Staples store, they had some off brand and nothing that looked like the PayPal card reader on their web site. So I called them, again and found out that “Oh yeah, you can get it from those firms, but you have to ORDER IT.” Oh…

Now, in a mild state of panic, with two days to go, I stopped at an AT&T store hoping per chance they would have one. The first person I talked to tried to sell me a non-PayPal credit card reader and then asked the store manager when I said that PayPal said they carried them. The store remembered he had three stashed away so I bought one. Later, reading the instructions I found out that there was a rebate that offset most of the cost. Great.

Next step. How do I use the thing? To say I don’t trust technology is not exactly true. What I do find out is that the person who writes the instructions knows far more about the device and the software who is trying to hook it up for the first time. As a result, they often take things for granted or assume you know more than you do. After following the online directions and watching the video, I tried it using one of my credit cards and found I could enter a credit card number manually, but the reader wouldn’t read it. After a half an hour on the phone with the PayPal help desk, the technician’s conclusion was that the card reader was defective and they would mail me another one. That would take five to eight days which mean no credit card scanning for this book signing. At least I was confident that I could enter credit cards manually.

Sitting there, I began look at the card reader and my phone. I could see a glimmer of steel on the pin on the base of the card reader that goes into the headset jack. Hmmmm, I pulled off the Otterbox and pushed the card reader into the phone. Voilà. It scanned every credit card in my wallet! Apparently, the Otterbox on my iPhone wouldn’t let the card reader seat completely. I ran two test transactions to make sure I knew how and felt ready for the next day.

Once I found my table, set-up took about five minutes. I laid out five books, put the posters on the easels, made sure I had a spare pen, laid the swizel stick next to the phone to keep it hand and to make it easy to use the touch screen and waited for the first buyer.

Many sold books later, I was faced with another problem. How do you fill a box that is only half full of books? My original plan was to buy a couple of newspapers and ball up the pages and stuff them into the box which had already survived two trips in the baggage compartment of an airplane. It needed to make one more.

Solution… I had four days of laundry and stuffed into a plastic bag, my dirty clothes made perfect packing material! A little balled up newspaper in the cracks inside and the clear packing tape sealed the box which arrived home in excellent shape!

Marc Liebman
10/30/2012

Big Mother 40 by Marc Liebman
Render Harmless by Marc Liebman
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MARC LIEBMAN, AUTHOR & SPEAKER

Marc is an experienced pilot and writer whose career as a Naval Officer and Naval Aviator, business executive, consultant and entrepreneur helped him fulfill his dream of becoming a novelist. In the novels, Marc creates stories with rich, interesting characters and puts them the proper historical and operational context. His books are memorable, exciting and fun to read.

HISTORICAL & MILITARY FICTION

Big Mother 40

Render Harmless

Cherubs 2

Forgotten

Inner Look

MARC'S PUBLISHERS

Penmore Press

Deeds Publishing

PRESS Marc is available for interviews, conferences on a limited basis and book signings.

BOOK SALES Retailers, Distributors and Library Services Wholesale distribution is available in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe and Australia.