If you read my blog, in several posts, I’ve talked about what goes on during book signings. So far, I’ve set up tables or booths at association events, national meetings, libraries, air shows, book fairs, at Rotary and Kiwanis Club meetings and Kroger Supermarkets.
Yes, Kroger Supermarkets. Here in Texas, they have a program in which authors are invited to set up a table on Saturdays and Sundays and sell their books. You sign the book and the buyer pays for it when they check out. Kroger takes a chunk of the margin.
Earlier this year, I was invited to try and went through the application and acceptance/vetting process.
Once accepted, the next task was to pick six local Krogers. The data on which to make a decision is sparse, essentially all you are told is the number of times authors have appeared at the store and the number of adult and children’s books that were sold that weekend. So far, I’ve been to two and the results have been good, but not great.
Since there’s no picture on this block, here’s what the table looks like. On it has the all six books, two table top posters and my helo helmet that was issued to me in the summer of 1969 and is now approaching 49 years old. I wear a shirt with Naval Aviator wings and a hat that has the words “Vietnam and Desert Storm Veteran.”
What is really gratifying is that people – both kids and adults – stop by my table, not wanting to buy a book, but to simply say “thank you for your service.” I’d say thank you and find out that some have family members on active duty or in the Guard or Reserve, but most don’t but it leads to a pleasant conversation. On a few occasions, it even leads to a sale.
I never thought about it, until one Saturday, I forgot the hat. While the Kroger was crowded, booth visits were way off. The next day, as soon as I got dressed, I put the hat on so I wouldn’t forget it. Booth visits and book sales that day went way up. Hmmmm.
I’m not saying it’s the hat, but my gut tells me that it works both in booth visits and sales. So a few little words on a hat mean a lot.