Three years ago, the release of my first novel excited me, yes, but it also threw me into a dither. A dither, if you’ve never been in one, is similar to mild hysteria and confusion. All other authors I knew at the time talked about book signings, and I attended a couple of them. In my opinion, that might not work for me, as they don’t seem to work very well unless you are the author of the Harry Potter series. How many readers would drive to a bookstore and buy my book? I feared not many, and there I’d be, all alone in public, people walking past me, ignoring the books on the table. The thought of buying a big stack of books and not selling them didn’t make me comfortable, either.
So, I wondered what else I might do. I decided to have the book signing at my house. I know many people in town since we’ve lived here thirty-five years. I’ve had gatherings at my house, and we have a lot of parking space near the house and out on the road.
First, I created a half-page invitation in MSWord, and printed it on pink paper. I explained about the book: title, genre, a brief plot, price, and a link to buy it in eBook or print from my publisher. On a separate line, with a different font, I explained I would be happy to order it for them, give a one-dollar discount, and I’d pay the postage. With my publisher’s generous author discount, I’d still make a little over three dollars on each book.
I instructed the reader to send me a check or cash for the amount, or send an e-mail to reserve one and pay later, or tell me in person and make sure I wrote down the name. I said I would place the order in two weeks.
As an added incentive, I invited each buyer to my house on a certain date and time for a Texas Tea and Book Party. Instructions included my address and to look for the Lone Star Flag out by the road.
At the end of the two weeks, I had orders for sixty books.
Now, about the party. The food was easy: Texas-shaped chips, salsa, nuts, Texas Pecan Cookies, assorted cheese tidbits, and peach iced tea. I shopped at a warehouse with highly discounted everything, and bought plastic cups, and small paper plates and napkins the color of a Texas Bluebonnet. All this cost about twenty-five dollars.
My husband worked as the parking lot attendant, and he also stayed on our wide front porch to greet people. Before the party, since I had everyone’s name, I pre-signed all sixty books. That alone took a long time. With the release of my second book, I sent out almost the same announcement by e-mail, except I did not have a party. Instead, I delivered the books, or took them along when I knew I’d see some of the buyers at a meeting or gathering.
I now have a reader base that waits for my next book. Since I live in Texas, I write about Texas, whether it’s a Western Historical or a Contemporary. Each time I send an announcement, some of the readers will ask: “Will you have another party?” Maybe with my next release in print at Christmas, I will.
Celia Yeary-Romance…and a little bit ‘o Texas
Celia Yeary is a seventh-generation Texan, and her life revolves around family, friends, and writing. San Marcos has been her home for thirty-five years. She has nine published romance novels, a short story, two novellas, three anthologies, and published essays with a local magazine. The author is a former science teacher, graduate of Texas Tech University and Texas State University, mother of two, grandmother of three boys, and wife of a wonderful, supportive Texan. Celia and her husband enjoy traveling, and both are involved in their church, the community, and the university. She meets with The Write Girls on Tuesdays at a local coffee house.
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