Years ago, before I started collecting books, I remember seeing Elmore Leonard signing books at a Crown Books in Encino… and there was no one there. He was sitting at a table alone. I couldn’t believe it.
Flash forward a few years later, and I’m doing booksignings. Sometimes people show up… and sometimes you’re all alone… or worse, it’s just you and the bookseller, reading you her horrible erotic poetry for two hours (One began: “Hello, He Throbbed…”)
Despite having seen Elmore, desolate and alone, all those years ago… I still feel bad whenever no one shows up for a signing. So, in a perverse way, I take pleasure in reading that even the big boys (or, in this case, the big girls) still occasionally experience the midlist signing blues. This dispatch came from Aldo The MysteryDawg:
Last night I had the wonderful opportunity to meet the multi-talented Laura Lippman at the Mystery Bookstore in Westwood. She was signing her latest novel By A Spider’s Thread, the next installment in the PI Tess Monaghan series. There was a standing room only crowd – Bobby, Claire and Shelly (The Mystery Bookstore staff) along with my friend Alan and me. Never the less, Laura was a good sport and talked to us for the entire hour as she signed our books and the bookstore stock.
That, of course, is the sign of a pro. She didn’t get pissed off that no one showed… she realized that the most important person in the room was the bookseller… who would be hand-selling her book long after she left. It’s not how many people show up when you are there that’s important… it’s how many books are sold after you leave.