I'm not terribly shy, but walking into a HUGE Barnes & Noble with thousands of books and poking around the shelves until you find your own is pretty intimidating. Realizing you left your phone at home and can't even take a photo of your book to prove to everyone it's really there is just plain irritating.
Nevertheless, I came, I saw, and that was the easy part. By the way, that's my local Barnes & Noble to the right.
Next came the procrastinating.
I handed my book to someone browsing in the aisle and said, "This is a really good book. You should read it. It's mine." She politely smiled and took the book.
Then I took a couple more of them off the shelf and moved them to a "Noteable New Paperbacks" table where I felt they belonged and where MAYBE they would stand out a little to shoppers in the wild.
Then I wandered around the store a bit, hoping to see this young male salesclerk who looked pretty approachable when I came in. When I didn't see him, I decided to leave. It already looked like I was casing the place.
Once outside, I chided myself for being such a coward. I didn't come this far just to sit on my hands while my book sunk into obscurity, so I turned around and marched myself right back into the store and up to the information booth and asked for the Events Manager.
When she came downstairs, I introduced myself, handed her a business card with my book on it (a sample I ordered for free from Moo.com [very cute card]), and smiled. She asked if they had my book on the shelf. I said, "Yes. Six copies." She said, "Really. We don't usually order that many titles from a new author. It must have gotten some really good reviews." I said, "Yes, actually, it has."
The next part is where it gets a little tricky.
She asked if I'd like to sign the copies. I said I would love to. So upstairs we went to retrieve the four on the shelf, and, um, the two I had moved to another table. "Oh, look!" I said, slightly red-faced. "Here are a couple more right here." (Did I mention the book I handed that lady was back on the shelf? Hmph.)
Anyway, as I signed the books, she suggested I do a book signing, pulled out her calendar, and gave me the whole run down on what the store would do, what I needed to do, and what to expect.
A few minutes later I strutted out of that store like I owned the world. (That might be a slight exaggeration, but at least I didn't feel the need for self-flagellation when I got home.)
So, based on this ONE experience, here is my list of do's and don'ts when trying to schedule that first book signing:
Don't be chicken. They want to know you.
Don't move your books before you introduce yourself. Get a friend to do it afterwards.
Don't sign your books before (or unless) they ask. That would have been really embarrassing.
Do bring a bookmark or a business card with your cover and other important info on it. It gives you something to hand them and makes you look legit.
Do smile and be friendly (and I suggest confident but humble).
Do bring the pen you want to sign with or you'll end up having to use one of theirs (in my case, a fat Sharpie).
That's it! Good luck.
Oh, and you should really buy my book! It's good. Very good.
And if you're in the neighborhood, stop by Barnes & Noble at The Woodlands Mall on February 18 between 2 and 4 and say hi. I'll be the one with the pen.