The Book Signing Boogie
by Ricky Bush
I always wanted to sit behind a stack of my books at a bookstore one day and sign copies for those interested in my tale of words. Once River Bottom Blues hit the market, that little dream became one step closer to reality.
First stop was the local bookstore. The owner showed interest but said that signings really didn’t do too well unless a downtown event brought in additional foot traffic. She suggested that I wait for such.
Not wanting to wait three months for an inaugural singing, I dropped by a popular coffeehouse/pizza parlor and see if they’d be interested in hosting my book launch. The proprietor was surprisingly enthused about the idea and refused any type of consignment deal, which meant all proceeds went to me.
The local media ran a press release touting the event and I envisioned tons of my ex-students from the past twenty nine years waiting in line to grab a copy from their old teacher, not to mention all my ex-teacher chums. The fifteen I sold disappointed me, but I’ve since learn that those numbers weren’t bad at all.
I headed out of town for my next venture, meeting with the manager of a bookstore which also sold musical instruments, music, and rented movies. Since my book mixed blues with the murder plot, it seemed ideal. The kicker was that the manager loved blues music and promised plenty of promotion. A week before the signing, I checked to confirm and found that he had quit and left town. Before he left he had he paired me up with another author’s signing. Said author’s book subject was on sexual fitness. Most customers who came in that day went straight to the movie section to return and get another. We each sold five books.
The local bookstore called to say that a huge antique festival in a neighboring town would take place soon and lots of folks would be bunking in our town, which meant throngs of people would traipse by the bookstore. I sold five more copies.
Then I lined up a signing at a shop specializing in blues music memorabilia in another neighboring town and in conjunction with the birthday celebration of a long dead famous blues musician. The shop sponsored a concert out their back door and I just knew that a blues crowd would jump on a chance to buy my book. Six were sold.
My most anticipated event was to sign books at Murder By The Book in Houston. The best blues harmonica player in the city offered to provide a little blues music background. I also lined up a signing at a blues jam at one of the best blues clubs in town following the bookstore gig. Six were sold at the store and five at the blues jam.
So, I can’t say that my experience was a rousing success, but I did meet a lot of fine folks along the way.
River Bottom Blues Synopsis
Ex-reporter Mitty Andersen sets out to prove that someone killed his good friend and fellow bluesman, Bobby Tarleton. After teaming up with his running buddy, Pete Bolden, they discover that Bobby just might be the last in a string of unsolved murders aimed at blues musicians. Their investigation leads them to the dark crossroads in Texas, where murder and blues mix and mingle.
Richard “Ricky” Bush has listened to, written about, and played the blues for most of his adult life. After retiring from teaching journalism, English, and world geography to a couple of generation of Texas teenagers, he incorporated his passion for the music into his debut thriller, River Bottom Blues, featuring the blues playing, crime fighting duo of Mitty Andersen and Pete Bolden. The Devil’s Blues continues their adventures and is due for release soon by Barking Rain Press.
Thanks for sharing your experiences, Ricky. I'd be interested to hear if you continue to find such interesting sites and venues--and if they build on each other. Good luck with your next book!
Been to a couple of book signings myself. It's exciting to begin them. Have you had many signings since these?
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