October 2, 2017

Four Opportune Places to Sign other than Bookstores

By Douglas Wells

Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, and even your local independent store won’t host a signing for you?  Instead, try some or all of the following venues. You’ll be surprised by the exposure and following you will gain.

1.      Mud Wrestling Events:  To take full advantage of this venue, bribe the bartender to let you sign from behind the bar where you’re protected. For a promotional incentive, every time someone buys your book, you sign it and buy the person a beer. When one of the wrestlers pins the other, give a free book and beer to the first three people to reach you. An additional benefit here is the material you can gather for your next book by observing the fascinating culture of mud wrestling.

2.      Monster Truck Jams:  This one is a gold mine. A winning strategy is to make contact with a driver and offer to sponsor him. Set up your table at the Pit Party, which occurs before the Jam. Drape a large flag of your book cover over the front of your table. At the bottom of the flag you should emboss, “Proud Sponsor of Maniacal Masher!” Once the jam begins move your table next to the concessions. Purchase several miniature Matchbox style Monster Trucks. Kids love these things, so give these out to them. Their parents will feel obligated to buy your book. You should also make sure Maniacal Masher is flying your flag from the truck roof or bed.
3.      Gospel Tent Revivals:  There’s a hard and fast rule regarding this one: Don’t sign in the summer. Position your table at the opposite end of the tent from the pulpit. Everyone leaving the revival will pass your table, and you’ll be well out of range of the preacher’s spittle. It will be helpful if your book has some sort of spiritual theme or tie-in. If not, stretch it a bit. Say, for example, your book is a mystery with a couple of gruesome murders in it. Not a problem. When discussing the book with revival goers focus on the idea of the victims’ reward in Heaven.  If the revival involves “call and response,” definitely jump to your feet and join in on the response. It may go like this: “Do you believe?” The proper response is, of course, “I believe!” but you should wave copies of your book in both hands over your head when you do it. For this venue, it’s a good idea to bring bookmarks with Bible verses on them.

4.     Traveling Carnivals: Insist on having your signing table positioned in front of the YO YO ride. When riders get off, they’ll be so disoriented you’ll be able to sell and sign two or three books apiece to them. Make sure, however, to put enough distance between your table and the exit gate to allow for “upheavals” before the riders reach you. An effective promotional incentive is to hand out free tickets to the Shoot-A-Duck.

Bonus: If none of the four venues pay off, you can always become a carney.
Douglas Wells was born in Seattle, Washington. His father was an officer in the U.S. Army, and by the time Douglas finished high school he had lived in Hawaii, North Carolina, Texas, Okinawa, South Carolina, Alabama, and Florida. He earned his B.A. and M.A. in English from the University of South Florida and has taught English and Literature at several colleges. Douglas has a unique interest in and perspective on the comical and absurd foibles of the human race, which inspires his writing. The imaginative pillar of his novel, The Secrets of All Secrets, released by TouchPoint Press on May 12, 2017, is built on Groucho Marx’s line, “Humor is reason gone mad” and the Roman poet Juvenal’s declaration that “It is difficult not to write satire.” Douglas is a Professor of English at Gulf Coast State College in Panama City, Florida. He is the father of two grown sons, and he lives with his wife and cat in Panama City Beach.
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