Jenna Black's Blog Experiment

Wherein romance author Jenna Black plunges into the terrifying new territory of blogging . . .


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Book Signing/Birthday Bash

Any author reading this blog knows the trepidation one feels as an "event" looms on the horizon. Unless you're on the same level as, say, Nora Roberts or Janet Evanovich, there's a good chance no one is going to show up except the people you personally invite/nag/beg to come. And often it's only a very small percentage of those people who actually do make an appearance on the day of the event itself.

Not only is it embarrassing to hold an event and have no one show up, it can also put the author in an uncomfortable position with the bookstore. They just ordered a large number of your books, and it looks like they're not going to be able to sell them. (Yes, books can be returned, but it still doesn't leave a very good impression.) Maybe after a poor turnout, that bookstore won't invite you to do future events, and the booksellers aren't as likely to hand-sell your books.

So I spent the last couple of weeks trying not to dwell on the possibility of a disappointing turnout for my first signing for Shadows on the Soul. I'm not very good at not dwelling on things, especially when I'm dealing with my own nerves when a book is about to come out. So I was basically a nervous wreck.

I had decided to make the event not just a book signing, but also a birthday party (since the book actually did come out yesterday, on my birthday), in hopes that I could lure friends and acquaintances in with the prospect of food, but I had no idea how well that would work.

Right around 7:00, when the event was scheduled to begin, there were only about 5 or 6 people in the audience, and I was getting a nervous vibe from the bookseller who was helping me out. It was beginning to look dangerously like one of those dreaded flop events--and it didn't help that the store was sweltering, so I was already sweating just from the heat. I asked her to wait about 5 more minutes, because there were some people I really expected to come who weren't there yet. (Admittedly at that point, there were only a handful I was really expecting, but I figured if I could have a dozen or so people in the audience, that wouldn't be too bad.)

So we waited. And people started to trickle in. And they kept trickling, even after the event officially got started and I did a reading of the first chapter of The Devil Inside. By the time I was finished reading, it was standing room only, and I could have cried for happiness (and, I must admit, a good dose of relief as well).

So thanks to everyone who came out and supported me (even though you didn't eat anywhere near as many cookies and cupcakes as I was hoping, and I'm going to be on a fat and sugar high for the rest of the week)! And those of you who couldn't come for one reason or another (which is, of course, most of the people reading this blog, since you don't live near by), keep an eye out for authors appearing in your area. They will appreciate your attendance more than you can possibly know.

A great place to find out what authors are appearing in your area is You can enter your zip code and get a list of upcoming appearances. Also, if you're an author, think of signing up yourself. It's free, and I think it's a pretty neat service!


At 9:04 PM, Blogger Tez Miller said...

Hmm, any chance you can ship those cakes and cookies to Australia? It's for your own good... well, mine ;-)

Have a lovely day! :-)

At 10:38 PM, Blogger Jenna Black said...

LOL! I'm afraid those cookies and cupcakes are disappearing at an alarming rate! I'm afraid you're going to have to settle with your native Tim-Tams (which Aussie author Keri Arthur introduced me to).

At 4:52 PM, Blogger Shari C said...

Those treats sound really good. So sad I don't live closer so I could have been there.

Did get to my favorite bookstore though and now have my very own copy of 'Shadows on the Soul'. That makes me a very happy person and anxious to start reading it, hopefully, this week-end if things aren't too busy with the holiday plans.

At 10:45 AM, Blogger Lexi said...

Great story! Happy belated birthday and congratulations on standing room only! See? People DO love you!


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