Sunday, November 8, 2009

Week 3 at Costco

Well, some of you have said you want another update, but this one will be short, since I can’t say this was one of my better sales weeks.

Thursday, November 5:

Signing at Tempe Costco. Slowest sales day yet, but then it was also the slowest foot-traffic day I have yet experienced. I kept telling myself, “I’ve got to step it up and hand out more bookmarks.” Then I’d look around and think, “But how can I hand out bookmarks if there are literally no people walking past me?” I’m not kidding…it was SLOW that day! I only managed to sign/sell 11 books in four hours, including one copy to a girl who looked like she couldn’t be more than 9 or 10 years old. I didn’t even see her pick up a copy, but happened to turn around and saw her holding one and reading the first page. And older man, who I presumed was her grandfather, asked her if she wanted to buy it, and she said, “Yes.” I was a little doubtful, but who was I to quibble with a sale? And who knows…maybe she’s a reading prodigy! Oh, her grandfather said that if she liked it, she would do a book report on it for school. If she does, she’ll be my youngest fan so far!

Friday, November 6:

My first signing at the Mesa Costco. The shopping traffic was much heavier, but I only managed to sign 22 books. (And one woman picked up a copy, tossed it in her basket, and walked away before I could offer to autograph it, so I guess my sales total was actually 23.)

On the bright side, the Mesa store was extremely hospitable, both to me and my book. They had a table set up, with a nice table cloth and copies of my book “artfully” arranged on the table before I even got there. (Most of the stores don’t even go looking for a table until I arrive.) Mesa also has the most eye catching display of my books. Gilbert and Chandler both have copies stacked on the end of the book shelf, while Tempe has them stacked in the middle of the rest of their stacks of books. But Mesa had my book stacked in four tiers, with a copy standing up facing outwards at the top of each of the tiers. My book actually looked important there! Of course, I have no idea whether the display leads to more sales, but I must say, the author found it very cool to see. J

A dear friend and former visiting teacher, Kristine John, stopped by with her beautiful family to support me at my first visit to Mesa, and even bought a copy of Illuminations of the Heart. (She also helped me critique it prior to publication. You can find her service heartily thanked in the Acknowledgments section of my book. J ) Another friend from my college days, Cathy Galloway, also came to support me, even though she was suffering from a stress fracture in her foot. Now there’s a friend for you!

Two surprises: One woman who bought a copy of Illuminations of the Heart saw my bookmark for Loyalty’s Web and said that she’d seen it in a Christian bookstore, though she couldn’t remember the name of the store. So she figured Illuminations was “safe” and bought a copy. (I wish I knew what Christian store she saw Loyalty’s Web at, and no, it wasn't at Deseret Book.) Another woman said she recognized Illuminations from a website that listed “clean” romances (she didn’t remember the web/blog’s name, alas). She not only bought a copy, but she gave me a big hug, and said, “Bless you!” and thanked me for writing clean romances. I must say, if I had sold only one book, that would have made my day!

Oh, while most people didn’t seem to be in a book buying mood that day, I did manage to hand out 149 bookmarks (I’d only taken 150 along with me…I’ve never needed that many before), so I’m hoping at least a few of the people who took them might come back later and buy copies or pass the bookmarks on to friends who like to read romances. (One can always hope!)

Saturday, November 7:

Signing at Chandler Costco. Even though I’d called ahead to remind them I was coming, this seemed the least organized of the stores I’ve signed at so far, and by the time they found me a table and table cloth (even though I arrived early) and I got set up, I was a good 10 minutes late in starting to pitch my book. The traffic was heavier than Tempe, but nothing like the traffic in Mesa. I’d call it “medium slow”. (Or andante to adagio, if you’re a musician. Tempe was more like largo!) Books sold slowly, though I did manage to squeeze out 20 signings before I left, and I think two sold off the shelf behind me when I wasn’t looking. Aside from a visit by my friend, Marjean (who’s mother bought a copy of Illuminations from me, and brought two copies of Loyalty’s Web for me to sign J ), nothing particularly memorable happened at this location. Mostly a lot of standing around until I thought my feet were going to burn off. Those concrete stores in Costco are HARD, let me tell you! I’m learning to take a break after two hours to go sit down in the food court for 5-10 minutes. (Since when they do give me a chair, I have to use it to prop up one of my posters for my book.) That way, I'm able to keep my energy level up better through the last half-hour of the day.

So there you have it. No special insights to share from last week. We’ll see what this week brings!


Kristine said...

We loved seeing you...and while my 12 year old won't be your youngest fan, she has all but finished Loyalty's Web...which I handed her on Friday afternoon. She has remarked many times "She is a GOOD author!" and "Have you read this, mom?" She's always a little surprised that yes I read it...:)(Silly girl...of course I read it!!)
We loved seeing you! Even the flan-eaters.

Valerie Ipson said...

The glamorous life of an author... *BIG SIGH* ;)

Joyce DiPastena said...

Yeah, tell that to my aching back and feet!

Joyce DiPastena said...

I loved seeing you all, too, Kristine! And I'm not at all surprised that YOUR 12-year-old would be a whiz of a reader. How funny that she forgets that you've read Loyalty's Web, though! LOL!

Miss Mae said...

Thanks for sharing, Joyce. Wow, wish I could've been there to meet you! :)

Laurean Brooks said...

ONLY 10 books? Gracious alive, girlfriend! When I sell 10, I feel like I've died and gone to heaven.

I'm embarrassed to say that a couple times I've sold only 2 or 3 books. The most I sold was at a Alumni banquet in my hometown this past Good Friday and the following Saturday. In those two days I sold 42 books. Woo-hoo! I was walking on clouds!

You must be a wonderful author to sell that many books. Count those blessings, and...pray for me. LOL

Here's to mega sales!

Joyce DiPastena said...


When I do book signings at the Renaissance Festival, I usually only sell between 3-6 books. The problem with Costco is, I'm always worried about my publisher's expectations and that I'm not meeting them. They keep reassuring me, but still, it's intimidating when you're trying to sell for someone else, vs just yourself.