Well, my Costco run has come to an end. As of November 28, I finished my book signings for copies of my medieval romance, Illuminations of the Heart. It was, indeed, quite the interesting adventure!
I learned that standing four hours a day, three to four days a week on a cement floor can do quite the number on your feet and back.
I learned that there really are people out there who will snap up a romance as soon as they hear the words “clean romance” attached to it.
I learned that (especially in Gilbert and Chandler) people who saw the words “Deseret Book” on my bookmarks immediately interpreted that as meaning my romance was “safe”. Well, mostly. Only one woman read the words “Deseret Book” aloud and threw the bookmark back on the table and stomped off. Guess there’s no accounting for prejudice. But bottom line is, I sold many more copies because of those words, and (as far as I know) only lost one potential sale because of them.
I learned that wherever people were shopping on Black Friday, it wasn’t in the Gilbert Costco! The day before Thanksgiving, I sold 19 books in my first two hours! The day after Thanksgiving, I only sold 2 books in the same two hours. Honestly, it was like a ghost town in the Gilbert Costco that day! I barely managed to squeeze out 12 books for the day (I managed 28 at the Chandler Costco the day before Thanksgiving), and that was only with the help of dear Anna Arnett, who came to visit me during my last 10 minutes and convinced three people to buy copies before I closed up shop shortly after 5 PM.
I learned that I have the best sister in the world. She flew all the way down from Salt Lake City to spend Thanksgiving with me, and ended up spending 16 hours of her vacation inside of Costco stores! Being a very wise and intrepid sister, she didn’t just mope around or even sit reading in a chair, as I’d suggested. No! She worked out an exercise route walking around the store while I peddled my books! And she bought us a lovely platter of baklava. Now, you can’t ask for a better sister than that! J
I learned many more things I’ve already listed in former posts, so I’m not going to repeat them here. (Go and read my former posts!)
I don’t know how many copies I sold overall, but I kept a tally of the books I signed (presuming once they were autographed, the buyers wouldn’t quite dare stick them back on the shelf) and in total, I signed 342 copies of Illuminations of the Heart over 16 days of signings. Is that a good number or not? I really don’t know. My publisher insists they are pleased, reminding me that not all readers are in the market for a medieval, or even historical, romance. (As I discovered for myself. Some of the comments made when I tried to hand out bookmarks: “I don’t read romances.” “I don’t read historical romances.” “I only read mysteries/suspense novels”. “I only read non-fiction.” “I just bought a Kindle and don’t read anything but e-books now.” “Do you have it in Spanish?” “Do you have it on CD? I only listen to books in the car.” “I don’t read. Period!” )
Regardless, I’ve decided to be happy with the number I signed. That was 342 copies of Illuminations of the Heart that most people in Costco would likely never have wandered into a Deseret Book to find, or ever heard about to go looking for it online. I’ve expanded my readership by at least 342 people, and with luck, at least some of those people will like my book and tell their friends and maybe more people will buy copies. (Though obviously not at Costco!)
So there you have it. My adventure comes to an end, and now I can concentrate on other important things like helping with the 1st grade Christmas program (I’m playing the piano for them), participating in my Church Christmas party, and maybe…maybe…clearing off my dining room table so my sister can bake me a turkey when she comes back for Christmas!
Thank you to all you lovely people who came out to support me during my signings. I love you all! And thanks to all of you who have followed my posts about my experiences. I hope you have found a grain of usefulness in at least some of them, in case you ever find yourself signing books in Costco. (And to all my wonderful author friends, I hope someday you do!)