Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Bye-Bye Costco: Thanks for the Memories!


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!)

18 comments:

Marsha Ward said...

I'm glad you sold so many books, and that you've decided to be happy in your numbers. Thanks for all the updates and advice.

Cindy R. Williams said...

Good job Joyce! You did great!!!

Joyce DiPastena said...

Well, I tried. That's all I can say.

Karen Hoover said...

I keep forgetting to tell you that I picked up a copy of your book at my friend Laura's house and started reading it and it was very hard to put down. I'll definitely be adding you to my christmas list, and this is NOT my usual genre! You write great characters and I was totally drawn in.

Joyce DiPastena said...

Wow! Thanks, Karen!

Danielle Thorne said...

Wow--thanks for sharing the experience! That was fun--I enjoyed the picture and learned a lot. That is a great start--way to go on all the book sales!!

Ronda Hinrichsen said...

Yay, Joyce! I think it sounds like you did a great job. BTW, when I was up at the BYU-Idaho bookstore to sign books, I saw a student sitting in the lounge area next to the LDS fiction section reading your book. I almost said something to her, but didn't want to interrupt her reading. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm impressed with your stamina. I could never have done it that long. Your total is a great number. I'm sorry that after all your work they didn't decide to keep your book in their inventory.
Hang in and enjoy Christmas.
Margaret Turley

Joyce DiPastena said...

How cool, Ronda! Thanks for telling me! :-)

Miss Mae said...

I think it's absolutely fantastic, Joyce! Not only about signing an awesome number of books, but you've built up an incredible store of memories. Think of this as an adventure!

Valerie Ipson said...

You survived! I'm proud of you! Hope you see the results of the signings in sales for months to come.

Laura Fabiani said...

WOW, 342 books is a lot! Congrats! And thanks for sharing all you learned from your book signings at Cosco. I agree about sisters. They can be a wonderful support when you need them.

Becki said...

I'm glad it was a good experience for you Joyce!! I would be very happy with those numbers myself!

Glynis said...

Well done! Just one sale to a stranger is a great thing in my eyes.

Anne Patrick said...

Awesome job Joyce! Congratulations on your sales, and I wish you many more years of continued success!

Rachel Rager said...

I'm so excited for you and for your success, Joyce! If anyone deserves it, you do! You're an angel and your books are wonderful! I hope you still get to enjoy the wonderful blessings of your achievements. May the Lord continue to bless you! And have a wonderful Christmas!

Rachelle said...

Congrats Joyce! Thanks for sharing this journey with us.

Joyce DiPastena said...

Thank you, Rachel! And merry Christmas to you all!