I did my first book signing on Sunday, May 26th, at Barnes & Noble, Willow Grove. It's an exciting part of becoming an author. But I wasn't sure when I was on the way. After all, it was scheduled on Memorial day weekend and I was kind of bummed.
For one thing, I'd booked the signing to immediately follow the writers group which has been meeting there for years-- writers who I've known for years. It wasn't until shortly before Sunday that I realized it was Memorial Day weekend and just the day before that I confirmed the writers group wasn't meeting. So my expectations were just about nill. I went in to the store without a clue of how it would go
To prepare, I searched for articles on book signings. There was some good advice. Bring a sign. So I made a few signs-- two with questions and one with endorsements.
And I made a sign with a few of the endorsements:
Kall's well-researched book integrates knowledge from philosophy to economics and ecology. He shows us how, all over the world and across many fields of endeavor, we humans are organizing new and rewarding ways of acting for the common good. His book is both idealistic and realistic and gives us a vision of what we all most needhope for the future.
Mary Pipher author of Reviving Ophelia
"The bottom-up revolution is fueling tremendous change in politics, commerce, and how people relate to each other. Rob Kall's book Bottom-Up provides a powerful guide to how organizations can understand and tap bottom-up's power.
Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist
"At 350.org we've always wanted to work from the bottom up, and it's good to see people assembling a theoretical framework for understanding this decentralized approach!
Bill McKibben, 350.org
When I arrived, I learned that the sign that was supposed to be up in the store prior to the signing hadn't been made. Uh oh.
But I soldiered on. The manager on duty set me up at the table pictured above just a few feet from the front entrance of the store. She advised me that authors do best when they reach out, rather than waiting for people to come to them. So I did.
If people came within range of the table, if they didn't appear to be in a rush and on a mission, I asked them, "Do you know how the bottom-up revolution is affecting your life, or your business?" then, "Do you know what bottom-up is?"
It turns out that most people, at least people who are not my readers, (and Burl Hall's readers) do not know what bottom-up is. The first person to buy a signed, personalized copy was a woman, there with her daughter. She had me sign it to her husband, who she felt would be interested in the topic.
The second buyer was a mom, approaching the check-out with her daughter, about 13-15 years old. My questions grabbed their attention and they came to the table. I told them a little bit more about the book. The girl blurted out, "That sounds like Immanuel Kant," (I think that's who she mentioned.) We kept talking. Her mom offered to buy the book for her. She declined. She was holding a book by Ayn Rand. (Yuk.) I wasn't hopeful. Then I mentioned some of the people I'd interviewed, including Howard Zinn. Kaching! Zinn was her favorite. Her mom talked her into getting the book. And so it went. I did it for 90 minutes. It was fun. I realized that the next time, I should have copies of books by some of the people I cited in my book, certainly Howard Zinn, Fritjof Capra, Mary Pipher and Riane Eisler.
Now, I'll quote another author who sent out an email about his new book today, since the same applies to me:
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