10 Ways to Avoid Buying That Author’s Book

We’ve all been to those events, you know the ones, where local authors are set up pedaling their wares. It can be kind of uncomfortable for the average won’t-be-book-buyer. Especially when said author is located in a spot that you have to pass on your way to where you’re going. I mean, there they are sitting out in front of the bookstore in the mall, or at some festival or fair or market that has absolutely nothing to do with books. What the heck’s all that about anyway, right? What nerve, what gall. It’ kind of like being ambushed if I’m being perfectly honest. You know. You’ve felt it. It’s not like you’re expecting someone to be selling books, least of all the author of those very books.

Well, fear no more. Over the past five years of attending book signing and some of those a fore-mentioned “other events” I’ve learned a thing or two when it comes to not buying that author’s book. Actually, it’s not all that complicated. You just have to know the right thing to say and the proper way to carry yourself. Keep your wits about you and above all don’t panic. You’ll survive. I promise.

So, for all of you won’t- be-book-buyers these next 10 excuses are for you.

1. Listen to that little voice in your head. You know, the one that says, “Tell her you don’t read.” Who can argue with that? If you don’t read, you don’t read. Case closed. Keep on a walking, my friend, you’re in the clear, maybe even click your heels as you’re walking away. You’re so cool– you, you , person who just does not read.

2. Stop at her table for a few moments. Gently run you hand over the books. Appear interested, but not too, too interested. Slip in a comment such as, “One day I’ll have to invest.” The author will be giddy thinking that you’re talking about actually buying one of her books when in reality you’re talking about opening up an RRSP. She’ll never know the difference.

3. Ask her if the book in the bookstores. When she says yes, tell her that you’ll probably pick one up there some time in the future. She’ll love you for it, and by throwing that word, “probably” in there you’re getting off without a true commitment. Clever.

4. Ask for a full synopsis of the books on her table. Trust me, authors love that part. Leaf through the books one by one. Read a few passages, silently. Ask what age group it’s for. If she says young adult simply mention that your grandchildren are too young. If she says middle grade just say the opposite. She can’t argue the age-appropriateness of her books, right?

5. Remember, appearing interested will always endear that author to you. She’ll probably believe whatever you have to say. Ask if her books are fiction or non-fiction. If she says fiction, you know what you have to do. Sound rather disappointed and say, “Gee, I only read non-fiction.” If she writes non-fiction, you get the picture, tell her you only read fiction. Now if she happens to write both fiction and non-fiction you need a back-up excuse because if you don’t come up with something quickly you may just end up having to make a purchase. But have no fear, when all else fails here’s a handy, dandy excuse that will always work in a pinch…..

6. “I don’t have any cash on me or else I’d get one.” Remember, adding that little, “or else I’d get one,” will show her you’re serious. Can’t argue the no money excuse.

7. Another dandy excuse that often works well is this: Stop at her table and pretend you’ve already read her books. Her smile will be like a ray of sunshine, especially when you mention how much you enjoyed them. But for God’s sake don’t overdo it. She may just ask you what your favourite part is and the jig will be up. You’ll need make a quick exit. Fake chest pain if you must, but scram tout suite.

8. Stop at her table and introduce yourself. Tell her you have a book coming out next week. She won’t know the difference. Authors love other authors. Chances are she’ll congratulate the hell out of you because all authors know just how difficult it is to find a publisher after that book is written. And you know what, after all that congratulating is over, she won’t even care about selling her book. She’ll be just itching to buy yours. Now that’s a plan!

9. Promise to come back a little later. Find out how long she’ll be there to make sure you don’t happen to stumble on through before she’s done for the day. I mean, she’ll never see you again, right?

10. Remember, you can always distract her by talking about the weather. Weather talk always works no matter where you go. You don’t have to be weather-lady Cindy Day to appreciate the local Maritime weather. Canadians can talk forever about the weather. We’ve had plenty of practice. Throw in a, “I heard we’re going to have an early winter,” and you could keep her talking forever.  Book talk will always take a back seat to weather talk. Trust me. I’ve fallen for that one, myself, a time or two.

So there you have it, all the excuses you should ever need to avoid buying that author’s book. One final little tip I’ll leave you all with. If words happen to fail you, hey, we can’t all be wordsmiths, here’s something that will always get you out of buying that author’s book. Resist making eye contact. Keep trucking right on by that author’s table. It’s not like she’s going to jump out and stop you from passing. It’s simple, just pretend she’s not there. Make her feel invisible and she’ll probably believe she is. So long as you don’t slow your gait, you’re in for smooth sailing but, above all, remember not to look. Not even a sideways glance. If she detects even the slightest bit of acknowledgement on your part she’ll be smiling her face off to try and get your attention. She might even say hello. If you get that friendly hello all your hard work could go down the drain. Just saying.

So there you have it. 10, or actually 11, ways to avoid buying that author’s book.

Now it’s your turn. Can you think of any other ways to avoid buying that author’s book? I’d love it if you’d share some of your experiences. Or just come up with some inventive things to be silly like I did.

Emergency Book Signing–Sometimes You Have to Go That Extra Mile or Thirty

Yes, I did say emergency book signing! Sounds strange, I know, but life is filled with strange and unusually things. Some days even the smallest thing can miraculously turn into an emergency especially when there’s a book involved.

Sometimes the really cool things about being an author are the strange things that can happen on an ordinary day. Monday was such a day, ordinary and plain as white bread, not even toasted and buttered. But then I checked the messages on my phone when I got home from work. There was one from the local bookstore. (Bear in mind when I say “local” I mean it’s still about a 45 minute drive from where I am.) The owner said the most bazaar thing had just happened. A customer came in and bought the last copy of “Flying With a Broken Wing,” and the very next customer in line wanted that same book. She was calling to ask if I had books on hand and if it was possible to make some arrangements to get them. Apparently, the customer was quite disappointed to learn that the last copy ( a signed on at that) had just sold as she’d wanted it to take it to her daughter in Ontario— her daughter, as it turns out, was someone I had gone to school with. Now, there’s a bit more to this as it just so happens that this very same lady taught one of my daughters, actually shared a birthday with her, and always gave my daughter a birthday card all the while she was in elementary school. Nice, huh? I always thought so.

So here was the dilemma, the lady would really like signed copies of both my books but was leaving for Ontario in a few days. This meant the books wouldn’t arrive from the publisher, certainly not in time for me to come out and sign them, before she left. The bookstore owner suggested that I mail out the copies. I explained that I was 20 minutes from a post office and I work through the day. I chewed the situation over the next day at work and decided I’d take a drive out. The bookstore owner was going to buy my copies and keep the ones she had on order for her store. So that’s what I did. I made a quick trip out and delivered the books inscribed with a little message.

Now I know some people might think that it was silly of me to go out of my way to make sure this person got signed copies. She would have taken the books anyway (her husband was going to meet her in Ontario a few days later and the copies would be in from the publisher by that time), but sometimes you’ve just got to do what feels right and this felt like the right thing.

Have you ever noticed that Karma has a way of coming back, sometimes years later, and often in a good way? Many times, it’s those little things that make up for the disappointments we feel along the way. Having people specifically ask for my book, and to have it signed, is really an amazing thing. In the grand scheme of things, I believe all those little things add up to a great deal, at least in this author’s life!

Has anything small made your day recently? I love it when you share your stories.

I won! I won!

Okay, let me calm down for a second so  I can share my exciting news with you.

Who’s the winner of the Booker Award? That would be moi, thank you.

Admit it, for  a split  second you thought,  Hmm, does  Laura  actually mean the prestigious Booker Prize, that  International writing award any author would give their first born up to win? …Well, maybe that’s a bit extreme, but you know what I mean.  Did you see the little note below the prize that says “For those who refuse to live in the real world.” Ummm, that would be moi as well.  But listen, an author has a right to dream and dream big, right?  In the meantime I’m most  happy with my Booker Award  and the knowledge that my first born  didn’t  have to  make any sacrifices  for my  writing  career. (I’m a good mom, aren’t I?)

I was given this award by Darlene Foster, author of the Amanda series of books for children 8-12.  Check  out her  blog and you’ll  learn all about her and this great series. Darlene’s one of the nicest bloggers/authors/people I’ve met  on line. And to think we might never have crossed paths had it not been for the Country Roads anthology we were both contributors to.

Accepting this award means I’ll list five of my favourite books. Now this won’t be my five all time favourite since I couldn’t possible narrow it down to five, and I’m  also going to use this opportunity to give some shout outs to a few local books –so here I go:

Kit’s  Law  by Donna Morrissey.  This was Donna’s debut  novel and it’s a terrific read. I especially like the fact that Donna lives in my home province of Nova Scotia. I haven’t  yet met Donna but she’s on my list  of  author’s  too meet.  I came close  this fall  as she was  scheduled to come to The Inside Story  for a book signing, but had to cancel. Still hoping she makes it there. Would love to meet her.

The Birth House by Ami McKay. You know how every now and again we read a book and think, this is a book I would have liked to have written just because it seems to really speak to you in a special way?  Well, the Birth House is one of those books for me.  Ami is a fellow Nova Scotian as well. Her book was a #1 Canadian bestseller.

The Case  Against Owen Williams by Allan Donaldson.  Allan in a fellow Maritimer and lives in New Brunswick. I thought this novel well written and made me sympathetic toward a character  whom I might otherwise been indifferent to.

My next two are children’s books, and books that would also appeal to many adults as well.

Johnny Kellock Died Today by Hadley Dyer. Hadley grew up in the Annapolis Valley and even went to the same high school as me which I think is rather neat in itself. I met Hadley at a book signing some years back and she sent me some notes of encouragement at one time. A very supportive writer.

The Year Mrs. Montague Cried by Susan White. Susan is a writer from New Brunswick. I totally enjoyed this book and the fact that Susan drew on her own experience of losing her son made it so very authentic.

So there you have five books that I can’t really call my favourite, but local books I really enjoyed. I’m not going to pass this award on, but if you`d like to leave a list in the comment section of five, or four, or three….books you really enjoyed please feel free to do so.

Happy Reading!

That’s Me—Writer Groupie!

My name is Laura Best and I am a writer groupie.

I never knew this before, but apparently there IS a word for what’s ailing me( if you call it ailing) —- “writer groupie.” And doesn’t that sound totally lame? I mean anything with the word groupie attached to it. Makes you sound so…so… I don’t know…desperate.

I discovered this tidbit over at Fitch Happens. Sheree wrote that even though she’s a writer, she’s a reader first. She spoke about how precious her signed copies of books are. She openly admitted to sniffing the ink on the page. She was not ashamed.

Let me be straight about this: I have NEVER sniffed ink.(Not that I believe that ink sniffing is wrong , mind you, or even beneath me. If you’re an ink-sniffer that’s perfectly fine by me.) I’m not even sure that ink gives off an odor, not from your regular run-of-the-mill ballpoint at any rate, but who am I to argue?

The truth is, the thought never crossed my mind….. I’m just not a sniffer by nature unless it’s something that is sniffable– flowers, skin products, perfume, spices—you get my drift. My daughter is a sniffer. Whenever she opens a gift she smells it regardless of what it is. Got it from her grandmother on her father’s side. It’s a family joke or, quite possibly, a tradition. We sit around and watch each Christmas, and yes, she does it every time. Does this mean we’re strange?

Nope. I’m definitely not an ink sniffer….Yet now the thought is there, isn’t it? I do have signed books, you know.

I could deny the word— writer groupie, and yet I think the signs are there…..I show up at book signing, have my picture snapped with various authors all in hopes of creating this scrapbook for Miss Charlotte. I love meeting other authors and chatting with them. I flock to where authors are hanging out. AND I have photos to go along with my signed books from: Syr Ruus, Jan Coates, JoAnn Yhard, Helene Boudreau, Margaret Atwood, Budge Wilson, Steve Vernon, Jill MacLean, Sheree Fitch, Star Dobson, … I’m sure there are more that I’m forgetting at the moment of writing this, and there will be more in the future.

I remember when I was off signing copies of my novel. A few people came prepared to get photos so I guess I’m not the only one. It was actually kind of cool to think that someone wanted their photo snapped with me. I mean me, really. I wonder at this moment how Margaret Atwood feels, she’s probably in more scrapbooks and photo albums than any other Canadian writer.

Still, there are worse things in life I suspect. I won’t bother naming them at the moment.. I’ll just curl up on the sofa with my photos and books and resists the urge to sniff ink.

Be honest, are you a writer groupie? Do you have signed copies of books from authors that you would never part with? Have you ever sniffed the ink on a page?

If all else fails I can always sell lemonade..

I know what!!! You should open a lemonade stand and then give away a copy of your book with each glass of lemonade you sell!…..My 6 year old niece’s eyes are wide with enthusiasm as she shares her idea with me the day I was at Coles in the Halifax Shopping centre.  Hmmm… Maybe she’s got something going there. After all she’s a pretty smart cookie. Little Molly hasn’t got any suggestions for me. She’s only four and likes to giggle. She stares at me with her big brown eyes. I notice a giggle behind those eyes just waiting to jump out at the slightest provocation. There’s a lady hovering around my table, feigning interest in the book, my guess she’s really listening in on my conversation with Miss Emma. Yup, she’s smiling…..she’s heard it all. I can see the utter delight in her eyes. She’d like to hear more.

You really gotta love the honesty of a six year old, not to mention the ingenuity. I mean, I never would have thought to set up a lemonade stand….Never!   What would I call it? Perhaps the “Bitter, Sweet Lemonade Stand.” Kind of has a ring to it. Don’t you think? Although I’m not sure it would sound so appealing to anyone actually wanting a tall glass of lemonade. But what the heck, sometimes you have to go out on a limb.

So I’m thinking maybe I can talk Miss Emma into having a photo snapped with me while I’m sitting there waiting for the next person to come along wanting a signed copy of “Bitter, Sweet.”  No such luck! She wants a dollar for that privilege she tells me. Sheesh! I guess having an aunt with a published book isn’t near as exciting as you might imagine, at least to a six year old… I hope Santa realized that day what an honour was bestowed upon him when Miss Emma let him have his picture taken with her…

It was all good in the end. My two nieces returned later in the day after their visit with Santa. A bag was opened and a Mars bar was being waved in front of me. Yup…..another successful book signing…Halifax Coles, you did me well!

The Moments That Make It All Worthwhile

I have to say that every day there seems to be some highlight that brightens my day, an email or phone call that brings a smile to my face and lets me know that this whole book publishing experience is definitely worthwhile. From having my book given away for prizes last week on the local radio station, friendly email from people telling me they enjoyed the book, to people dropping into the house to get a copy of the book signed. I’ve been very busy and enjoying it all immensely.

Today I had another book signing— this time in Bridgewater. A lot of people dropped by to chat, some of them had already bought books earlier and wanted them signed, some had heard about it on the radio earlier in the week and a few friends from Dalhousie even showed up purposely because they knew I was there and wanted to show their support. One lady came by to have four books signed for Christmas presents. She has connections to Dalhousie and she said the book reminded her of certain things. She mentioned a particular passage that touched her heart. As usual some people will stop by and chat but don’t end up buying a book but as far as I’m concerned they are every bit as important as those who do. Sometimes it’s just nice to have a little talk and forget for the moment what you’re there for. And who knows these very same people may decide to pick up a copy some other time.

My favourite story for the day is of a little boy, maybe eight or nine, who was sitting on a bench beside his mother, perhaps twenty feet from the book store. He watched me for a bit and before I knew it he ran up and asked me how much the book was. I told him and he ran back to his seat beside his mother. Some time later another lady showed up and she, along with the little boy, approached the table where I was sitting. The woman and I chatted for a bit and then she told me that her grandson wanted to buy the book for his mother but she was sitting not far away. Once he decided he wanted the book for sure he ran back toward his mom and sat beside her. I saw her take some money out of her purse and give it to him. He came back and got me to sign the book and proudly walked up to the cash register to pay for it—a Christmas present for his mom. How utterly sweet. I bet she’ll sure be surprised come Christmas morning!

I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.

First day of signings

I had a really great time at my first book signings. Everyone was so polite. I found the folks at Chapters in Dartmouth extremely friendly. One lady bought a book because she shared a last name with the family in “Bitter, Sweet.” She was curious to know where the name came from and I explained that I have a problem coming up with original last names and I usually check out names in the obituary column or the phone directory. In this case I found the name in the phone book.

I’ve never had so many people smile at me in one day I’m sure. There were also people who stopped to look but decided it wasn’t “their kind of book” and that was fine. They made me laugh and I thoroughly enjoyed their visit. I love meeting new people and hearing their story. Another gentleman decided the book wasn’t for him since he only reads non-fiction but we had a good chat about the book and before the day was over he slipped a hot chocolate on the table for me. A young family stopped to explain to their children that I wrote books as the boys were just beginning to read….. As I said a very friendly bunch of people.

I had a marvelous time. Next week I’ll be at Coles in Bridgewater—- familiar territory. Hopefully it will be another interesting day!

Signings

I’m posting a list of my upcoming signings. If you happen to come by  any of these places and see me sitting there with a stack of books drop in and say hello even if you already have a signed copy. I’d love to see yah!

12-2pm, Saturday November 14 — Indigo Sunnyside Mall

3-5pm, Saturday November 14— Chapters Dartmouth

12-2pm Saturday November 21 — Coles Bridgewater

3-5pm Saturday November 28 — Coles New Minas

12-2pm, Sunday November 29 — Coles Halifax Shopping Centre

3-5pm, Sunday November 29 — Chapters Halifax

Upcoming Events

Today I received a list of dates Chapters sent my publisher for signings.  There are seven different Chapters and Coles store on the list. I’m giving this list some thought as I noticed for instance there’s a booking for Bridgewater and one for New Minas on the same day an hour and a half a part. I’m not even sure I can make it to New Minas from Bridgewater in just 90 minutes. And then of course one never knows what the roads will be like on that day as it is late in November.. I really wouldn’t want to show up late for a signing. I might see if they can change the time on that one by a half hour. It’s worth asking. I know I won’t be able to make it to all these signing dates but I’m going to do the best I can. I’ll be working too and this complicates matters as one of the signings is during the week. That’s one definitely off my list. I’m not sure if they will try to reschedule some of these or not. It is called an “author signing wish list” so we’ll see.

I’ve also been contacted by two local papers who want to do a story before the book launch. The next few months are going to be busy. And dare I say I received a parcel yesterday? I mean the parcel, the one I’ve been waiting for all this time. There were plenty of emotions going on as I struggled to open it. Boy do they tape those things up well. I was speechless, something that doesn’t happen often. What a feeling. I’ve looked at the cover countless times. It doesn’t change. A pretty sweet feeling!

So just in case anyone is wondering I’m holding out showing the book to anyone until the book launch so I guess everyone’s just going to have to wait until the 25th.

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