The Famous Author has been dragging me with him to the slaughter lately. You know, those bookstore or library things where they've ordered stacks of BIG NUMBERS and TFA tries to sell them?
Probably most people think of booksigning events as if they were Small Movie Premiers. A crowd of fans, on-lookers, and press. By reading about what happens at the events of publishing biggies like Crais, Morrell, Lippman, they think authors draw attention. But what I saw, when TFA finally starting bringing me along in the computer case...well, it shocked me.
The first place be brought me, in San Diego, turned out eight people, not counting two high school hot rod friends who escaped retirement homes to be there. TFA sold no books. He gave one away to his chum, still a motorhead. I suppose he works on the retirement home bus.
After that, TFA let me start telling him what to say, and even speaking for him, from inside the case. Outside of Los Angeles, in the Borders store in Valencia, TFA kept me by his feet, the computer case zipper wide open so I could see and hear better. And it was easier to make my voice sound like it was coming from TFA.
Of the dozen or so people he talked to, by asking them if they liked mysteries, we sold four books. I could have done better, but TFA won't let me ask for the order, a sales industry standard.
But more than the sales training, I'm just more outgoing than TFA. He's too polite, thinks asking strangers if they like mysteries is rude behavior. I say no, not if when you're doing it, you give them the full-boat Carr grin.
Noticing the improvement in sales, and the overall improvement in his booksigning experience, TFA has allowed me more and more onto the stage with each event. Pretty soon, I hope, he will let me ask for the order.
Right now, it's still a slaughter.