This wasn’t my first book signing, but it was my most memorable. The event was at Conley’s Books and Music in the town of Livingston, Montana. This was going to be my first signing outside Southern Idaho or Northern Utah. Before the signing was scheduled, I was looking at different bookstores and libraries across the state of Montana. Our family tried to schedule events, whether it be a signing or presentation. We searched in Billings, Bozeman, White Hall, Dillon, and Livingston. I was rejected at every bookstore and library except for Conley’s Books and Music, who happily agreed to arrange a simple book signing. There it was, I finally had an event scheduled.
When our family arrived in Livingston, we had plenty of time for lunch and to set everything up for the event. We had a small table just outside the store. I thought that being outside was a great idea to grab attention. I had posters set up, a copy of my book on display, and my laptop was playing the music I often listened to while writing. The first few minutes of the signing was okay. I would sit on the bench and greet any passers-by with a friendly “How are you doing?” or “Good day.” I had coloring pages of Jacob and Reno that I would give to younger children. The illustrator for Rise of the Dragon’s cover (and my sister), Marissa Durfee would accompany me in an effort to attract more people. I managed to sell a few books at the very beginning, but most people would simply walk by with no interest.
Attendance to the signing grew when I was visited by Christopher Paolini, the author of The Inheritance Cycle. I was aware that he lived near Livingston and I had sent him a letter of invitation about a week before the signing. I was quite excited when he arrived. Like The Tales of Draco, Inheritance was a fantasy series involving dragons. Mr. Paolini was at the bookstore for nearly an hour. He gave me information about his experience when he wrote Eragon and valuable advice in writing and presenting. One good piece of advice that he gave me was my performance at the signing. I shouldn’t sit down and wait for people to come. I should attract them like a vendor for a game booth at a carnival. Mr. Paolini was very polite and he even purchased a signed copy of Rise of the Dragon. When he left, I decided to use his advice. I talked to any passer-by rather than expect them to talk to me. Many Inheritance fans purchased signed copies of Rise of the Dragon and appeared to be excited to read it. Though Mr. Paolini took much of my time, I would have not sold as many books had he not attended.
I am very grateful for all the support from Christopher Paolini and Conley’s Books and Music. This was my most successful book signing to date. I learned so much. My fresh advice to other new authors is to take the extra step to get people interested in your book.
There will be more events, book signings, and school/library visits. Visit The Tales of Draco facebook page for more information on future book events or visit my youtube channel to view past events.
– Jordan B. Jolley