Today we’re following Book Country member Jessica Hawkins, contemporary romance author of The Cityscape series and the Night Fever serial), around San Francisco as she knocks an author signing event out of the park.
Today is my 5th author signing in 2 years, the San Francisco Golden Gate Author Event, which mostly consists of writers in my genre, contemporary romance, and its subgenres, like paranormal or YA. It doesn’t start until late morning, so I squeeze in a coffee and few hundred words before I have to head over to the hotel.
Set up takes about half an hour & I’ve been assigned an assistant, who helps me construct my banner and lay out my books. (I’ve brought 8 titles, so it’s harder than it looks to display them all.) Also on my table: my iPad, for my book trailer & mailing list, and to accept credit cards; tote bags, which are a great advertisement for an event like this; swag like rack cards, business cards, and buttons.
My table was between two of the most popular authors at the event, which was awesome. Here I am right after the doors open, watching all the readers line up at their tables! (You can see, I had to scribble my book prices on a Post-It. I always forget them!)
Now we’re talking. People are starting to come to my table. Signings are a great way to find new readers, but it always blows me away to meet people who’ve already read my books or know who I am. In what can be a pretty solo profession, face-to-face feedback makes me feel like a million bucks!
Halfway through the signing, I post a giveaway on Instagram. A week before the event, I told the event’s Facebook group that I’d be doing this and to follow me. The first one to the table wins a goody bag including signed books.
When the doors close, we all go about our business taking down banners, putting books away and cleaning up. My goal is to take as little home on the plane as possible, so I end up giving out the leftover paperbacks to bloggers who will run giveaways on their blogs later on.
I’m staying at the hotel after, so I head up to my room and tally up my sales. My iPad works great for setting up a spreadsheet. Half my earnings are cash, and the other half is through my Square credit card reader.
I have some down time before the next thing, which is good because I’m tired. It’s late afternoon and my hotel overlooks San Francisco, which is awesome but bright, hence the sunglasses. Since I mostly work by myself, I’ve had interaction overload today, and it isn’t over yet. I don’t nap, but I’m tempted.
This is my first time in San Francisco, and two of my closest friends from high school live here. I grab an Uber and head to Dolores Park for the last hour of sunlight. It feels good to sit in the grass and tell them about the signing and explain to their friends what self-publishing is about.
My friends drop me back at the hotel and I grab drinks with a group of other authors (pictured: Dani Hart & Mary Ting) and the coordinator. (If you’re keeping track, that’s 4 outfit changes!) This is part of the reason I attend these signings—to connect with people who’re doing what I’m doing. At each signing, I meet new authors but also see ones I’ve gotten to know at other events. Overall, I count this signing a huge success!
Jessica Hawkins grew up between the purple mountains and under the endless sun of Palm Springs, California. She studied international business at Arizona State University and has also lived in Costa Rica and New York City. To her, the most intriguing fiction is forbidden, and that’s what you’ll find in her stories. Currently, she resides wherever her head lands, which is often the unexpected (but warm) keyboard of her trusty MacBook. Connect with her on Book Country, her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.