Saturday, December 20, 2008 By Aaron Brown
This "book signing" business takes some getting used to. Unlike "readings" or "lectures" where people show up at a prescribed time to hear you spew your whatnot and then buy your book, signings occur in a big open area filled with people who likely will never read, much less buy your book. Today, I learned some things about "the biz" and about myself.
- I learned my new low when I said the following: "It's not history, it's histotainment."
- I was getting laughs (but not sales) making jokes about my book being the perfect holiday gift for any human being currently alive. Then these nice folks walked into the mall and looked at me curiously. "Get all your shopping done at once," I joked! They said nothing and then walked into the Chinese buffet across the way. Oh. They're there for food. I have no food.
- I got into a long-winded explanation of the book with a lady who then asked me if I had ever read Patrick McManus. I hadn't. She then went into the store, got a McManus book and showed it to me. "These are the books my son reads. You should read them too." Sale: Fail!
- No fooling, people in northern Minnesota really dig game warden books. All "regional" books are judged in comparison to game warden books like Tom Chapin's "Poachers Caught." It's all got me seriously considering taking up poaching. Not just "my family is hungry" poaching, but blatant "I hate animals and the government" poaching. That will move some books!
- People responded well when I said the line "I am a fifth generation Iron Ranger, the first generation to never work in a mine." Most others lines led to blank stares, especially when I said that I worked in Hibbing.
- A whole lot of the people who walk in and out of book stores have unpublished novels they would like to shop around. None of them want to buy books.