Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Downers Grove

I had a decent weekend signing in front of Anderson's Bookshop in downtown Downers Grove. They provided a table and a chair; the rest was up to me. I felt like Jonathan C. Miller in Amarillo in August (an obscure reference I hope to clarify with a future book review). It's too bad the store isn't located a bit further south near the expo where everyone else was selling things. There was still a fair amount of foot traffic, however, since I was between the parking lots and the race course.

Saturday's best moment: A guy walking down the sidewalk pointed at Biking Illinois and said to his companion, "That's a great book!" as they passed. I'm not sure he even knew I was the author; a lot of people seemed to think I was a bookstore clerk. In retrospect I should have made "meet the author" signs. People inevitably became much more interested when they found out I wrote the book and wasn't merely selling it.

I stayed for 3-1/2 hours although I had planned on only two. A friend who recommended 3:00-5:00 gave good advice, though -- I sold eight books during that timeframe. On the other hand, the woman who bought the ninth book was so happy, it would have been a shame to miss her.

I returned at 12:30 on Sunday. This time I just grabbed the table (which still had my books from Saturday) and carried it outside myself. I didn't do as well as on Saturday, selling five books despite talking to a lot of potential customers. I hope to get some future sales for my efforts. Sometimes people don't have any money (though one guy on Saturday actually went to an ATM to get cash!), and other times people just need to think about it for a while. A bike shop owner asked me how to order books to sell at the shop. I had to refer her to my Web site because I didn't have the wholesale info handy.

Sunday's best moment: A young man came up to me with a piece of paper. "Can you sign this for me? My parents have your book, and they love it. They're doing every ride. They check them off as they go. Last weekend they went to Channahon." He wanted to give them the paper to put in their book, so I happily signed. I enjoy feedback like that even more than I enjoy selling books.

The street became pretty empty once the USPRO championship race started a little after 3:00, so I left at 3:30. All in all, my Downers Grove signings went well. When I spoke to the manager of Anderson's on Tuesday, he seemed pleased (he did nicely for a minimal investment of time and a table). He invited me to return next year. If I do, I'll make signs so people know who I am.

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