Go big or go small?

Street marker in front of NOLA Borders

I was in New Orleans over the weekend for a celebration (is there a better city for such an occasion?) and I was able to squeeze in two book signings while I was there. One was at a big, bold Borders store in a building that used to be a mortuary. I know what you’re thinking, with the state of the publishing industry these days, the irony isn’t lost on any one that a bookstore would be in a former mortuary. Nevertheless, it was a very cool building, and I met several staff members that had helped renovate the building after Katrina and fill it book by book.

The other signing was in a funky little place called Faubourg Marginy Art and Books (FAB). Located on Frenchmen Street, just blocks from Bourbon Street, but literally a world away from the Bourbon Street vibe, FAB had the comfortable feel of a throw back book store from the 70s. It’s filled with an eclectic mix of art and books and nestled on a corner spot where owner Otis Fennell can not only watch the cast of characters that can only be found on a New Orleans street walk by, but feel the energy of the street change each day as the light fades away and night invades the soul of that very cool little corner of the world.

After both signings, a friend of mine asked me which signing I liked better – the signing in the big, beautiful Borders or hanging out on the corner of Otis’s little shop trying to drum up business from the people walking by?

Honestly, I loved them both. A signing in a place like Borders allows you to meet book lovers and introduce your work to them. There’ s the smell of coffee from the cafe, the background of mellow jazz music, and the sight of endless rows of new books fresh off the presses. At FAB, Otis and I hung out on the corner in front of the shop. He talked with people from the neighborhood, introducing me to them. I met a couple fellow writers, a radio announcer from the NOLA NPR station and other characters from the neighborhood. I also talked to a steady stream of passers-by trying to convince them to stop for a moment to take a look at my book, The Brink, and let them see for themselves that it is a good read – something worth their time.

Whether you go to the big stores for your signings, or you want to try your luck with a mom and pop shop, its the same challenge: to convince someone that they need what you are selling. Whether it’s as a unique Christmas gift, a break from the stresses and strains of everyday life, a primer on a technical topic, or as inspiration that might just change their lives, every second we spend at our book signings should be used trying to get our books into the hands of people that haven’t read us yet. Book lovers are everywhere. It’s our job to not look at just one or two places, but to seek them out wherever they may be.


One Response

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Christina Ridgley, Suzy Lynch Cummings. Suzy Lynch Cummings said: New Blog Post Go big or go small? http://bit.ly/9kKblx […]

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