In the last two weeks, I’ve done two booksignings for Goodnight, Dragons. They were very different in theme, place, enjoyment and number of books sold. I am trying to figure out how to make a booksigning successful.

The first booksigning took place at the book launch party. This was held in the largest room of my church. BetterWorld Books sold the books for me. My husband’s band provided lively music. My sister-in-law coordinated refreshments. After it was set up, all I needed to do was sit behind the table, sign books and enjoy conversations with friends. I met a few new people which was also enjoyable. Book count tally: 51 Goodnight, Dragons sold. 8 of my older picture books sold. I would call that successful.

The second booksigning took place at Barnes & Noble. I prepared by cutting out numerous tiny fleece blankets for the children at storytime to drape over the toy dragons they were encouraged to bring. I wrote a dragon song and my friend put out the news to her sixth graders about singing it to start off the storytime. About 7 kids agreed to do it. I practiced reading the book aloud. Barnes & Noble prepared by advertising in their newsletter and by making and displaying posters about the event many weeks ahead of time. They also had a large display of my books at the entrance to the children’s section. Three newspapers ran articles of different interviews with me and telling about the event. I”m not sure what more could have been done.

This is not to say the event was a disaster. I think it was about normal for a writer who is not a celebrity or a well-known author. Only one of the seven singers showed up, so we had a tiny, pitchy performance. None of the children brought along a dragon, so my lonely dragon was the only one draped in a blanket. There were about 7 children who sat and listened to the story, all but one of them melting away with their parents when the time came to get a book. Book count tally: 8 sold, three of them to my good neighbor. I have done worse.

But I am wondering about the usefulness of the endeavor. Was the pay-off of books sold worth the effort Barnes & Noble put into it? How much will this affect sales/impressions of Goodnight, Dragons? Was it worth my effort, not to mention my anxious stomach? Was it worth the always humbling notion that most bookstore browsers want to sidle away from me when I’m behind the signing table?

I would welcome any thoughts on the matter.


About Judith L. Roth

When I was about ten, it occurred to me that books are written by people and I was a person. I could create my favorite things–I could write books! I got a B.A. in English. My first poem was accepted for publication before I graduated. I had some success with poetry, but my real dream was to write fiction for children. My first fiction piece was accepted about 25 years after the first submission. Things you might want to know about me: I know how to persevere. I’m a third-generation California native, living in Indiana. I have two remarkable sons who are now young men,and a husband who’s supported my writing for over three decades. I love cats and currently have three of them. I love being near water–oceans, lakes, rivers all work for me. Chocolate is probably my biggest downfall. I’m exceptionally curious. (Or nosy, as my family calls it.)

2 responses »

  1. I found “Goodnight, Dragons” in the Bel Air, MD, Barnes and Noble. It was on the display rack in the kid’s section. I think most, if not all, bookbuyers (especially of childrens’ books) don’t go to a booksigning to find these. Instead, they browse the displays.
    I did once find a childrens’ book at a booksigning … just as the author was packing up to leave, so I bought it later.
    Anyway … I love “Goodnight, Dragons”! It’s for me (62 years old and still in love with picture books) and I’ve read it at least four times since I bought it over last weekend. Thanks for writing it! And thanks to the artist for such charming illustrations.

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