I read at Diesel Bookstore in Oakland along with Patrick Duggan and Christine Choi as part of Monday Night Magazine’s 10th Anniversary. Back in early spring, I had contacted the editors (Jessica Wickens and Nana Twumasi) about doing a reading with them since I had no connections in the Oakland area but would be there for my friend’s wedding. They were interested, and from there, they did everything. We had a nice crowd–about 25 people or so. Mostly friends of the editors, and I had a few friends come as well.
Christine read poetry with a sound machine, and Patrick seemed mesmerized by the power of his words. I really enjoyed his work, as did my sister and brother-in-law who came along. I was given 20 minutes, and I went at the end, so I read from the novel’s Kabbadi chapter early in the book. I could tell that the audience was interested because people sighed during key moments of the passage. That is always exciting to an author. Afterward, several people came up and told me how much they enjoyed hearing my work. I sold four books.
PROS: I talked to the events coordinator at Diesel and convinced them to hold four more of my books on consignment. I also talked to another bookstore down the street (Pegasus Books) about holding two of my books on consignment. It’s important to make those connections and to always be courteous even if you don’t get what you ask for. In a way, a writer’s job is never done. We must constantly sell, sell, sell. But I am not tactless about it. I try to gauge the situation and approach accordingly. Also, read slowly, take pauses before suspenseful moments in your text, and remember to make lots of eye contact. People really respond well to it. Also, keep all of your networks and connections! I only knew Jessica and Nana from email, so it was so awesome meeting them in person, and now I have friends/connections in the Bay Area (hopefully for life). I hope to return the favor should they come to New Mexico.
CONS: The only con was that there was no real space for me to sit and sign books for people, so that may have detracted from possibly selling more copies. But the event wasn’t solely for my book, so I understood the set-up. In the future, I might ask ahead of time if I can occupy a chair or a small corner to sign books and talk to people. As it was, I was all over the place, and I saw several people who looked like they wanted to approach, but decided not to because the space wasn’t conducive to it.
A really good start to the book tour.
Acceptances/rejections during this time period: a nice, but generic rejection from JMWW, and the Moon Milk Review accepted my novel’s submission for their featured page. You can view it here.