Of course, I have heard the horror stories from writers about book signings from hell where no one shows up and I lived with that anxiety for about a week! Imagine, my hometown and no one shows. Okay, I knew some close friends would be there, but the public was another story.
I showed up at the store at 4:30 p.m., much to the laughs of Marshall Smith, owner of the shop, as he pointed out to Suzanne, his sales assistant, that he predicted I’d be early. What Marshall didn’t know was that I inherited being early for everything from my father. Suzanne told me people had showed up Friday, thinking the signing was that night. Now that’s being early!
Well, at 4:45 p.m. Tom, an old sailing friend, showed up and bought 10 copies for members of his family who live off island. A good contingent from ROTARY arrived and bought copies, as did Paul Clarin (the man who took my book jacket photo), lots of old friends, and some people who just heard about the book and wanted a copy. There was also a fair turnout from my Monday lunch group, the Luncheonaires.
From years of attending book signings, I know that the average book sale during a signing is as low as 10 - 15 copies. That’s what I expect, at best, when I sign outside Key West, but Saturday the bookstore sold out its 50 copies. I had a box-and-a-half of books in my car and all but six of those sold! Marshall said he sold80 copies! When I asked if that was a good thing, he laughed and said yes.
I know Marshall deserves most of the credit, because I think the radio ads reached a lot of people, since it ran for a week and up until about 4 p.m. on April 5.
It was a high and I enjoyed singing until 7:30 p.m. and then met with many of the book buyers at the Hog’s Breath Saloon and celebrated. I think I still have writer’s cramp in my right hand, and I say that with a smile!
I also want to add that on Friday, I was on 99.5’s "Hoebee in the Morning" show and he paid me a complement, long before I arrived at the studio. Bill told listeners that Thursday night his cable TV went out, so he figured he’d skim the book, so he could talk to me about it Friday morning. Then he said the first few pages captured his interest and he read until 12:30 a.m. and had to force himself to put the book down and grabbed some sleep, since he had to be up at 3 a.m.! Hoebee said he never read a novel (or textbook) in his life! But, he loved “Chasin’ the Wind.”
I’ve known Hoebee for about 10-years and take his comments as my best review to date. The fact that he said this on the air before my arrival, I took as a major compliment. Thank you Bill Hoebee!
I will be signing this Thursday at Murder on the Beach, 7 p.m., in Delray Beach, and on Saturday, 3 p.m., at the Bookstore in the Grove, in Coconut Grove. I will sign again in Key West on April 25, 4-7 p.m., at the Hog’s Breath Saloon. If you are in town for Conch Republic Days Celebration, come on in and say hi.
*You can read the full Solares Hill feature review of “Chasin’ the Wind,” by Mark Howell, on my website: www.michaelhaskins.net.