I don’t text and drive, but I must admit that I’ve had more than a few meals while behind the wheel of the BookMobile over the years. If I’m due for a book event at noon, I usually pack a lunch and eat while traveling. Hey, it saves money, maximizes my time, and even allows me to eat healthy. Then, instead of having to look for something to eat right before my event, I can hop into the store and immediately start sizing up potential book buyers!

I don’t know that there’s an art to working with walk-up traffic or not, but my author John M. Floyd and I have done a ton of signings over the years where nearly all sales are dependent on selling to customers who don’t know us and haven’t read our work. I arm my authors for such occasions with foldout brochures and tell them to introduce themselves to the folks browsing about, and it works–John and I have sold lots of books over the years by reaching out like that…instead of waiting for them to come to us.

In addition to being a good friend, John is a fantastic writer. Mystery/suspense short fiction is his specialty, and he was the 2007 winner of the coveted Derringer Award. Dogwood Press has published three excellent, book-length collections of his stories: Rainbow’s End (and other stories) in 2006, Midnight in 2008, and Clockwork in 2011. His next collection, Deception, is set for a spring 2013 release. 

Would you buy a book from this man? You should…

It was great fun to hang out with my cousin Jeanie Ables of Vidalia, Louisiana when I traveled to Natchez, Mississippi last weekend to sign in the Turning Pages booth at the Natchez Convention Center. Owner Mary Emrick and her staff were among many vendors at a Christmas Open House event, so I had plenty of chances to meet and greet and walk-up traffic. Not only does Jeanie very generously buy my books, she’s also just as enthusiastic as me about visiting with people and waved over a bunch of her friends. The backdrop of the little booth was decorated so well it looked just as charming as Turning Pages Books itself on Franklin Street in Natchez.

The perfect stocking stuffers!

The next trip was to Pontotoc, Mississippi this past Thursday for a book talk at the Pontotoc County Library. Talk about a loyal Friends of the library group–there’s almost always a roomful of folks present, and I was very grateful considering how chilly it was. Former Mississippi Supreme Court justice Jim Roberts and his wife, Rose, very kindly bought all three copies of the Oakdale series, and it was great to visit with him after the program and hear a couple of funny stories. Judy McNeece, who heads up the system of library branches in the Pontotoc area, did her usual outstanding job of getting the word out about my talk–there were cute flyers on display inside and outside the library (and the street sign in front of the library).

I was very grateful that folks in Pontotoc didn’t throw fruits and vegetables at the sign until after the program.