An opportunity to “meet the Author” and pick up a signed copy of my books is coming this week to the East Valley. This coming Saturday, August, 15 I will be signing in Mesa at Latter Day Cottage from 10 AM to 2 PM. The bookstore is located in a strip mall at the northeast corner of University Drive and Lindsay Road. I hope to see some friends and make new acquaintances there.
An interesting thing happened the evening before the museum signing. I mentioned this on Facebook, but had some of the details wrong. My son Keith, who lives in the Gila Valley, called me and asked to lay aside two copies of each of my books, so he could pick them up for the Mayor of Safford, Chris Gibbs, who would not be able to come to the signing. Some time ago Mayor Gibbs had a conversation with a fellow member, from Oregon, of a professional organization who told him about Saints & Sinners, giving it a good endorsement. The Mayor had forgotten about it until he saw the article on my signing in the Courier. He called Keith and asked if he and I were related, then asked that he get two signed copies of each book, one for him and one for his brother Garth. Of course I was only too happy to comply with the request, and Keith picked up the books to deliver.
This is an example of the power of person to person communication in advertising. When I talk to people about my books about half the time they first bought one because a friend told them about it. If you like a book, or a movie, or anything else, the best thing you can do to insure that product or enterprise succeeds is to tell others about it.
Critical reviews by professional editors, writers, or readers are important, but often do not agree with popular opinion; people value the opinion of a friend who shares their interest more than they do that of a professional critic. That’s why many shows that are panned by critics become big hits; readers do the same thing. The may not know all the technical and technique skills of writing, but they know what they like. To me, if I like a story, it is not because of the cleaver writing, though I can appreciate that, but because the story, simply as a story, appeals to me.
That is what is so great about reader reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, etc.- They are people saying what they enjoyed, and it carries weight with other readers. So if you like my books, please say so on those review pages, on social media, and as you chat with friends!
Again my brother Bill travelled with me to the Pima signing, and the conversation coming and going (that’s about six hours) was wonderful. He is also a tremendous help during the signing, chatting with people about the books, taking care of things that need to be done, and interceding to draw a dominating visitor into conversing with him, so others have a chance to chat as I sign their books.
I enjoyed seeing several repeat buyers, as well a meeting some new ones. It was a real treat to visit with two of my work friends from the Phelps Dodge days, Larry McDaniel, and Robert Reed and his lovely wife. I worked on many intense multi-year projects with them and treasure their friendship and wisdom.
Early response to The Baleful Owl has been most gratifying; I always worry that readers will not be as happy with the new book as the last. Several have used terms like “excellent,” “my favorite,” and “it reminds me of Tony Hillerman.” To them thank you for reading my story and for sharing your thoughtful comments.