Lessons from a Book-Signing Disaster

March 2003
by Gen and Kelly Tanabe

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In the past year and a half, we have driven 25,000 miles to speak at more than 130 bookstores across the country about our four books on getting into–and getting money for–college. We’ve learned a lot from our experiences. But the most useful lessons came from events that weren’t the most successful. OK, the best lessons came from downright disasters!

We remember, for instance, the time that we walked into one bookstore and were pleased to see that the staff had already set up several rows of chairs, a microphone, and what looked like a small display of books. But then we noticed something strange. The books were not actual books but color copies of our covers propped up on stands. As the manager came over to greet us, he apologized. The books had not arrived but he felt that the covers were a good substitute. The manager must have read the horror on our faces since he immediately added, “Of course, we don’t expect anyone to pay $16.95 for a cover, but they can special order.”

We hadn’t traveled more than a thousand miles thinking we were going to speak at a bookstore that wouldn’t be selling actual copies of our books. We thanked the manager for his offer and suggested that we bring in some of the books that we had with us. That night, we had a large crowd and sold more than 35 copies from our own supply.

This was just one of the experiences that taught us a valuable lesson. In fact, our tour taught us numerou…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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