I didn't know what to expect; I had not done any other book signings. A deep-down fear was that I would sit at the table and no one would stop or buy a book! It turned out that my fear of sitting in solitude was in vain, thanks to the Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA), publicist Ronald Whittington of Whittington PR Marketing and Public Relations, the Florida Times-Union book editor, Brandy Hilboldt-Allport, and the Times-Union Drive Section editor, Joe DeSalvo.
It all started late last summer when the book editor ran a favorable review of my book. (I have to admit that seeing that positive book review created a warm feeling in me!)
After that article was published, the Drive Section editor, Joe DeSalvo called me and asked if I would write an article on RVing for the paper to help promote the St. John's County RV Show, set for October. He also put me in touch with Ron Whittington, who then arranged for me to do a book signing for that fall show.
Ron promoted the show and the book signing. And Joe published my article, "RVing by the Book," on the front page of the Drive Section on September 30. Unfortunately, both the book signing and the RV show had to be canceled because of Hurricane Matthew, which blew through the area. That RV show could not be rescheduled.
The Jacksonville show was scheduled for Feb. 9-12, and Ron again arranged for me to sign and sell books at the show. This time, the weather cooperated. The sunny skies, low humidity, and mild temperature attracted record crowds. The day that I signed books, about 4,000 people showed up.
Thanks to FRVTA's Patty Flanagan, who coordinated the Jacksonville event, the table I was assigned at the show was placed so that everyone who entered the show passed by it. And they had to pass by it again on the way out. I could not have asked for better exposure.
My husband, Jim Cullipher, helped me with the book signing by setting up a tripod with a poster of the book on it and by being my cashier. Nearly everyone who walked by the table read the sign and chuckled, especially experienced RVers. A few remarks were:
- "I didn't back into the palm tree; I backed into the house!"
- "We backed into a water spigot once. Water all over!" and
- "I bought your book, and I felt your pain when you backed into the palm tree."
And people did buy the book. One couple came back to our table after touring RVs and said, "We had to come back to get the book. We talked to three different couples who bought it and they said we absolutely had to have it." That was, perhaps, the most gratifying sale of the day.
In two weeks, I get to sign books again as a finale to presentations I will be making at the Stratton & Company Retirement Summit, to be held at the University of North Florida, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., February 25. The free event is open to the public, but reservations are required, since lunch will be served.
Don't Back into the Palm Tree! is available on Amazon.
Until next time,
Your Reluctant RoVer,