My first book signing happened a few years ago. I was so excited. I called the book store several times to make sure things were on track and ask if they needed anything from me. I dropped off posters for them to hand that said when I would be there. I was nervous and excited.
I showed up.
The book store had decided to not order my books. They had them for sale at the counter to order. The lady in charge didn't know the manager had me scheduled for the day. They had no table for me. I stood at a podium in the romance section. If you haven't figured it out, I am a fantasy writer. To be placed in the romance section was confusing. I had 8 chairs in front of me as if I were giving a speech. The posters that advertised my arrival was behind next to a pillar in the side of the store. The only time you would walk near the pillar is to use the bathroom. Even then, you would have to turn away from the entrance to the bathrooms to even see the posters.
It was awful. I was the guy you avoid eye contact with so you don't feel obligated to talk to him. A few nice people stopped to ask what was going on. Luckily, I had a few good people who had showed up to support me. They took the bookmarks around and passed them out for free. One even offered to remove all the books from a table for me to use.
I was embarrassed. I felt like a failure. I sold ZERO books. Even worse, it was my birthday. When I finished cleaning up my... podium... I was supposed to go to dinner with friends and family. It was hard. I was upset. I was upset with the bookstore. I was upset with myself. I thought I would be like Ray Kinsella. I thought if I wrote it they would come. I even considered quitting writing. I had several more scheduled signings that I wanted to cancel.
I went to all my scheduled engagements. Some did ok. Some didn't
I learned. I didn't quit. I tried new things, different approaches.
I will be writing in a few weeks to explain what has worked for me.