Sunday, December 6, 2009

Celia Yeary's Successful Booksigning Party

Welcome Celia Yeary, Texas romance author!
Celia’s come to tell us about an unusual book signing she hosted for her first book.
When my first print came out, I thought an author should have a book signing. But I’d attended a few, and the concept made me nervous. I’m not shy at all, but I knew I’d have a difficult time sitting there, looking perky and cute (I’m not), somehow enticing passers-by to stop (I would feel “on stage.”) Not for me, I thought. I’ll have a book party at my house, instead.
How did you get the idea for a party?
I’m glad you asked, Amber, because other authors might want to try my method. An author who grew up here still visits her mother in the family mansion in the Historical District. She’s written three thick historical novels, and with her latest, she came home to have a tea party in the mansion in order to sell and sign her books. Well, of course, it was a grand success. I thought, if she can do it, so can I. My home is certainly not a mansion, but I do have a nice home, and I enjoy having groups here for various functions.
How much planning went in to it?
Not much, once I worked out the plan in my head.
Who did you invite and what did the invitation say?
First, let me say that I know a lot of people. I’ve lived here many years, my husband taught at the university, I taught at a private military boarding school, and I’m a member of several groups in town. This helps if you want to try a party. I didn’t want to be crass and hand an invitation to someone personally, making that person feel obligated. Instead, I used a Word document and wrote:
“I invite you to purchase my book at a slight discount. I will pay the postage. If you wish to do so, send $12.00, and I'll order the book for you. This is a two-dollar discount and I will pay the postage. Then, I will send you an invitation to my house for a Tea Party to pick up your book!” (I added the title, genre, my address, e-mail, and phone number.)

I made a Word document, two invitations to a page, printed it on pink paper, and cut in half. For a month, I took a few each time I had a group meeting of some kind. I placed the bright pink papers on a coffee table, and entry table, a desk, and during the meeting, I’d point  out the invitations and move on. I never looked to see who picked one up or who didn’t.

The checks and cash started coming in. I sold forty books. Then I had my party. Everyone
wanted the book autographed, so I did that before the party--very time-consuming.
One woman bought six books--to give five away to close friends. One bought four--for her daughters. Fifteen more people wanted the book, and even though they missed the party, I gave them the same deal. Now, I'm on my third order.

I love that you got the money ahead of time, so there was no handling of filthy cash and checks and you just had a good time.

That’s right, plus I didn’t have outstanding payments, and if a person prepaid, I knew she wanted the book. I say “she,” but three men bought the book, too! You didn’t ask, Amber, because you’re a polite person, but I’ll tell you about the money I earned. This is the most profitable way to sell a book. Yes, it’s a little work, but worth it. After I paid for the shipment and the shipping, I earned about $3.50 on each book. I would have made more, had I charged the full retail amount. Now I know I could have and every one of those buyers would have purchased a book. But I felt happy that I gave each one a little gift. Now, they’re waiting for my next one.
How many people came to the party?
Thirty-five people came. I delivered to the few who could not make the party. Three women brought their husbands, and one woman brought her teenage son who likes to write.
Can you tell us about the cost factor?
The party cost about $25. I went to a huge discount warehouse and bought pretty blue paper plates, napkins, and plastic cups. The menu consisted of Texas-shaped pretzels, assorted nuts, homemade chocolate-chip cookies, pimento cheese spread (I make this), and Texas-shaped crackers. Oh, and peach iced tea.
What are you writing now?
Several things, but this is the way I write. I never start one manuscript and write until I’m finished. I think of something else and go off in a different tangent. My currents projects are an historical love story, A Life Worth Living, set in 1918 when the Great War ended; a short western historical romance titled Painted Rock Canyon; and a short, light romance tentatively titled The Nanny and the Pro, my first attempt at an Inspirational story.
Thank you so much, Amber, for the guest spot on your successful blog. I’d love to give away a pdf of my newest release, Showdown in Southfork, a short novel for the Wayback, Texas Rodeo series for The Wild Rose Press to one lucky visitor.
Celia Yeary sometimes calls herself The Accidental Author. She only wrote science research papers in college, and adds—that was many years ago. She began writing in 2003, just “playing around,” and before she knew it, an 80,000 word novel had appeared in her files. Now, she’s addicted, just as she became addicted to playing golf at age forty. Celia and her husband travel, visit grandsons in far-away Michigan, participate in university, church, and community events, and enjoy their Texas Hill Country home.

Find Celia’s book and Free Reads at       

Celia's Contest
(Contest ends Saturday 12/12)

Leave a comment to win.a .pdf of Showdown in Southfork, 
Celia's short novel Showdown in Southfork,
(The Wild Rose Press's Wayback, Texas Rodeo series)


  1. Celia, I would have missed this since I was traveling all day Sunday except for the loop announcement. Do send me an alert next time! What a wonderful planner you are and how generous with your promotion ideas and other information. Your plan won't work for me, alas, as I am such a nomad and a loner to boot. But it is a great idea. And you have the right plan for getting the money and for not putting pressure on friends to accept the invitation. Just what I would have expected from a sensitive to others person that you are, and a shrewd business woman besides. Did I mention that I admire you a lot and I'm grateful to have you for my mentor? Linda

  2. Hi Celia and Amber,
    What a lovely interview. I loved hearing about the party foods and I've always admired your moxie for getting those books presold. You are quite the entrepreneur, Miss Celia!

  3. I wish you lived closer...I could use a good party consultant! Excellent ideas, Celia, and may the orders continue to flow in!

  4. Hello Amber and Celia! I love the idea of a book party, Celia. I really must try this when I have another print book release. Good luck to you.

  5. What a fantastic promotional idea, and so good of you to share it Celia. It's certainly an idea to think around.

    I wish you every success with the book.


  6. LINDA--how sweet you are. and I don't care if you do throw your bra into the ceiling fan, I still think you're a genteel Southern lady--you just try to disguise it by throwing your clothing around.I'm not sure how much of a mentor I am, but I've leaned on you, too. Celia

  7. MAGGIE--I'm really a copycat. If I see something I like then I'll try to do it, too. But it did work nicely.and guess what--my next one will be out in Feb. and I already have three orders--and one lady wants two copies--let's see--that's four!thanks for stopping by. Celia

  8. LIANA--Do as I do--imitate someone else' idea! Celia

  9. CINDY--you would have fun with a book party. I'll bet you know a lot of people. thank you for stopping by--Celia

  10. LINDA A.--It is a good way to sell books.Fortunatley, I live with a mathematical/accounting genius, so he takes care of my finances--and acts as my tech man, and parking lot attendant. Celia

  11. A book signing party sounds great, I couldn't do that my home it's much too small for it. but it was a great idea and I am glad it went well for you Celia!

  12. MARY--thanks bunches! I suppose it's not for everyone, for one reason or another. A couple of people have told me they don't know very many people. So--that would make it difficult. There are so many ways--Celia

  13. What a fabulous idea, Celia! I love how you presold the books and threw a party at the same time. I may have to borrow your idea. Thanks for sharing.


  14. Celia, I just LOVE the way you did this party! If I ever know enough people in this area, I'll have to copy you. ;-)

    Third order! Major congrats!!

  15. LOVE this idea. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  16. KEENA--that's why I'm posting aobut this--so you can copy it! Thanks for stopping by--Celia

  17. LORAINE--that's the downside of such a party--you must know a good amount of people. I'm lucky because I do, and also VERY LUCKY that these love me and support my projects. I do not deserve such great friends. Celia

  18. JANNIEFER--thank you for visiting! Celia

  19. Apologies--it's JENNIFER! This proves one should never type while standing up, ready to run out the door because one is late to an appointment! Sorry, Jennifer. Celia

  20. Hi Celia,
    What a great idea for a book signing. Congratuations on selling so many copies, I bet you have now built up a loyal fan base.

  21. Excellent tip, Celia! And wonderful effort on providing informative blog posts, Amber.

    Huge prize: a cache of Time-Guardian treasure. To enter, join me at:

  22. EMMA--thanks--for stopping by--knowing how busy you are with your little one!Celia

  23. Hi, MARGARET--I think I have a few fans--not sure what will happen when the next one is released.We'll see. thanks--Celia

  24. SKHYE--thanks! Yes, Amber does have a good idea with these informative posts. They're not so much all about me, me, me!Celia

  25. I agree, Celia. I always hated saying "I" in conversations because the focus is usually narcissistic. But I've found that if you use the pronoun wisely, you can help all sorts of folks! :)

  26. Wow, Celia, you could plan parties for a living! What a super idea you had, and what great results. You are one smart cookie!

    Jane x

  27. JANE--one party was enough. My husband ws the parking lot attendant, and he said next time, I'd need to hire somebody! Celia

  28. Celia,
    I love this strategy. What a great way to personalize the whole event and gain a loyal following. So much of the advice is about how to connect online, which is important too but it's nice to hear about a good ole fashion on-location event! Thanks.


  29. And thank you, Jennifer. I appreciate your kind words. Celia

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