Last Wednesday, I did a reading and signing of my novella Kate at the Odradek’s Coffee House in Kew Gardens, New York. For two months I anxiously prepared for the reading — I created an event on Facebook and invited chiefly people that I knew would in theory be able to attend the event due to their geographic proximity. During the two months leading up to the event, I posted about it and reminded people that it was important to mark themselves as attending as it would increase the visibility of the event. That did not actually come to fruition as exactly two people marked themselves as attending after I asked them to do so directly.
Leading up to the event, about fifteen people had told me that they were excited and were looking forward to it, and would certainly be there. On the night of the event itself, almost all of them either told me that something had come up and that they could not come or just did not come without letting me know that it would be the case. I did get one surprise attendee which was a pleasant way to start off the evening. I was informed by the person working at the cafe that the owner had not told her that the event was happening and that she had no idea, even though there was a sign on the door indicating that it would be there and when.
There were five attendees, though a sixth came in during the reading and ultimately asked quite a few questions. He did not stay for the part of the signing as he just wanted to know a lot of information about the book but perhaps did not have the extra six dollars to seal the deal and buy a copy for himself. I had really hoped to get a video recording of the reading however once I saw what was recorded and the terrible sound quality, I deleted the video without hesitation. I would rather have nothing than publicly post a poor quality video. For future readings, I will have to remember to not only video record it but to have a second microphone that will allow me to get a good audio recording.
There are a number of things I have learned from this. For starters, I should have invited a lot more people even after the small number of people it would take to fill the cafe told me that they would be there. It would have been better to have people cramped and in the cafe than the near emptiness that was there.
Secondly, I should have done quite a lot more advertising, and done it earlier. The people who I told about the event were also asked to please tell their friends as well. I will take a guess that nearly none did — not from malice, but just because life can be very trying and busy, and people generally will take the assumption that someone else will do it in their stead.
I can only hope that the next reading and signing goes even better!