Sunday, August 22, 2010

Experience at the Canadian War Museum

In the spring of 2010, I came up with the idea that I should try to have a book signing at the Canadian War Museum. Some of my gook signings at Chapters stores had been so successful, I figured one at the Museum should be worthwhile. One of the keys of a successful book signing is to make contact with book buyers that have an interest in the Canadian military, and where better than at the Museum. So I sent off an email to the man who is in charge of purchasing for the joint Museum of Civilization and War Museum. After some months of discussion with him and others, they approved a limited book signing. This did not receive final approval until early August, so I chose the Saturday of 21 August, from 1 to 4 p.m.

On arriving, just before 1 p.m., I was stunned to see a crowd of of CF personnel in the Boutique, lined up to finalize their purchases. I rushed to set up my layout on the table by the door but by the time this was done, they had all left, as their buss was departing. I later learned that two busloads of CF personnel had been there that morning. I had missed the boat! Following them, the traffic through the boutique was somewhat disappointing: Families with children and others who were more of the general "tourist" types who had little or no interest in military history. In the end, I only sold five books, where I had originally hoped to sell at least 10 as I had done in my best days at Chapters stores. One interesting sale was to a Chinese exchange student, studying at the University of Toronto, who was there with a busload of Chinese tourists. We had a friendly, casual conversation and then, without prompting from me, said he wanted to buy both of my books. A pleasant surprise! Late the day, I also had a good long conversation with three people who wanted to talk abut my book and my understanding of the meaning of courage. One of them was a retired miner from Elliot Lake, in town on a holiday. It was a good conversation, but none bought any book.

So in conclusion, it showed me that the marketing and sales of books was more unpredictable than I should assume. Keep trying. Maybe we will try again at the CWM in June; and will start in the morning to perhaps catch an CF personnel who I was told always come in the morning.

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