Saturday, June 9, 2007

Another fun 'first' to share...

I always have a few rolls of these great Autographed by the Author stickers on hand that I use at book readings & signings. They're classy and much nicer than any of the stickers book stores have offered to use on my novels in the past. By the way, if you'd like to order some, this is where I buy mine at

I carry a dozen in
my purse because I often run into people
in my home town and from the nearby area (at hockey games, soccer tournaments, etc.) who ask if I'll autograph a book for them, and now I'm armed and ready to do so!

That said, last week I went to Wal-Mart in the city to pick up a few things. When I got there, I wandered through the book section and there on the shelf were five copies of The Tin Box and eight copies of The Penny Tree. Better yet, two women were standing side-by-side reading the back flap copy of The Penny Tree when I came down the aisle.

Doing my best not to act like a stalker, I asked if they thought they were going to buy the book. They gave me a funny look and then one of them pointed up to the shelf and said, "There are lots more right there!" Clearly, they thought I wanted their copy. Not so, I said. I'm the author. I wrote the book, so if they were going to buy it, I'd be happy to autograph it for them.

Within moments, they overcame their suspicions about me and
I pulled out my stickers, slapped one on two books (they each wanted their own by then) and we began chatting like old friends. As I autographed their books, a small crowd gathered around us, curious -- and word quickly spread.

Soon a trusty Wal-Mart staffer came skidding around the corner to see what all the fuss was about. Before I could say anything, the eight or ten women gathered around me explained who I was and what I was doing. And you know what happened then? He asked for ID to prove I was the author (remember, neither book has an author photo in the back at my request) and we went through this awkward little "handing over of the drivers license" etc., before his walkie-talkie wielding I think we've got a nutcase on the premises demeanor changed.

Needless to say, by the time I'd finished signing books and left Wal-Mart, wearing my old sweatshirt, leggings and flip flops, there was only one of my books left on their shelves: a lone copy of The Tin Box, autographed, stickered, and ready to be adopted by some lucky shopper another day!


ORION said...

ha ha ha ha ha
I can just see it. Does Walmart think psychotics run around pretending to be authors???
Are authors psychotic????
I am smug as Holly said she has a present for me.
Count them.
Rolls of these stickers.
It will take me five years to use them up...

LadyBronco said...

What a fun story!

Thanks for sharing, Holly. :0)

Anissa said...

That's great! I love it! :)

wordman17 said...

That's like getting "carded" by some loser wearing a vest and polyester pants. How did you
keep a straight face?!

Those women must've been
pretty tickled, huh? I'll bet
it felt good doing that, sorta
like a good samaratin thing
nobody's expecting. Cool beans!

Christine said...

I just sent you an email
last week telling you
how much I loved The
Penny Tree and I was so
nervous doing it.

However, if an author
walked up to me and offered
to autograph their book that
I was buying, I'd have to hang onto something or I'd fall over. My stomach would be flip flopping
in every direction. What a fun story this is!

Holly Kennedy said...

ORION -- Maybe we aren't psychotic but I think we walk a fine line of eccentricity some days! There are, btw, 2000 labels on two rolls so you'll run out soon with Lottery coming out in August. We should bet on when that'll happen...

Ladybronco -- Thanks for stopping by. I hope your writing is going well!

Anissa -- Again, you're popping up in a few scenes in this book today and I keep laughing :)

Wordman17 -- It wasn't hard to keep a straight face. I was more embarassed than anything. But, yes, it does give you a little private -- and happy - thrill to do things like this and surprise readers, of course.

Christine -- I think it's so interesting how some people assume authors are unapproachable celebrity-types. Some may ACT like they are, but I think the bulk of published authors aren't floating around feeding their egos all the time. Most have their feet firmly on the ground and are real people who love to know their work is being appreciated.

Robin L. said...

Holly - that's a fantastic story! I'll bet those shoppers will treasure their books forever!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

JA Konrath would be proud of you, indeed! That's his style of selling, and you hit on it organically!

Congratulations on not just all those sales, but having the guts to start talking to them and the grace to make yourself a store full of new friends. Hopefully, they'll all buy extra copies for their friends.

The Anti-Wife said...

Not only did you sell your own books, you gave these women a wonderful and very personal memory. Now they have a story to tell too!

Anonymous said...

You rock. Seriously.

Wendy Roberts said...

Oh awesome story! And here I thought I was the only author who shopped in sweatpants and flip flops LOL.

Note to self: Carry ID when stalking book shelves.

Holly Kennedy said...

Robin l -- I hope so. I love doing unexpected things like that, and I honestly think readers get a kick out of it. I would have 5 years ago before I was published!

Susan Helene Gottfried -- Thanks for the comment. Yes and let's also hope they tell everyone they know the story from their POV and spread the word about my work -- it'd make good cocktail party chat.

Anti-wife -- I agree 100%

Seeley -- Nah! I'm just determined to become a brand name in people's eyes eventually and I believe this is where that process must start :)

Wendy -- Too funny, huh? Getting asked for ID in a book store!! I felt like someone had turned a HUGE spotlight on me while the rest of Wal-Mart went dark...

L.C.McCabe said...


That is a great story, and thanks for the link to the stickers. I'll have to send that to my writers club newsletter editor. I'm sure our members would like to have their own stickers and not have to depend on bookstores to have them.

Or stores that sell books as well as a dozen tube socks for 5.99.



kyla-dale said...

Gak!!! I didn't think you posted on weekends so didn't bother popping by until now and... here you are, iwth a Saturday post.
Sweet story. If an author ever did that to me in a Wal-Mart, I'd still be standing there w/my mouth open like a fish *lol*

Kim Stagliano said...

Awesome!!! Did you have to work up your courage?? Or did you just go for it?

Therese said...

What a great tale! Fame and infamy (or almost) all in one. :)

pal from edmonton said...

You kill me.
I can see you doing this!
I can PICTURE it like I was standing there with you, Hol!!

Oh, how I woulda loved to have seen those ladies faces. Next time you're in Edmonton, we're going to Wal-Mart girl!

Larramie said...

The moral of this tale: Always be prepared for those spontaneous book signings!

Love it, Holly. ;o)

Melissa Marsh said...

What an awesome story. I bet you never realized you were going to do an impromptu book signing when you left the house! And if you're anything like me, I never get dressed up to go to Wal-Mart. I've often headed to grocery store wearing my pajama pants, sneakers, and flip flops. ;-)

Anonymous said...

This is a super post. Good on you.

Heidi the Hick said...

I LOVE this!

My first thought when I saw the photos was a very smug, "Hee hee hee I have both of those. Autographed. Lucky me!"

My mom did a double take when I handed the books to her. "You got them autographed?"

"Yup. That's what authors do. They sign their books for people."

Cuz, like, authors are REAL PEOPLE who go shopping in their sweatsuits and flip flops!

Holly I think it's great that you say you're determined to be a name brand author. It's part of the plan, and you're on the plan.

Demon Hunter said...

What a great story, Holly! I cannot wait to do that. I love Wal-Mart, by the way. Too cool and fun! :*)

emily cotler said...

Hi Holly,

What a wonderful story! I am thrilled that our stickers have become such a helpful tool for you.

We are revamping our ordering process and our whole stickers site in the next few months. We built it three years ago very quickly, but I am aware that the user-friendly aspect isn't as good as it could be (or as good as we are known for). So thanks for muddling through it and thanks to everyone else who does the same.

Emily (a.k.a. the sticker lady)

Zany Mom said...

Guess I'm gonna hafta head to Wal-Mart to find your book. Borders didn't have it, and now Barnes and Noble didn't have it. :(

If my Wal-Mart doesn't have it I'm just gonna hafta get it from Amazon. Didn't realize finding a book would be so tough! They must be selling like hotcakes! ;)

Kanani said...

Hi Holly!
I love that you're in the trenches!
Can I come too? Can I bring my Writerly Pause friends, too?

And if you want to come visit us, I think we'd be happy to take you to all the local Wal Marts!

Holly Kennedy said...

Linda -- Honestly, having stickers on hand like this has come in handy more than a few times for me!

Kyla-dale -- My posts are all over the place, but I'm trying to do one every 2-3 days.

Kim -- I always just go for it.
Once you've done it a few times, it's a cake walk!

Therese -- Yup, the creation of memories wearing a sweatshirt and flip flops. I guess that's fame, of some sort? *smile*

Pal in edmonton -- I'm lost. Who are you? Julie? Donna? Quit being so shy and at least leave your initials!

Larramie and Melissa -- I always head out for groceries, or for Wal-Mart runs super casual. It's the only way to go, impromptu book signings or not :)

Steve g -- thanks for coming by again. I hope things are well at your end :)

Holly Kennedy said...

Heidi -- You're such a sweetheart! Thanks again for sending me your comments on both books. I know I still haven't replied to your email, but my nose is barely above the waterline these days. Hope your mom enjoys reading them!

Demon Hunter -- Maybe we could start a grass roots campaign where Wal-Mart starts inviting authors into their stores for readings! Ha! That'd be so fun...

Emily -- they really are great stickers :)

Zany mom -- Wal-Mart in Canada carries both books, but who knows about the states?! It all depends on regions, etc. When I want a book, I'm ordering more and more from amazon. I get it in 2-3 days and I don't have to worry about it. Works great for me!

Kanani -- If I'm ever out your way, we'll have to do a few Wal-Mart runs!