You will often hear authors talking about how uncomfortable they are doing public appearances. I heard it on Saturday from the authors who joined me for the book signing. It isn't easy to say, "I'm wonderful, buy my book!" That requires a certain level of arrogance that doesn't come naturally, but it is a necessary part of selling books. Add to that, the typical personality of an author is someone who spends large amounts of time alone with their computer living in an imaginary world. Now you want to throw them out with the real world? And so begin the anxiety attacks. The longer you do it, the easier it comes. Does that make it easy? Not by a long shot.
There are some authors who argue that you don't need to do book signings. E-books are outpacing printed versions, and then, what is there to sign? There's still something to be said for those brick and mortar stores. It's in connecting with your readers. Talking to people who read your books. Giving people a personality to put with the name on the cover of the book.
I'm not a big name author (yet). People aren't flocking to the book stores to see me (yet). So I have to go out and introduce myself. Hand people a bookmark and invite them to come over to find out more. No pressure. I'm not going to inflict myself on someone who is browsing. They'll come in their good time if they're interested. And on Saturday, they did. I met several new people and I had a lot of interesting feedback from people who buy books. People commented on the cover. They commented on the blurb. So many people said they thought it looked interesting (and no, they weren't just being nice). That kind of feedback is helpful. They had no trouble telling me my other covers weren't as intriguing, or the blurb copy didn't hook them. (I won't even digress into the finer points of #1) trying to write a good blurb or #2) an "interesting" cover.)
So maybe the world is becoming more electronic, less social. But its days like Saturday that make being an author more interesting. Telling them about the book you put your heart and soul into writing, and seeing the glazed expression on their faces when you try to explain the next project (which you haven't yet written a good blurb for). It was also an opportunity to network with other authors who were there with me, to share our experiences.
And to make new friends.