Book Signings: Notes from the French Quarter

These are some notes I made during my book signings this weekend at the French Quarter. I wasn’t able to make many because I was constantly talking to people. From 10 am till 4:30 both days. I had my phone cut off most of the time as I was unable to make many calls. Someone would always walk up to the table as I was talking. I did manage to talk to the Hastings Bookstore in Baton Rouge and the to Books-a-Million in Baton Rouge. The BAM has my books in and I ought to have a good signing there this next Saturday. 6-7 hours may seem like a long time to sit and talk and hustle sales, but for me the time seems to fly by. It’s the 5-6 hour drive back to Monroe afterwards that can seem long.

Journal Entry:

Friday and Saturday: January 4- 5, 2008.

Friday was bitterly cold when I left Monroe. I always like to have my table outside the store in the French Quarter (it doubles sales), so I dressed for cold weather. Friday was quite chilly, but Saturday warmed up nicely till the afternoon and temperatures dropped again. Note to self on weather: I much prefer warmer days here.

LSU Tigers are scheduled to play the Ohio Buckeyes on Monday (today), so the city was FULL of folks wearing either purple and gold or red and white. I’m told tickets were hundreds of dollars (as were many hotel rooms). Do people really have that kind of money? Anyway, the city was packed. This is one game I may break down and watch.

Sounds: I hated the loud pipe organ that played periodically. Sounded too much like a circus. And it was REALLY loud (and therefore quite annoying). A couple of local high school bands performed at the walk near Café Dumond and they were quite good. As I sat outside the Cabildo Bookstore at the Plaza de Armas (Jackson Square), I loved listening to one blues singer and guitarist I heard now and then, his pain and blues-soaked voice wafting through the air like a lost soul. Once in a while, the noise of the city would die down enough for me to hear the sound of leaves or a plastic sack rustling as the wind swept them down the street with its invisible broom.

SIGHTS AND INTERESTING PEOPLE: One never knows what will be seen here. The balloon man at Jackson Square (creating balloon sculptures) who usually wears a top hat, remembered me. (I’m sure you’ve seen him if you’ve been to the French Quarter) When he worked near me, he would say to people who passed him, “Have you met Mr. Pittman yet? World famous author. He’s my youngest son.” I’ve got to think of a comeback to that.

I also saw the gold and silver mime/statue men, some really good street musicians, and some workers at various stores who remembered me. A National Park Ranger for the Jazz Museum on Decatur looked at my book and told me that at national meeting this past November in Wichita (I think Kansas) they discussed Jim Limber and discussed my book. I also made some contacts for programs to do in the future at school. These contacts are really the most valuable part of my book signings. The amount of money an author makes on royalties is hardly worth the gas expense (especially these days). The really valuable commodity of book signings is the people you meet and the contacts they provide (as well as writing ideas). This is assuming you have a knack for gab. Store managers tell me that authors who don’t interact and talk to people don’t sell many books at signings. Sometimes they don’t sell any! You never know how these things will turn out. I do know that when you’re working hard and trying to make things happen, serendipity will come your way. I did manage to make enough personal sales to at least pay my gas expense for the trip.

Resolution #1: Next trip to the French Quarter, I’ll remember to take my camera and create a memory/photo album upon my return.

Holt Collier: I sold one Jim Limber book to a man who actually knew of Holt Collier. He recommended a book I need to obtain. What a story! You can read more about Holt Collier, famous black hunter and Yankee killer here:

Here’s two plaques dedicated to Holt Collier. I found this at

Holt Collier markers