Ever Been to an Author Signing?

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I mentioned in a post earlier this week that I’ve been to a couple of author events. They were for authors T. Jefferson Parker and Steve Hamilton. Now you may not know either of them, but they have both won two Edgars. I’ve written about the Edgars and they are a HUGE deal when it comes to mystery writing. And both of these guys have won an award twice. Not an easy feat.

Let me tell you about the actual events. They were both held in a small indie bookstore by the name ofΒ Murder by the Book here in Houston. And let me tell you, ALL of the big mystery authors who go on tour come to this store. There are a couple other indie stores in Houston who have author events, but I’d have to think that this is the most successful. Anyway, the events I attended were pretty much exactly the same. Both times the author spoke for maybe 20 minutes or a half hour and then started signing everyone’s books. The 20 minutes may not seem like much, but if you listen you can learn quite a bit about them. I know I did.

The best part for me was definitely when they signed my books. I think I got four signed by both. I don’t feel like snapping pictures, but trust me that they’re signed. AND another great thing that I learned was that both of these famous authors who have surely sold millions of books are no different from anyone else you might know. T. Jefferson Parker helped me get my hands on a couple of his books that were unavailable from any of the major retailers. And Steve Hamilton snapped a photo! How freaking cool were they?

I have some minimal experience as an author on the other side. Maybe some of you know that I had a signing at my university all the way back in November. It happened just a couple of weeks after my book was released and I had a lot of fun. I sold all but four of the books I’d taken with me. And I’d had classes with a bunch of the guys who were pretty happy to see that I’d written a book literally right out of school. Of course, I never heard anything from any of the 21 people who bought one that day. So who knows what they thought of the actual writing.

The point of this post is to tell you all that I think author events or signings are actually pretty great. I don’t think they necessarily drive many new readers the author’s way, but I’m certain that plenty of his or her regular readers will attend events year after year. And it gives the author the opportunity to interact with readers in a manner that social media or other public appearances just don’t allow.

Two things: Have you ever been to an author event? Or have you ever had one of your own?

This was from my signing. It was CJ Majors Day.

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This is NYT bestselling author Steve Hamilton. Oh my goodness. This was three years ago, I was teeny tiny with braces and just ugh.

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32 thoughts on “Ever Been to an Author Signing?

  1. I’ve had a few signings of my own and they’ve all been great. The first one was scary, my book had just come out and I am a naturally shy person. By the time of my last signing though at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Las Vegas, it was a lot easier and people actually planned to come see me! It was great to connect with librarians and bloggers who had already read my book or heard about it, and many of them tagged pictures of us or my book on social media. It’s a great experience and I think it’s important for authors to take part in πŸ™‚ Thanks for the post!

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  2. Never been to a signing. I accidentally happened upon one once while I was out shopping for books, but it was for a children’s author I didn’t know. And the store was PACKED! Remember how I said I don’t like crowds? Yeah… that was a bit frustrating. I honestly don’t know if I’d ever purposely go to one. It’s a conundrum.

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    • You were probably seeing Jeff Kinney and didn’t even know it. Of course the store was packed. Even the events for the super authors that attract hundreds would be fun for me.

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      • No, it was a woman. And it was at least six years ago, so I don’t remember her name. I’ve met a few celebrities, and it’s cool to chat with them, but I didn’t ask for their autographs, and they didn’t shove their signing hand at me. Just my personal preference, I guess. Crowds have kept me from a lot of experiences. I should probably get over that.

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      • Probably a romance author. Lol met a few celebrities!? Who!?

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      • No, not a romance author. Remember? It was a children’s author.

        Jeff Daniels, Jason Hanson (kicker for the Detroit Lions, don’t know if that counts in your book), Paula Deen, Gabrielle Carteris (from the original 90210 show. I never watched it, but met her when she came and spoke at my university), and one other person I’m not allowed to mention due to a confidentiality agreement signed during filming of a movie.

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      • Whoops. Jeff Daniels. Okay. Paula Deen. Oh wow. I don’t know why anyone anywhere would want to meet her.

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      • She was walking through her restaurant. My sister and I ate there when we visited Savannah last year. Despite the crap that went down in her life last summer, I feel bad for her. And the food rocked.

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      • And you went to her restaurant? Goodness.

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      • Man, you’re critical. Before all last year’s drama, I liked her cooking and recipes. Ignoring the fact her recipes are cholesterol on a plate, it’s pretty tasty stuff. But I told you I don’t get starstruck. They’re just people.

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  3. I’ve been to a few author events. Two were school events. The first one I listened to a guest lecture from Michael Jaime Bacerra, a short story author from SoCal. He was amazing, and so personable. I got to do a small luncheon with him and a handful of other creative writing kids.

    The second was my department chair’s small book tour when he launched his short story collection.

    And then I went and saw Brandon Sanderson in March. He spoke for about 40 minutes, and then read from one of his rough drafts of something new. Then he signed books. I was a star struck little fangirl, but my husband handled the meeting with grace and composure.

    In short, it was freaking awesome! I will always do my best to go to author events. They’re fun, and a great way to meet fellow book nerds.

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  4. Author events are both awkward and exhilerating. Awkward because the author no doubt has heard it all before, “I love your book! I’m such a fan!” and exhilerating because most authors are quiet celebrities and most we haven’t heard of (but have achievements, like mentioned). Coming that close to someone who has met with success, especially being a writer, is cool–for lack of a better word.

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    • I don’t think it’s awkward for an author to hear about someone who not only read his or her books, but rather enjoyed them. I just think it’s great for all involved.

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      • It can be more awkward for us getting the book signed because we end up stumbling over our words of appreciation ☺️and I agree–great connection time for all!

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  5. You know I’ve been to them!!! πŸ™‚ all YA or children’s authors though!

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  6. Ah yes, the glory days of braces. πŸ™‚
    And you don’t have photos of the signed books?! Ya got nothing. πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜›

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  7. I just stumbled upon Joe Hill’s signing this week – it was only my second signing ever. I honestly don’t look out for these things – but I really should! He was very funny and down to earth. I wrote a little post about it because I just couldn’t believe my luck at being in the right place at the right time. He took a picture with me too – it was very nice. He was very chatty with everyone as he signed.

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    • I don’t know him, but I thought your post was great. My Barnes and Noble never has signings. I think authors appreciate their readers coming to see them just as much as their readers appreciate the authors doing the tour and talking with them.

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      • Thanks! The turnout was smaller than I expected, but that made it more intimate. I wish I’d thought of a question for the Q&A but I was happy listening. This is the first B&N I’ve lived near that holds events. If you’re into horror you should check him out. But yeah, it totally made my night!

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