When I was younger, I thought all authors lived in New York City. I imagined them walking in the big city, carrying notebooks with their ideas, going to fancy cocktail parties where they laughed and had drinks like gin and tonics.
I never imagined, though, that one day I would get to meet some of these authors. Or become friends with them. Or find out that some (many) live all over the USA and abroad. Heck, even some live in Mississippi (Faulkner is not the only author to have graced the Magnolia state.)
My author role models when I was younger were Ann M. Martin, Francine Pascal and Carolyn Keene. I dreamed of meeting them one day (and YES, I know now that Carolyn Keene was just a name- there were many writers of the Nancy Drew books. But I did not know that then at the tender age of 9!)
Books have always been an escape, a world that I want to visit as much as I can. I don’t feel good if I don’t read enough (just like I need 8 hours of sleep most nights, I need several chapters a week to keep me fully-functioning!)
Living in Mississippi, I have access to some great book signings, but not nearly as many as much larger places (Atlanta, NYC, California, and on and on) have. Janet Evanovich, Jen Lancaster, Sue Grafton, and several of my other favorite authors will never likely show up in my neck of the woods and that is ok. Because now, as a book blogger, I understand that book tours are being shortened and that some authors are not going on tour at all.
However, I cheer, clap, throw glitter around, dance like no one is watching, and yell “Go Team” when I DO see an author that I love or want to know more about making the trek to Mississippi because meeting authors is my thing. I love to meet authors! And I can talk a blue streak about the best places to eat and visit when in Mississippi and can generally remind them of some faces of bloggers they may see in other areas on tour,
How many authors have I met in my time? I never really kept count, but I’ll say the number is now over 100 (having the opportunity to attend Book Expo America helped because I was able to meet several authors in one place!) In a recent-ish blog post I did about why people should visit Greenwood, MS, I shared pictures of several authors I have met at Turnrow Book Store. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Patti Callhan Henry, Joshilyn Jackson, Mary Alice Monroe (all Southern lit authors who write books that make me happy.). I’ve met Georgia Author of the Year, Kimberly Brock, and had dinner with her in Greenwood. I met Susan Gregg Gilmore in Oxford, MS and she bought a book for me that someone stole from me in Yankee Swap since she liked my accent so much! I then saw Susan Gregg Gilmore and Lisa Patton back in Greenwood and had dinner with them to celebrate a 30-something b-day of mine!
I’ve met debut authors- Anton DiSclafani, Rita Leganski, M.O. Walsh, and Tiffany Quay Tyson. I’ve fan-girled over big authors like Kate White at Book Expo 2015 and I met childhood faves like Ann M. Martin and RL Stine at Book Expo 2014. I have met Jenny Milchman and struck up a friendship with her (she is SO supportive of Book Bloggers!) I was even with Stephanie Evanovich the night she found out that Big Girl Panties made the NYT list!
Why am I telling you this? It’s a wake-up call, a reminder that no matter where you live- if you love books and authors are coming to your book store- GO. Go if you can, go support these authors. They are traveling miles to come see readers and sometimes (I won’t tell you how many times!) I have been the only person in the room to see them. And sometimes the crowd is wrapped around the building- it’s always hard to tell with book signings!
When Stacy and Helen approached me about writing this guest post, they asked me to talk about my fav book signing (can’t pick just one- I’ve been to some cool ones in my time!) and then I thought of Wesley from Library Educated– she was attending her first signing a few months ago and wanted some tips (since I go to a fair amount!) So, here are some tips for you on how to have fun at the book signing!
Tips for Rocking a Book Signing:
- Arrive early. Not hours early, but try to get there as early as possible (this is especially important if it’s a BIG author!)
- Buy the book. Ok, I can hear you sighing- what if I already have the book? Then, try to buy a book of equal value. Or buy a book for a friend, the library, to giveaway on your blog. Some stores won’t let you get books signed if you haven’t bought the book there (it’s true- especially for events where they have tickets or are expecting a large crowd.)
- Ask questions (but stay away from the spoilers!)
- Introduce yourself when getting book signed and talk for a bit, but be mindful of others in line behind you.
- If the author lets you take pictures (some events are so large that individual pictures cannot be taken) share your pictures to social media (you don’t have to do it immediately- but at some point!)
- If you’ve spent time talking to this author over social media, remind them of that (but don’t get offended if they don’t immediately remember you- some authors talk to hundreds of fans on a weekly basis.)
- Write a review of the book on your blog, share some thoughts on social media or Amazon and B&N. All authors appreciate that.
So, in closing, I have to say that I have hoped to inspire you to get out and go to book signings and most importantly to HAVE FUN at the signing. Authors don’t bite (in fact some are very shy!)
About Tamara & Traveling With T
Book blogger behind the blog, Traveling With T, where books and bookish thoughts are discussed quite frequently. Movie fan. Many times you will find a camera in my hand. Adore my 3 rescue cats. Can generally be found tweeting up a storm. Still trying to make “Fetch” happen. Designing Women is still one of my top 5 fave shows! Proud aunt to my wonderful niece, Miss A.
Find Tamara at the following online spots:
A huge thank you goes out to Tamara for her ongoing support of The Novel Connection, and for writing sharing her tips on how to rock a book signing.
Have you had a great experience at a book signing? Do you have any tips to share with readers on how to make the most of a book event?
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