Thursday, October 22, 2009

Book Signings, Part II

I don't do book signings where I sit at a table in a bookstore. Even if I did and followed the experienced writers' guidelines, like come with balloons and candy, walk around cornering customers and thrusting your book into their hands, that kind of event would be pure hell for me.

I love to do book signings that involve panel presentations in front of a group of readers/writers. It's fun to talk about my journey to publication, my book, why I wrote it, and some of my little "surprises" after publication.

What I've found is that by doing a panel with two or three other YA authors, we have a varied audience, a surprisingly good turnout, lots of questions, and a chance to network with bloggers as well as book sellers.

Here's how we structure our cooperative events:

1) Each writer talks about 15 minutes. This talk includes what I've said in the first graph and usually a short reading from his or her book.

2) Sometimes we talk about our favorite characters and why they are so appealing, reading excerpts to give the audience an example of that character. We change this topic depending on what the book seller wants. Some other options: effective dialog, building tension in a scene, description to set the mood.

3) The wrap up is Q & A that usually lasts another 10 to 15 minutes.

4) The bookseller usually offers some kind of snack and beverage, so even after the Q & A and the signing, people stay and there's an opportunity to talk.

Does anyone agree/disagree with me on the "table in the corner" event? Have you had good experiences doing that kind of signing? How about readers? Do you go over to the authors in the store and talk to them? Just curious.


  1. Other than at writer's conferences, I have never been to a book signing! Our town is pretty isolated and book signings are a rarity. If the author was someone I had read and liked I would definitely go up and talk to them. I think the panel idea is fantastic; then the whole event isn't sitting on your shoulders alone.

  2. Actually I think I wouldn't mind either way for the book signings!

  3. I have yet to do it, but I like your suggestions. I think I would be more comfortable in a panel, and I like that you get diverse audiences and questions that way. I've never cared to be cornered in a bookstore by an author that I didn't come to see. It feels like a sales pitch. Recently an author's teenage daughter chased me down a YA aisle to talk up her mom's book. Didn't feel right to me.

  4. Interesting . . . all of your responses. I appreciated Melhig who is open to talking to an author she likes. Kelly (I love her gregarious nature.)who would always approach a person at that table--great. I found Tricia's experience close to what I fear. I can't see me or anyone near and dear chasing a customer down the aisle. :(

    Thanks for the input.

  5. Should I ever get to the point of doing a book-signing...I think I'd like the panel better as I tend to be reserved by myself and bit more open/gregarious when with a group.

  6. Now this is the kind of book signing I'd prefer to attend and be in (not that we ever have anything like that where I live). I used to be a drug rep and ever so often had to do hospital displays. That means sitting at a table somewhere in the hospital (some times by the physicians' lounge) and pray for some small miracle so that a physician would stop to talk to you. And more importantly, one who was your target. Mostly, I just had curious patients who had nothing better to do than to stop and talk to me while they were hanging out of their hospital gowns. Lovely, I know. To me, that's what the non-panels books signing are like unless your book is hot.(okay, I'm imagining this since I don't have a published book, yet).

    Great posts on book signings. :)


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