This weekend, along with two other authors from Nebraska, Wynter S.K. and Jacqueline Winters , I (on left) attended the Wild Deadwood Reads book signing in Deadwood, South Dakota. And I had a wonderful time all around.
Book signings are both a great way for readers to get to meet some of their favorite authors and for authors to meet new readers and maybe get a little time to recharge their “writing batteries”.
This past weekend’s event really had some wonderful opportunities for readers and author to mingle. Train rides into the Black Hills. Trips to see Mount Rushmore. A PBR Rodeo event with talented cowboys and a behind-the-chutes tour with entertaining clowns (ahem–entertainers as their now called) and information from a bull breeder. And ghost tours that landed some interesting pictures and contacts by possible spirits. And then there was the signing, a well-organized event that I enjoyed and appreciated how much work it is to actually organize a signing event. The organizers did a great job.
With that said, over the last two years, I’ve collected some tips and hints for authors and readers to help make the most of an event.
- Don’t go to sell books. That is setting yourself up for failure. Go to meet other authors and to share your love of writing with people of like minds and readers who enjoy reading in your genre.
- Be flexible. Plans change, tables get moved, things don’t fit. You will forget something (me-my silver signing pen, so I went with bright colors). Be willing to adapt. Take the mistakes and issues in stride, it will make for a more enjoyable event.
- Introduce yourself to at least three new authors and get to know them a little better. I met a lot of lovely authors, Tina Susedik, Amanda McIntyre, PJ Fiala, Lizbeth Selvig. And one of my favorites, Lorelei James. Authors know what other authors are going through. And when you forget something, they will come to the rescue for you. We are a family and care for each other.
- Take time to explore the city and eat the local fare. We had some wonderful ribeyes last night and took a lovely stroll around the downtown area. Take some time to people watch. Get some inspiration. I found inspiration at the rodeo, a new storyline was blaring me in the face and I’m ready to get started on it.
- Consider making your books easy to purchase at $10 each, and rewarded multiple purchases–buy three for $25. Yes, this might mean taking a loss, but it can lead to dedicated readers and future sales. And remember, a happy reader will tell other readers.
- Take a chance on new-to-you authors. Yes, there are those favorites that you’ll want to get a signed book from, but please don’t dismiss the talent of authors who might be new to you.
- Ask questions. Authors love to answer questions about their writing, books, and characters. If you like a certain genre or storyline, let them know. Help them to help you. And I promise, if I don’t think my stories are great for you, I will suggest one of the other authors at the event. Not everyone loves LGBT romance, understandable, so if you like suspense, I’ll tell you who I like at the event.
- If you’ve read an author’s books prior to the event, tell them. You might get a discount on the paperback. If they’re new to you, tell them. You might find someone new to love.
- Bring an extra bag for books. Cash is good, but most authors will take cards. Think about gifts. Does your friend love reading? Books are great for birthdays, holidays, and just friendship.
- If you see an author in the town having a drink, pull up a chair and have a chat. We don’t talk about books all the time. We do have other interests, too. We’d love to get to know you, too.
Okay, lastly, enjoy the event and if the organizers have other events scheduled, go to one or more. Mingle and just enjoy getting away for a day.
Not every event will be successful from a earnings perspective, but as long as you keep a positive attitude and look for the silver linings it will be successful in other ways.
See you next week!