Monday, February 06, 2012

Before the Book-Signing Comes...Huh?


As my debut release marches ever closer, the vast swath of my ignorance is becoming more and more obvious. So I’m throwing myself at the feet of this wonderful group of accomplished authors and veteran readers and asking questions about book signings.

Okay, STUPID questions about book signings.

Like: Do I bring my own pens and won’t Sharpies bleed through the pages of a paperback?

And: Do they have microphones? I don't talk very loud, I'm told by people who also claim I mumble.

And:  Do people coming to a book signing want swag? Or would it be considered a tacky and cheap attempt to ingratiate myself among the reading public even though I have a really cool swag idea? Okay, that was two questions.

And: What if nobody shows up? I mean, one of the places I’m signing is at Powell’s Books in Portland. I don’t have friends and relatives in Portland I can strong-arm into attending to make it look like a successful event. I hate to be sitting there like THIS.

And here’s a biggie: What do I say? Here’s what I thought about doing. Since my book’s set in post-Katrina New Orleans and I lived there during that unhappy event, I considered blowing up some of my photos of what things looked like, and how I used what’s in those photos as I wrote the book. Would that be dorky and too staged? Would it be depressing (these are not cheery photos)? Should I plan on reading?

And another: How long should I blither before the signing commences, assuming anyone shows up?

And, finally: Will you pleeeeeeeez come to one near you? Here are the dates my publisher has set up:
Tuesday, 4/10: Launch party in New Orleans at Garden District Books; Thursday 4/12, 5:30-7 p.m.: Katy Books, Houston, TX, 6 p.m.; Friday 4/13: Murder by the Book, Houston, 6:30 p.m.; Sunday 4/15: A Real Bookstore, Dallas, TX, 2 p.m.; Friday 4/20 Barnes & Noble (Summit), Birmingham, AL, 7 p.m.; Saturday 4/21: Alabama Book Festival, Montgomery, TBA; Saturday, 4/28: Eagle Eye Book Store, Atlanta, afternoon TBA; Thursday, May 3, Powell’s, Portland, OR, TBA; Saturday, May 5, Mysterious Galaxy, San Diego, CA, afternoon TBA.

Ideas? Answers? 

7 comments:

Lisa Dunick said...

I have no idea about most of the questions- but I'd say bring a pen that you like writing with. Bring swag to entice people. And of course I'll be at the B'ham signing! It's my oldest's Birthday weekend, so I'll probably be bringing my parents and in-laws with me, whether they want to come or not :O)

Suzanne Johnson said...

Yay, Lisa--bring them all! Glad to hear swag won't be offensive...it gives me an excuse to make jewelry that ties in with the book.

Carla Swafford said...

I'm sure people will be tickled to get swag, though it's not required. Who doesn't like free stuff. Christy and others I've seen usually have a small bowl of candy sitting in front of their books.

The pen (Sharpie) will only through the paper if you let it rest in one spot for long.

Most book signings that I've visited as a reader don't have microphones or ask you to talk -- only once did I see that and it was with Linda Howard long, long time ago.

I haven't had a book signing at a book store (my books aren't there), but from the ones I've attended there's always someone around who will talk to you.

Portland, OR is part of my territory. I'll let the guys know you're coming and maybe they'll send a wife or two to get a signed book. :-)

I'll see you in Birmingham and Montgomery!

Suzanne Johnson said...

Thanks, Carla--I'll need all the folks in Portland you can convince they NEED to hear about a book on wizards and hurricanes :-).

Chris Bailey said...

I love Parnell Hall! Are you practicing your penmanship? I can imagine some reader demanding a new book because she can't read the dedication she dictated. See you at B&N, Summit, in Birmingham.

Chris Bailey said...

No, I'm not insulting your penmanship! MINE is horrible. I type all the time, and can hardly remember how to form letters when I have to write.

Suzanne Johnson said...

Waa-ha-ha. Chris, my handwriting is AWFUL since I began working on the computer all the time, and the more I write, the more I'm likely to flub it. OMG. Now I have to worry about that! Look forward to seeing you in Bham!