Friday, June 5, 2009

To Sign or not to Sign

Book signings. They are one of the things people think of when they think of authors, but I've never been big on them--for myself that is. In fact, I've never done one solo. I've done the big group ones at RT and RWA national, smaller groups at smaller conferences (I have one of those this weekend.), and ones with a couple of friends, but never alone.

Some authors go out of there way to do signings. Spend days calling around or visiting to set them up because they believe it will get their books into the stores, make friends with the booksellers and sell books.

But I don't--or I don't think signings are the best way to accomplish those things. First, I don't want forty copies of my books which very likely won't sell ordered into a store. That may sound crazy, but if a book store orders forty copies and sells three, what happen to the rest? Sure they may keep some around, but 37? No, those babies are getting stripped and sent back. So far as making friends with booksellers? There are other ways, one of which I'll go into in a bit. But you do actually sell books, right? Maybe, if you are really comfortable with doing that--with approaching each customer with exactly the right mix of not bothering and here's my book. Even after a very successful career in sales, I'm not.

So, I don't do signings. I do, however, sign stock. Signing stock is quick, easy and doesn't require me standing by myself in heels for two hours. For stock signings, you just drop in whenever, ask if they have your books and if you can sign them. I've never had a store turn me down and usually they are really happy to have me. (This would be the making friends part.) And you leave behind autographed books for anyone who might actually want one. It is grand.

So, today I will be doing FIVE signings. None of them organized, but I will see my books in the wild, meet some lovely people who love books and leave behind copies of Amazon Ink with my signature for anyone who really wants one. And I will have a good time doing it. You can't beat that.

How about you? Do you like signed books? How many actual author signings do you go to? What does it take to get you to go to a signing? And if you see some author you've never heard of standing next to a table of books at the mall, do you walk up or run the other way? (I have literally seen a woman break into a run when she realized my friend was an author selling books.)

Let me know, and if you are in Green Bay stop by Borders or Barnes & Noble this weekend to see if I've been through!


Ann Aguirre said...

I like signing stock for the same reasons. Maybe if I were better known I would enjoy signings. But unless it's at RT or RWA, signings just don't rock my world.

Kimberly B. said...

I like signed books, and it's particularly nice when I get to meet the author and have him/her sign my book. However, it's also nice when I pick up a book because it sounds interesting, and it just so happens to be signed. Woo hoo-bonus!
I actually prefer when authors not only sign their books, but also read or answer questions about them. In fact, I've worked at bookstores for years, and I've known people to become interested in and purchase books after they heard the author reading. However, it cuts both ways---if the signing is set up in the middle of the store it can get in the way of customers purchasing other books. And ordering multiple copies of a book just for a signing can create a huge burden when it comes time to return them, if all the copies don't sell.

Melissa said...

Excellent post. But I have to say, I've gone to many, many book signings....near and far. And not only have I made friends with authors, but other readers who I've met online. And at MOST of those signings, there were multi authors. I remember Lora Leigh and JR Ward telling me that author signings can be very lonely, so you always want at least more than one. But many times when I've gone to see only one author at a multi signing, I've wound up buying at least one, if not more of every other author there. And discovered authors I LOVE now. I actually met Sherrilyn Kenyon back in the pre Dark Hunter days, and have been devoted fan since. And guess what? She always remembers me by name, and asks about my daughter....My point is that I think signings can be a great thing for an author...but better done in packs, for both fans and authors!!

Lori Devoti said...

Checking in late. :)
I totally agree Ann, maybe when we are famous. ;-) I have funny experiences though, like when I was signing Guardian's Keep which had my favorite cover--man w/hairy chest and open shirt. Women would actually divert their eyes and look embarassed.
Kimberly, I remember finding a signed hardcover of one of John Sandford's book at the Minneapolis airport. I was pee in my pants thrilled. (yes, I'm a geek.)
Melissa, Sherrilyn Kenyon is at the conference I'm at right now and she's signing tonight (me too). Are you anywhere near Green Bay?