A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

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Monday, September 12, 2016

What About A Book Signing?

Do you remember the good old days when a famous author came to town and people lined the street to get their book(s) signed? Now, I realize that in some cases that still holds true, because of course, mega famous authors are going to be a huge draw.

I look at the RWA literacy signing and think about the excitement all the readers have at not just seeing one favorite author, but potentially a dozen of them. It doesn't get much better than that. But what about smaller conferences or library events? Do authors sell as many books at smaller events?

It seems as if a new trend is happening. Book signings are giving way to author events. What's the difference? Well, apparently the competition is so stiff these days, that authors are being put in the position of buying their readers. And surprisingly or not surprisingly, many are lining up at the chance to participate... Authors and readers alike.

It's almost not enough to write a good book. I mean, sure, it's great to write a good book, but getting it into readers' hands is the tricky part. I guess it always has been. But now, authors are wining and dining their readers, plying them with gifts in hopes of keeping them and attracting new readers in the process. Sure, authors have done contests and giveaways and I'm sure those will always be around, but this next level of seducing readers is... I don't know... I'll let you supply the adjective.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not condemning these events. I'm just wondering how far an author has to go these days. Is this going to be the new thing? Is the book we slave over not enough any more?

So where else can authors go to sell books? I guess it depends on their target audience. I'm going to the San Diego Women's Expo September 17 & 18. I figure if my target audience is women from 18-118 then I may as well give it a shot. I'll be there with my friend and designer, Grace Grant, who's started up her own clothing line called Fill4Style. Since I love her designs and she loves my books, we decided to combine forces. Women's Expos are held all over the country, so it will be interesting to see how it goes.

What about you? What are your thoughts on book signings vs. author events? Have you been to any out of the box places where you've either had a book signed or signed one yourself? 


jean harrington said...

Dee J., Out of the box signings? Several months ago,I did post here at NYUS about The Writer's domain, held in a local furniture store and featuring several authors. We all had our own "domain" set up to enhance our particular type of book. Since my Murders by Design feature Deva Dunne, an interior Designer as amateur sleuth, this setting was perfect and I had a great two days there.

Also the Miromar Malls in Estero, Florida, offers local authors an annual event and sets us up outside with piped-in music and a chance for readings from our books. Again, a fun time, but mall shoppers not as interested in buying books as they are in T-shirts. Still, who knows how many people go home with out bookmarks, postcards, etc., and look into our books at a later date? Every little bit helps!

Anne Marie Becker said...

I love the idea of pairing up with someone at the expo. Sounds like it'll be less stressful and hopefully more fun that way. I have an author friend who signs at a local spa every so often, and gives away a spa package. Not sure how successful that's been for her, but I think she has sold a few books. I've been trying to find where I fit, since I write darker type romantic stuff, so spas and such don't really match my style. But I do enjoy the author events more than doing a single signing. I'd be afraid nobody would show up for just me! LOL I attended the Tucson Book Festival last year, which is a huge event and am planning to go again this year. But yeah, the RWA event is almost too big, and I get lost in the crowd.

Rita said...

Dee this is so interesting. I remember Jean’s post about the book signing at the furniture store and thought that was a good idea also. I do believe a Woman’s Expo will be a good place to gain visibility. In the mid-west and NE fall arts and crafts festivals are very popular. I’ve had a couple of friends say they’ve had great success selling at these types of events. My feeling is we have to keep trying to get out name out there in other ways besides author forums. As for you and Grace why not have your heroines wear her clothes? Describe the heroine’s outfit as one of her designs and she can prop your book up in her shop or post it on her web page. I think cross pollination promo is rather fantastic. Good luck at the Expo.

Dee J. said...

Hi Jean,

Wow! You definitely nailed an out of the box signing! And so awesome that it works for your book! I agree, every little bit helps! Thanks for popping in!

Hi Anne Marie,

I'll be attending the California Dreamin' conference next March so I'll be missing RWA next summer. I'm thinking about filling in with another smaller conference somewhere so maybe I'll give Tucson a looksie. Sounds like it was fun. Thanks for dropping by!

Hi Rita,

OMG! Rita, I can't believe I never thought of that! I wear her stuff at author events, but I never thought of dressing my characters in Grace's clothes. You are a smart cookie! Thanks for the idea! Hopefully the expo will be a success for both of us. Thanks for stopping in!

Cathy Perkins said...

Love the cross promo with the clothes! Good luck with the Expo!

A friend of mine hits all the craft shows across the Gulf coast and because of his personality, he sells a lot of books.
Me? Not so much. A couple of local fairs have contacted me and asked me to take a booth Maybe in the future but not right now.

I have thought about the Tucson Book Festival. We might have a quorum (and a group table/booth?)

Dee J. said...

Hi Cathy,

It would be SO MUCH FUN to get a booth together! We should absolutely discuss that possibility. I can see it now...
A NYUS booth. Fun stuff!! Thanks for stopping in!

Clare London said...

I help organise an annual conference in the UK for fans and authors of LGBT fiction (which includes my own romance books) which has become a great networking and community event over the last 6 years. We do have an author signing/selling session but I don't think it's a primary purpose of the event. Publishers who sponsor us also have a table all weekend, and they sell more. But really, I think it has to be specifically targetted to get high sales. I'm thinking of the RT signing that I went to last year, like others have attended RWA. It needs to be an event attended by readers who are already in the mood! :)

Next year I'm helping organise the first MM romance book signing in the UK, so wish me luck! We're going to base it on the popular and successful MF Romance signings in the US, and hope that readers turn up :)

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