Author Signings: What do you think about them?

Hello and Happy Saturday! Last night I had the privilege and pleasure to dine with a few good friends and wonderful authors Michelle Zink and Malinda Lo. I fascinated, listening to their conversation about books, writing and then the subject of author signings. They both wanted to know what we as readers/book event attendees enjoy about events.

As we all pondered this subject and gave our opinions and ideas. I had seemed to internalize this subject and it stayed in my brain all night and when I woke up this morning I wanted to know what others think about this subject.

Aside from the fact that your going to meet an author that you adore and will travel minutes to even hours to see in person.

What makes for a good book event?
What made it stand out for you?
What are we hoping to come away with from the experience?
What do we wish would have happened instead?
Do you like having the author read from their book? Or do you enjoy a Q & A session?
Getting Swag!!

I know that I enjoy it when an author has audience participation, when they ask us the questions. I love finding out about their journey into writing and any advice they give to aspiring authors. I also love swag; bookmarks, pens, rubber bracelets and such but that is just a bonus and not expected at any time I go to see an author. My favorite part is getting to ask that particular author a question that has burned within me since I read their book and then getting it answered....hazzzah! I will admit to disliking questions being asked of the author that have NOTHING to do with their book, their craft or the subject at hand. I think it takes away from someone that has a genuine question.

So, now the ball is in your court. What do you think about them? :)

10 comments on "Author Signings: What do you think about them?"

Rebecca Herman wrote: September 19, 2009 at 2:36 PM

Well I like book signings, but we have very few around here and I'm just not willing to travel far for them - most of the closest ones are in NY City which is expensive and a pain to get to. I'd definitley go to more if we had more around here.

Steph Su wrote: September 19, 2009 at 3:40 PM

What makes for a good book event? An approachable author, interactive audience, lots of time for interesting questions.

What made it stand out for you? Meeting authors and realizing that they're totally chill and in love with you--YOU! an ordinary person--for showing up to their events.

What are we hoping to come away with from the experience? New, book-loving friends!

What do we wish would have happened instead? More time to talk with authors after an event. Organization is sometimes messy and confusing.

Do you like having the author read from their book? Or do you enjoy a Q & A session? I enjoy Q&A more, but that's because it's an unfortunate fact that many people are just not very good at public speaking. If the author is an engaging reader, then by all means, reading out loud is great!

Getting Swag!! That's just extra goodness. :)

And I'm very jealous that you got to eat dinner with Michelle and Malinda, two of my favorite YA authors. :)

Cindy wrote: September 19, 2009 at 5:58 PM

What makes for a good book event?
-If the store is organized for the event. I have gone to a few where no one knows where the line starts or ends etc. Having extra books near the signing area. An author who is approachable and not just there to sell their books. Authors who will interact with the reader.

What made it stand out for you?
-The few authors I met who were so excited you were there and not in a rush to push you through and spoke to you like a person and not a dollar figure. (Does that make sense?)

What are we hoping to come away with from the experience?
-With a new appreciation for the author and realizing for the mere few minutes I was important. A few new book loving friends.

What do we wish would have happened instead?
-A chance to talk more with the author after wards. A little more organization on the stores part and with the people working with the authors.

Do you like having the author read from their book? Or do you enjoy a Q & A session?
-If the author is good with public speaking then I don't mind them reading. I recently went to one author signing and he bored me to death. Public Speaking is not for him.

Getting Swag!!
- I would love to get swag but sadly I have never gotten anything.

Lexie wrote: September 19, 2009 at 6:30 PM

I've always wondered about this too, since I adore author signings and love going to them and meeting authors!

What makes for a good book event?
--Plenty of space for the author to sign/read. I've been to signings where the author has too much space and where the author has no space whatsoever. I like it better if there's too much space, even if its a modest crowd. It makes me feel less packed in like a sardine. I also like when the author has time to chat with the readers and its not just 'Hi I'm here to read to you, sign and then off I go!'

What made it stand out for you?
--Since I tend to frequent the same authors for signings, I always enjoy it when they remember me. Aimee Friedman, who I met in 2007 BEA while she was an editor for another author, remembered me when I met her at this year's BEA for her book. That made me smile in happiness.

What are we hoping to come away with from the experience?
--I like to hear behind the scenes things and how the author reads the books. Little known outtakes that sort of thing. I like connecting with the author and letting him/her know just how greatly I enjoy their books. Or meeting new authors, who I haven't read before.

What do we wish would have happened instead?
--I know its unreasonable, but more time to talk and less pushy people. I can remember one lady I nearly popped her cork because she was standing behind me, tapping her foot, while I asked the author questions. She finally told me to hurry up because some people wanted a chance to see the author. The signing had another three hours and there was only four other people waiting.

Do you like having the author read from their book? Or do you enjoy a Q & A session?
--I love hearing the author read, because the author will emphasis things I would ordinarily not think about or say the names properly (which is always nice). I like Q&A sessions, but I almost never come up with questions XD

Getting Swag!!
--Almost the best thing ever. Almost. I love swag.

Shalonda wrote: September 19, 2009 at 8:32 PM

I am fairly easy to please. I love going to author events. The best events are those during which the author is friendly and genuine, not stiff and unapproachable.

I love Q&A opportunities, although I can never think of any good questions to ask. And I like to hear the author read aloud. It really makes the character's voice more authentic.

Michelle Zink wrote: September 20, 2009 at 8:32 AM

I had such an amazing time with you this past couple of days, Nancy!

This is a great post, and I've been reading the comments with great interest. I think I must be a nightmare for signing organizers, because you know how much I love to talk with each and every person! If the line isn't too long and I'm signing a book for someone's friend or relative, I even try to ask a little about the person who will be receiving the book so I can personalize my message.

I can only imagine the organizers checking their watch and thinking, "Is she ever going to LEAVE?!"


I <3 you guyssss!

The Book Vixen wrote: September 20, 2009 at 4:40 PM

I've only been to one signing. I just happened to be at the right place at the right time; I didn't know about it ahead of time. Candace Bushnell was at B&N promoting One Fifth Avenue. I love Sex and the City so I bought her current book and had her sign it. She did a reading and a Q&A (I was too embarrassed to ask her anything). I got a picture of her with my camera phone while I was waiting in line.

All in all, it was a very neat experience. I would love to attend more author signings. So, now to answer your questions:

What makes for a good book event?
A reading, a Q&A, signing and the author being okay with taking pictures with fans.

What made it stand out for you?
That is was a big-name author. I was just lucky to be at the right place at the right time.

What are we hoping to come away with from the experience?
Getting an author to sign your book is something special, something personal. Like a keepsake. Plus you want to be able to walk away getting to know the author more.

What do we wish would have happened instead?
Nothing. I don't really know what to expect, since I've only been to one.

Do you like having the author read from their book? Or do you enjoy a Q & A session?

Okie wrote: September 22, 2009 at 10:08 AM

I've been to a handful of signings and haven't really had a "bad" experience yet. True, some have been better than others but generally speaking, it's always a great experience for me just to meet the PERSON behind the writing. That's usually the main thing I hope to get out of a meet-n-greet.

If an author is approachable and 'human', then it was a successful event in my mind. I've met some authors who certainly felt a little reticent or hard to get anything out of and I can fully relate to that. Even these authors tried very hard to make sure those who came felt welcomed and appreciated.

I also love a good Q&A session with the author or even just having the author talk for a few minutes about some of the more common questions (how'd you get started? who inspired you? what's your writing process? what do you like to read? etc).

Most of my favorite events involve a VERY long, VERY slow moving line up to the signing table...but once you reach the table, the author spends time chatting and making sure you feel like this is YOUR moment and there's no rush.

I agree that it's fun to hear an author read from a book but it depends on the passage and the type of writing. For some writing, it doesn't make much difference to me...but there are some cases where the way an author reads the work will change some of the elements for me...make me look at something in a different light. So that's interesting.

Kay Cassidy wrote: September 27, 2009 at 2:03 PM

What a great discussion starter, Nancy! I love hearing what readers like and don't like about signings. I think group signings are a lot of fun, especially if the authors are chummy. It really lends itself to creating a warm, friendly atmosphere.

Leslie wrote: October 3, 2009 at 1:08 PM

What makes for a good book event?
-Just the fact that you get to meet an author that you enjoy and you get to learn a little about them and stuff =)

What made it stand out for you?
-I guess how relaxed and awesome these authors are! Especially when they let you take pictures with them! It feels like you're meeting a big big celebrity atleast to me lol

What are we hoping to come away with from the experience?
-I guess learning something different about the authors, maybe not necessarly about their books. Or even sometimes just what inspired them.

Do you like having the author read from their book? Or do you enjoy a Q & A session?
Getting Swag!!

I love it when authors read from their books! but on the other hand i also love Q&A sessions and of coarse getting some Swag! :D

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