Oh, wow. I just did both this week.
Saturday before last I was at Jabberwocky Books (GREAT bookstore) in Newburyport, MA (The physical model for H.P. Lovecraft's Innsmouth) doing my first actual signing for THE SILENT ARMY. I did a reading and I did a signing.
Then, this Thursday, I spent 95 minutes getting stuck in hideous traffic in an effort to take care of my reading at Boston's version of Noir At The Bar. despite the unholy traffic and the bloated prices for parking (Turns out there was a game at Fenway Park. That means financial muggings when it comes to parking. Thanks Baseball!) a good time was had and my story even managed a few chuckles.
Does that mean I have any tips for people?
Oh, sure, but not many.
First: Don't double book yourself. Before I did the signing at Jabberwocky, I also did Free Comic Book Day at Jetpack comics. Jabberwocky as I have already said is in Massachusetts. Jetpack is in Rochester, New Hampshire. Neither are that chose to my house. All told I spent around two and a half hours driving plus 7 hours being "On". It was a little tiring but I loved every minute of it.
Second: If you are going to read in public, choose carefully what you are going to read. Edit it for content and language if you're in a place where children are present or at least warn parents with an appropriate rating.
Third: Give it a TRIAL RUN. In the case of the Noir at the Bar, I was slated or a short ab\mount of time. We all were. Like, ten minutes. It's not long and you need the right story or scene to carry it off. You should also red through it because, honestly, especially in SFF, those words you make up? They sound perfect in your head, but your tongue needs to know how to say them, too. Other wise you risk tripping over said organ. Trial runs let you fix the amount of time you have and the way you say those nutso imaginary words.
Fourth: Know Your Way. Get a map, do a test drive, plan an extra 20 minutes for travel time to accommodate traffic issues, whatever it takes. Get there on time. Especially if this is a solo act. Otherwise, you're just plain being rude to the people who are waiting on you. Accidents happen and most will forgive you. (Not me. I beat on myself whenever I am late. YOU I forgive. Me? No excuses.)
Fifth: Ask your publisher. They might even be willing to send over a poster or larger version of your book cover to help the bookstore promote your appearance. Worst they can do is say no. In the event that they DO say no, you are free to call them doo doo heads, but how well that goes over depends entirely on your relationship with your publishers. This also gives them a chance to promote the events on THEIR web pages and social media sites.
Sixth: Come prepared. have the reading material to read. If you're like me, often times printing our what you will be reading makes life easier on the eyes.
Seventh: Don't Panic. Sometimes you get no crowd, sometimes you get a big crowd. Sometimes booking someone else to be at the signing with you is a good way to handle either variation of this theme. By sheer coincidence last year Christopher Golden my neighbor and friend, had a book release at the same time that I did. His novel DEAD RINGERS came out the exact same day as my novel CITY OF WONDERS. We did two signings together in different parts of Massachusetts and had a good time. I also had a Barnes and Noble ask me and several other authors to get together and have a conversation about books and also do a book signing. All three events were a blast. and I never once got stuck twiddling my thumbs. Mind you, that one cost me, because I can't leave a bookstore without buying something and all of the authors there had recommendations.
Eighth: PIMP IT. YOU know you're having a signing/reading/whatever. No one else does. Make sure they find out on Facebook, twitter, et al. Don't assume someone else will do it for you.
And of course, Ninth: In the event that nobody shows up in the first 20 minutes, figure out where you're going to eat, becasue if nothing else, you should at least get a good meal out of it.
Oh, look! Me, at my signing at Jabberwocky Books, with my cool poster that my publisher, Angry Robot, provided.
Monday, May 16, 2016
Tips for Book Signings and readings.
I write fiction, a little of everything and a lot of horror. I've written novels, comic books, roleplaying game supplements, short stories, novellas and oodles of essays on whatever strikes my fancy. That might change depending on my mood and the publishing industry. Things are getting stranger and stranger in the wonderful world of publishing and that means I get to have fun sorting through the chaos (with all the other writer-types). I have a website. This isn't it. This is where you can likely expect me to talk about upcoming projects and occasionally expect a rant or two. Not too many rants. Those take a lot of energy. In addition to writing I work as a barista, because I still haven't decided to quit my day job. Opinions are always welcome.