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The Skinny on Author Appearances

Muskegon Book Festival 7/17


Some might have a mistaken idea of how author appearances go. I know I did way back when.
I thought I'd sit at a table at the front of the bookstore and people would come in, see me, and say, "Oh, my, what have you written?" I'd tell them a little about it (it's called a pitch, and you practice it) and they'd say, "Sounds lovely. I'll take one--no, make that two. My sister likes mysteries too."

As the girl says in A Chorus Line, "That ain't it, kid."

Some ask you where the bathroom is.
Some ask if you can recommend a good children's book for their granddaughter.
Some ask if you carry the Wall Street Journal.
Some walk in a half-mile circle to avoid passing close enough for you to speak to them.
Some tell you about the book they're going to write when they get time.
Some tell you about their second cousin, who wrote a book about her near-death experience and her talk with Jesus, who sent her back because she still had things to do. It's amazing, and you can buy it on Amazon.
Petrolia, Ontario, library talk

There's nothing wrong with any of that. Anyone who knows me knows I love talking to people. The only ones who irritate me are those who can't even say hello for fear I might reach out and force them to purchase a book, but I can understand even that, since I've seen some pretty aggressive author sales tactics.

People who come to a bookstore or a library are readers, which automatically makes them good people even if they don't read mysteries or buy books from local authors. It's just that when friends say, "I see you're all over doing appearances and signings," my guess is their view of what happens at such events is like mine used to be, not like real life.

That said, I'll be at the Petoskey Library's annex building (across from the library itself) on Monday, August 14, from 4:00-5:00 pm for the 2nd annual Petoskey Author Fair. I know it sounds a little crazy that thirty authors will be there for only one hour, but that's what was decided, and I'm grateful organizers are willing to do these things for writers and readers. They say if there are people at 5:00 who haven't had a chance to meet all the authors, they'll keep the event going, so we might be there until 6:00. Who knows?

Stop by and meet a nice group of northern Michigan authors in many different genres. I'm told there will be ice cream.
Book Signing at Malice Domestic  (Washington D.C.)

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