Showing posts with label author appearance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label author appearance. Show all posts

Mar 5, 2018

Authors in Strange Situations


Image result for cartoon convict



Nobody tells you that promoting the books you write requires you to be adaptable and have a sense of humor. We picture authors jetting all over the country, sipping champagne and telling adoring fans about their latest novel, but that's not reality for the vast majority of us. I loved the story one author told about arriving at a bookstore where he had an audience of one. The fan told him he'd really liked the book, though he admitted he might not have chosen to read it except, "It was the only one they had in solitary confinement."

I haven't met any ex-cons who are fans (that I know of), but I have ended up in strange situations. I want to state here for the record that I am EXTREMELY grateful to libraries and bookstores who allow me to come for a Sit & Sign or, even better, a talk. However, it doesn't always go the way one might imagine.

*** There was the library where they'd booked two events at the same time in the same room. The other event was a League of Women Voters meeting (in a Presidential election year), so I ended up in the children's room, with those cute little 2-foot high tables and miniature chairs.
Image result for cartoon images roof collapse***I spoke once in the Library Annex, a building so old I worried about the roof collapsing. And if any of my audience had allergies to mold...








 ***Scheduled for a Meet the Author Sit & Sign, I arrived to find the librarian who'd contacted me had retired, and no one on the job seemed much interested in her program. They'd scheduled another author to give a talk at the same time, so I got to sit and watch people file into the conference room to hear him. (They didn't even have to pass by my table to get there.) I heard every word of his speech from my table in the hallway behind the door. It was very entertaining, and when he was finished I watched people leave with his book, not even aware I was there.

***I once sat in a bookstore promoting my historicals and heard a customer ask at the front desk if they had any historical mysteries. Asked what era, the woman said she liked medieval and Tudor. The clerk led the woman RIGHT PAST ME to a section where she introduced her to a few of her favorites. Ummm, chopped liver here?

***At one library my audience was very small--three people. When I started chatting with them I realized it was the librarian's mother and her two sisters. She'd called them when it became clear no one else was going to show up!
***Recently I stopped at a library where I'm scheduled to speak and found that nobody there knew about it. The librarian had been reassigned, and yes, they'd love to have me come, but could it be Saturday, not Thursday, and in the morning, not evening.* (It's a good thing I don't have a day job!)

Ask any author who's done a book tour and they'll tell you about being asked where the bathroom is, if "you" carry the New York Times, and what books you can recommend for a fourteen-year-old who really doesn't like to read. They'll tell of events where none of the employees knew an author was coming, and a table had to be cleared really quickly for her use. Of librarians who schedule a talk mostly so they can pick the author's brain about how they might get published. And about the homeless people who attend because there are refreshments afterward. And sometimes there's absolutely no one. Time doesn't fly in those cases.
Image result for cartoon bored person

Still, it's fun. I enjoy the exchange with readers and with the people who serve as guides for reading: librarians and book store clerks. It's just that authors, like the rest of the world, have to adjust their expectations once in a while. The world doesn't revolve around us; in fact, the world doesn't ever intend to.

* The event is at the Port Tampa City Library, March 10, 2018, at 11:00 a.m. I'll be speaking on mystery writers who are very good but don't have the big name recognition.


Aug 7, 2017

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.)

Everybody Lies

    First, let me say I'm aware that I make things up for a living, so writing about lying is a little hypocritical. But I don't pre...