Thursday, February 26, 2015

Highlights & Lowlights: Author Events / Book Signings

Highlight: Behind-the-scenes info on your favorite books. I love hearing from authors about the writing process. Kristin Cashore's process with Bitterblue was especially interesting to hear. It's always cool to learn more about how the novel came to be, plus more about the novel itself. 

Lowlight: Lines. LINES OF PEOPLE EVERYWHERE. Depending on how famous the author is, things might get a little crazy. And by a little crazy, I mean very crazy. Pushing, shoving, stepping on toes, it can get out hand and a little ridiculous (fortunately, I've experienced very little of this). 

Lowlight: No Seating. Yeah, I'll be the one standing in the back of the room awkwardly trying to hold a huge bag of books. 

Lowlight: You can't hear anything. This tends to only happen at big events, where nothing is done to ensure we can actually hear the author. Or when there's a technical issue with the microphone. 

Highlight: One-on-one time. I actually don't have much to say here. I did chat with Lauren Oliver a way back when she toured for Before I Fall, and that was fun. But even when the crowds are small, I usually have to leave early, so I normally miss out on having a quick chat with authors. But, if you can snag it, chatting with your favorite author (even for a short time) is so much fun! 

Kimberly Derting, Jessi Kirby, Suzanne Young, Sarah Ockler, Shannon Messenger, Morgan Matson

Highlight: Authors. SO MANY AUTHORS. Book signings are a chance to stalk and stare awkwardly at meet your favorite authors and some new-to-you authors. It's fun to be able to put a face and personality to a name, and especially wonderful if the event features more than one author. More authors = more fun.

Lowlight: Social awkwardness. Maybe it's just me, but I'm incredibly awkward at book signings. I usually only know one person, if I'm lucky, and I hardly ever know what to say to the author beyond YOUR BOOK IS SO AMAZING. I usually just stand quietly by them, and mumble something nice...*sighs*

Highlight: Meet other bookworms / have bookish conversations. You're already all there for the same reason, so the book is at least one conversation starter! It's nice being able to talk about the books I love with people who love them, too.

Lowlight: You forget to have an author sign your book. You see that picture with all of the authors? Yes? That is the event where I forgot to ask Morgan Matson to sign my copy of Second Chance Summer. Which I bought, in that bookstore, on that day. I became so overwhelmed with all of the authors, I didn't realize until I was home that I never actually handed it to her to sign. That's one of my many epic book blogger fail moments. *cries*

Highlight: Bookish swag. Author events are the best places to get awesome bookish swag. I attended a Gayle Forman + Jess Rothenburg + Nina LaCour + Stephanie Perkisn event back in 2012, and it was awesome. I went home with cool posters, buttons, and bookmarks! At another event, I received a tote bag. At a Leigh Bardugo event, I snagged some cool buttons! It's a nice thing that authors / publishers / bookstores sometimes do in order to reward people who come out and see the authors.

Lowlight: Q & A's, where you can't ask questions. Some Q&A's are great, but sometimes the questions are so boring and I wish they would allow a few from the audience.

Highlight: Q & A's, where you can ask questions. It's always nice when the audience can ask questions, especially since you never quite know what someone will ask.

Highlight: Finding out what the author's are writing next. And if you're super demanding lucky, they might even share a little excerpt, title, or some other secret information about their next novel.

What are some of your highlights / lowlights for author events? 

Let me know in the comments!


  1. Awesome post! I think what I love about signings the most is hearing about what the author has in the works, meeting other bookish people, and all the fun swag! :D The one on one time is nice, but like you, I'm a total awkward turtle when it comes to facing my fave authors! Please tell me you're going to ALA in SF, Lea! It's the mother of all signing events (talk about lines everywhere!! lol).

    1. "I'm a total awkward turtle when it comes to facing my fave authors" - awkward turtle! Love that wording, because it's so true.

      I'm considering going to SF's ALA, but it's a bit up in the air right now. It depends on whether or not I can manage to get the $60 together just to even get inside. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll be able to swing it, because I've never been to ALA before!

      But I am going to YALLWEST (Saturday only), since I managed to bribe a relative into going with me ;) Are you going?

  2. I have been to a few author events and I am usually awkward at all of them. It was really nice to hear John Green and Ally Carter talk about their writing and the importance of libraries (they were both at PLA conferences I attended) and I enjoyed listening to Deanna Raybourn talk about her historical research. I did get to talk to John Green briefly (he called me a cool aunt for getting a signed copy of The Fault in Our Stars for my step niece) and I also talked to Ally Carter. My favorite author moment was meeting Susanna Kearsley and getting my picture taken with her. When I got home I realized that I already had an older signed copy of her book that someone had given me so I didn't need the new one I brought home!

    For me meeting an author is like meeting a celebrity because they are celebrities to readers. At least I've never had an author experience like poor Hazel does with Peter Van Houten in The Fault in Our Stars and I hope you haven't either :)

    1. I'm glad I'm apparently not the only awkward bookworm at events!

      "When I got home I realized that I already had an older signed copy of her book that someone had given me so I didn't need the new one I brought home!" - I've also done that! An easy mistake ;)

      Agreed! I hardly care at all about celebrities (actors, singers, etc), but authors? I'm always a little in awe of them.

      Oh no, thank goodness. It'd be such a disappointment if an author ever turned out to be like PVH!

  3. You have definitely described my experience at book signings. I am so awkward at them. It's horrible. Even if I know people there, I always come late (blame my toddler), so I am searching the room for them like some weirdo the entire time. I always have a plan to say the most amazing things to authors, but then when I am actually faced with seeing them, I sort of clam up. I do love to hear the backstory on their writing process and their experiences as a writer. I know Gayle Forman and A.S. King is coming to my neighborhood next month, so I am hoping to go, but I am sure I will be, like you said, the girl in the back with a bag of books. That's me for sure! Great post, Lea!

    1. I feel like we should all form a support group for awkward bookworms at book events. We can come up with solutions to our awkwardness!

      It's always so much fun to hear about the writing process. OOH! Gayle is a fun author to see, and I'm AS King is fabulous too (love her work). Hope you can go!

      You can always spot the book bloggers, because we always show up with a mountain of books! ;)

  4. I'm awkward at signings too. Like I can't believe I'm in front of authors who have created works that my nerdy heart adores. And I tell myself to CALM THE HELL DOWN because they are regular people too. But then I can't think of anything to say except "I love your work thank youuuuuu" *o* Oh I love when they have cute promotional stuff like buttons, bookmarks or notepads! I'm not a big fan of posters though. I hoard bookmarks and buttons like a dragon >:D the coolest swag I've gotten so far has been a package of tissues by Corrine Jackson when she was releasing IF I LIE. The package has an image of the cover and she was like "because it's a tearjerker and you'll need these!" Aha. So clever. ^_^b

    I like when authors describe their process of writing and ESPECIALLY when they talk about cut scenes/plot points. I also find it fun when they get asked what books they like and they turn into fangirls (or fanboys) lol. :)

    1. I don't even know why I'm so awkward at book signings. Online / Twitter, I can interact with them no problem. But once I'm standing in front of them, it's like I don't even know how to talk like a normal person anymore. So glad I'm not the only one!! :D

      "I hoard bookmarks and buttons like a dragon" - DON'T WE ALL. Love bookmarks and buttons! They are my weakness.

      Oh, that tissue pack is smart swag!

      " I also find it fun when they get asked what books they like and they turn into fangirls (or fanboys) lol. :)" - That is always the best!

  5. Gorgeous post Lea. <3 This is all kinds of awesome. You are so lucky for getting to see so many authors so often :D I'm so jealous of you. <3 Living in Norway sucks :p Though I did go to America in the summer of 2012, first and only time, and Ascendio was in Orlando the same time I was there. <3 So I went. And it cost WAY TOO MUCH :( I'm depressed about it. Sigh. But it was also all kinds of amazing. I got to meet Veronica Roth, Beth Revis and Michelle Hodkin :D It was awesome. <3 But yeah. So expensive :\ And it was my first time talking English out loud, lol, so it was a bit awkward for me :p but I'm still happy about it :) ANYWAY. Gorgeous post sweetie. <3 I love reading your thoughts about author events :)

  6. I would totally be all awkward. I actually haven't been to an event but need to change that