Today I’m excited to add a personal feature to my posts here on GLIAS, one I hope to post in a regular rotation with my usual author interviews. I’ve been lucky enough, and still am lucky enough, to spend a lot of time on the road in fun places (and somber places, too) where I've learned and experienced so many things that add to my writing and my books. Naturally, sometimes my adventures distract me from my writing and I use that excuse a lot when I've procrastinated and am butting up against a deadline, but in the end, every experience helps answer the question readers ask me more often than any other: where do the ideas for my stories come from?
People also want to know exactly what it’s like to BE an author. Even though I’m not sure they truly want the answer to that question because it scares even authors, I’d love to share some insights
One thing is all the rage for getting authors and readers together lately. Book signing events are being planned and held all across the country in hotels, festivals and book stores so regularly, you can find one almost any time of year. These get togethers can be simple, hours-long signings, they can be several days long and include reader activities, and they can be expensive, elaborate parties where readers get to share lunch and goodies with a specific author.
I've recently taken part in several of these author/reader events. There’s a fun one every June in Deadwood, SD called Wild Deadwood Reads. There’s a regional one that just had its debut in Minnesota at the Mall of America. My most recent event was in Madison, WI called Mayhem in the Midwest. At each of these I’ve had the chance to meet readers—if even for a short time—and since I’m a total extrovert who gets jazzed up talking to people, I love it.
What readers may not know is just what goes into getting ready for an event that looks fairly simple and straightforward from the outside. I won’t even talk much about the actual organizers’ jobs—booking venues, arranging tables and seating charts, making a budget, sometimes choosing a charity to give proceeds to, not to mention herding the squirrels that writers turn into when allowed to congregate!They all deserve medals!
For an author, the weeks before an event are spent gathering book inventories, putting out pre-order forms, posting on reader groups, promoting, deciding on swag, making or ordering that swag, and designing a table arrangement that will attract new readers. For those of us (ahem) who aren’t the best at getting things done ahead of time—this presents a challenge and requires the equivalent of a business degree and part time job hours.
True confession: more times than once I’ve had bookmarks delivered TO the hotel. This last time, I learned how quickly a 6-foot banner could be ordered and delivered to a hotel, and how much extra it costs to ship it rush (answers: in four days and $8.99).
It’s always hard to tell if going through the contortions of booking tables, reserving hotel rooms, paying for hotel rooms, and setting up hours ahead of the event has a good return on investment. What I do know, is that it’s always fun for me, and I hope every time I participate that I’ll find a new reader or meet someone who’s read my books and is looking to meet me. Those moments make everything I do as an author totally worth hassles and deadline angst!
I’d like to know whether you’ve ever attended an author signing event and if so, did you enjoy it? Did you go to meet a certain author or did you go just to browse for potential new books? If you’ve never been, do they sound fun to you? How far would you travel to see a favorite author?
All of us here at GLIAS have been at book signings, and some of us have met our fave GLIAS readers while doing so. This is one of the things that’s now part and parcel of being a writer and I’d love to take you all along to my next event. Hope you’ll look one up and consider coming to say hi in person!
Check out my latest two books--the ones I'm touting at my author-reader events!
"Betting On Paradise"--Book #4 in my Seven Brides for Seven Cowboys series. And "Missing By a Heartbeat"--my addition to the Chandler County series!
See you on the road soon!!