Author Events

Last night I had the pleasure of attending a book signing at Mystery Lovers Bookshop for Laura Lippman’s newest Tess Monaghan novel, No Good Deeds. Laura is one of my top five favorite mystery authors and closer to number one than number five. She is also a wonderful speaker…entertaining and informative.

I love these author events. If you have never been to one, I have two words for you: WHY NOT?

If you are a reader, meeting the people behind the words and characters is fascinating. You get to learn about the birth of a story and why a character behaves the way he does. And most (99.9%) authors love to meet the folks who read their books, so they are very giving.

If you are a writer and don’t attend author events…well, I just don’t know what to say to you. Except SHAME ON YOU and GO! Why should you spend your precious time going to a book signing, you ask? Let me count the reasons.

1.) Networking Part 1: Have you not heard about the time I mentioned that I was a mystery writer to a big name author and she asked if I would like her agent to take a look at it? This doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. Having an opening line in your query letter that mentions one of the agent’s biggest clients referred you is going to get your pages read. Skip right over the slush pile, folks. Get read. Getting accepted is a little tougher, but getting read is a big step in the right direction.

2.) Networking Part 2: After you get that book deal, you will want some kind, preferably well-known authors to read your book and give you a blurb for your cover. If you attend book signings and take the time to chat with the author, you have taken that first step to creating a friendship so you won’t be contacting total strangers and asking for huge favors.

3.) Education Part 1: Authors at signings frequently discuss the process they use in writing. You can pick up all sorts of helpful hints and tips. And they generally take questions. Find out how someone successful has gotten where you want to be.

4.) Education Part 2: Once you’re published, you will be doing just what they are doing and attending these events will give you a good idea of what to do at your own book signings. Occasionally, you will come across an author who is a shining example of what NOT to do, but this is just as important to know.

5.) You will have a great time! And what better reason is there?

So check with your local bookstore, especially the independent bookstores, for the author events they have scheduled and mark them on your calendar. Attend as many as you can. Someday that might just be you up there and wouldn’t it be nice to have folks in the audience when it is?

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