Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday Salon: Book Signings

I attended a book signing this past Tuesday. Okay, so that's not quite true. I stopped in at the bookstore hoping to find a particular book and there just happened to be an author there, signing her books. I thought of author Gayle Trent and her advice to walk right up and say hello even if I might not want to buy the author's book. Easier said than done. Not the walking up or saying hello part, but the not buying part. I'm easily swayed into buying by kindness, especially when the author is standing right there in front of me, with hope in his or her eyes. I hate to disappoint, you see.

It actually turned out well though. As I browsed the shelves, author Sharon Lewis Koho approached me with a little postcard, describing each of her books. She didn't linger, just a simple hello and introduction, offer of the card, and on she went to the next person. I suppose there are some who might find her approach pushy or annoying, however, I thought it was a brilliant idea. This gave me a chance to decide if I wanted to take the time to drop by her table and take a closer look at her books or not.

I did stop by her table. I wanted so much to say more to her than I did, but as usual, I was tongue tied. She had spent year writing the first book and it was obvious a lot of love went into it. The story wasn't quite finished after that first book, and so she went on to right the sequel and final book. It was the Alaskan setting that most attracted me to her books, admittedly. After giving the books my first paragraph test and deciding to take a chance on them, Mrs. Koho asked if I wanted her to sign the two books, and I, of course, agreed.

I never did find the book I originally was looking for.

Have you ever happened on a book signing in progress, one you hadn't set out to attend? If so, did you stop and check out the author's work or pass on by?

The coworker I convinced to try Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire Series has been on my case for months now to read Stephanie Meyer's Twilight. With the movie coming out this week, I finally am going to cave in. I tried to explain to her why this might not be a good idea, but she insists and, since she did try one of my favorite authors' books (and ended up loving them), I figure I should return the favor and give her favorite author a try. Wish me luck.

In the meantime, I am enjoying a murder mystery at the moment called Blackbird, Farewell by Robert Greer. If everything works out as planned, I will be posting an interview with the author at the end of the week along with my review of the book. I have an extra copy of the book that is looking for a home; so be on the watch for the giveaway.

Be sure and stop in tomorrow to read my review of E.A. Benedek's spy thriller Red Sea. Later in the week, I will be reviewing Jennie Shortridge's Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe and posting my interview with the author.

Week in Review:
Review of Shot Girl by Karen E. Olson
Guest Post by Author Karen E. Olson: So Have You Heard About The Red, White and Blue Pickle?
Review of The House on Tradd Street by Karen White
Bookish Chatter and Then Some

Happy Reading!

A quick reminder: It is that time of year again! Nymeth and Dewey have joined together to host this year's annual Book Blogger's Christmas Swap. The deadline to enter is on Tuesday, November 18th; so you had better hurry if you are interested. It is open internationally.

'Tis the fire season in Southern California again. I wanted to publicly thank those who have expressed concern for my family and let everyone who might be wondering know that my husband, furkids and I are fine. The Triangle Complex Fire hasn't been an actual threat to us, thank goodness. Please say a prayer or think good thoughts for my friends and loved ones who are in the path of the Triangle Complex Fire and the other wildfires that are threatening lives and homes.


  1. Well, Gayle Trent has made an impression with her advice on more than just me! :) I now think about that every time I walk in a bookstore. My intentions haven't been put to the test yet, but I think I'm ready. However, I really like Sharon Lewis Koho's idea of the little postcard with the descriptions of her books. It takes the pressure off of us because the author has already done a mini-introduction. The postcard idea reminds me of Colleen Gleason's bookmarks.

  2. I can't wait to see what you think of Sharon Lewis Koho's books. I know what you mean about being tongue-tied. Authors are like rock stars to me.

  3. I did happen upon a book signing at the Hickory Stick bookstore in CT once. I wasn't aware of the book or the author and held back in the shadows to listen. He was so arrogant and self absorbed I decided browsing for my original book and perusing the new arrivals was so much more entertaining. Just one experience.

  4. I did go to a book signing once. Somehow I was bored to eath.

    Here is my SS post

  5. I love to hear authors speak, but I hate to wait in line to have an author scribble her name on the title page. I only do it for my school library or my sons.

  6. Ha ha! Here where I live quite a few authors make it their home. So your problem yesterday is one i do not run into, authors avoid the public like the plague, in grocery stores, parking lots etc...I suppose everyone even a writer needs a place to live a quite life.

    As far as running into an author during a book signing, sitting alone...I would have to buy her book. I do not know what it is, I would feel so bad if I didn't.

    Have a nice quiet Sunday Wendy

  7. I went to a booksigning the other month for Bedlam South with a friend, and it was the first for both of us. I didn't really know what to expect and there were hardly any people at the store (brand new store, Tuesday night, Suburbia), so we talked with the authors for a little over an hour with a few other people. It was a little awkward because they had chairs set out in front of the signing table, but we just stood around in front of them. But, in a way it was kind of nice it just being a handful of us so that we could talk more about the book and the writing. We were both really nervous, though! Not sure if I could go up to the author's table, though, if I hadn't planned it--I would have been suckered into a book as well!

    Have a great rest of your weekend!

  8. He he--I was the friend with Trish at the author signing--I was just going to write a comment about it, but she beat me to it! :) What was funny to me about the book signing is that the authors seemed just as nervous as we were, and they seemed like normal people! Since it was their first book, and they had only been to a few book signings, they weren't used to the attention. It was a fun experience!

    I am really looking forward to reading what you think about Twilight! I haven't read the series either, though there is a possibility I might be reading it soon for a book club.

  9. After reading your post this morning, I had to share this. I did a signing at a Waldenbooks yesterday, and a young reader melted my heart. He was, I'm guessing, around 14. He was interested in my book and said, "I'd love to get this, but I don't have enough money." I handed him a piece of paper and said, "Here. Put your name and address on here, and I'll mail you a free e-book version of the book." (I couldn't give him one of the books off the table because they belonged to the store!) He bit his lower lip, conferred with one of his two friends who were with him and then said, "I'm buying it. He has some money he'll loan me." I almost cried. That sweet child--even with the offer of a freebie--chose to borrow the money to buy my book. His name was Nikolas, and I'll never forget him. :-)

  10. I have never actually been to a book signing. Even though I've always loved to read, I just kind of stumbled around in the dark reading whatever came my way for the longest time. Then I discovered online reading groups which opened my eyes to so many new books and authors and finally I discovered these blogs. Now I'm hooked and have more books than I know what to do with! I don't think authors like southern Mississippi too much (despite Biloxi) because none of my favorites have ever come down this far :(
    I finally gave in last Monday when I realized it was coming out so soon. I LOVED the first two and a half books and liked the last one even though I was upset when I finished.

  11. I have only happened upon an author signing once, doing my Christmas shopping with my mother in a mall near london. Imagine my delight as I stumbled across my beloved Michael Palin signing his then latest book, Himalaya. Needless to say, I queued up, bought said book and then preceded to chat with the man for several minutes. He was every bit as lovely as I imagined. Brilliant!

  12. A few weekends ago, I came across Miriam Toews in a brand new bookstore near me. She was sitting there with her books all spread out in front of her, and I wanted to go up and say hello... but I felt awkward doing so because I've only read one of her books and wasn't really planning to buy her latest. I've felt a bit bad about it ever since, as it didn't seem like many people were talking to her.

    Next time.

  13. I've never come across a book signing but I'm sure I'd feel the same way and have a hard time not buying the book.

    I put off Twilight for quite a while but finally bit the bullet and actually enjoyed it. Hope you do, too.

  14. Linda - I'm glad I'm not the only one! I have a feeling I will enjoy Twilight when I do sit down and start reading it. :-)

    Memory - That would be awkward. Situations like that can be difficult. I don't think you did anything wrong--you probably saved yourself from buying a book you didn't really want. :-)

    Mariel - How neat to come across an author you've read and enjoyed! The only place that's happened to me is at the L.A. Times Festival of Books. We don't get too many authors I've heard of in town, much less want to read. Usually the authors that stop here are business writers or nonfiction writers who right about subjects I'm not especially interested in.

    I keep hoping though . . .

    Jen - My favorite authors aren't too fond of my part of the country either--they all want to go to Los Angeles where they're likely to get more notice.

    I'm looking forward to reading Twilight even with all my hemming and hawing. :-)

    Gayle - What a great story! I hope he enjoys your book as much as I did. :-)

    Laura - I imagine Mrs. Koho was nervous too, although she didn't come across that way. I'm glad I had the chance to meet her, even if only briefly.

    I'll definitely let you know what I think of Twilight!

    Trish - How neat! It sounds like you and Laura had a great time. Sharon Lewis Koho just had a little table up at the front of the store. People occasionally would pass her table, but no one stayed long from what I could tell. She is a very nice woman and I do wish I'd had more sense to actually chat more with her! I had all these thoughts running through my head of what I wanted to say, but hardly anything would come out! I would say it was only because I was standing in front of an author, but in truth, that's how I am with people I don't know. Small talk just doesn't come easy for me.

  15. I've never been to an actual book signing, but I did go to a talk by Adrian Plass (a Christian author) and bought one of his books - he signed it and I felt very stupid because I couldn't think of anything to say. I think I did say thank you.

  16. I've intentionally gone to book signings for authors I like, but I've never stumbled upon one. I think if I did, I would sneak away without going near. There are so many thousands of books out there -- the odds are slim that the book featured would appeal to me. But once I met the author, I wouldn't be able to NOT buy it.

    I'm looking forward to your review of Blackbird, Farewell. It's almost at the top of my pile of books to read and review.

  17. Sylvie - I know of a couple of authors who live not too far from me. I'm not sure how recognizable they are to the general public though. And so they'd probably welcome the attention! But I do know what you mean. Authors like J.K. Rowling and Stephen King probably guard their privacy closely.

    Deb Nance - Fortunately for me (unfortunately for her?), there was no line in this case. I don't think the author is well known enough for that. I have waited in line to get a book signed at the L.A. Times Festival of Books, but admittedly, I avoided the longest of lines.

    Gautami - Was there a reading too? I haven't been to one of those types of signings.

    Donna - Oh no! That's too bad. I imagine they all can't be good experiences.

    Kathy - They are for me too! And this time I didn't have my husband to push in front of me to do the talking. LOL

    Joy - Yes, Gayle certainly did make an impression on me as well.

    I did feel much more at ease after being approached first by the author in that way.

    The postcards and bookmarks are a great marketing technique, I think.

  18. Rose - Have you read any of Robert Greer's other books? Blackbird, Farewell is my first by the author.

    It's hard to say no in situations like that, so I don't blame you.

  19. Margaret - I managed about that much too in this case! I wish I had said more, but the words just wouldn't come.

  20. I think the little postcards are a great approach too. They allow you to decide if you want the books without having to deal directly with the author awaiting your decision. They sound a lot less pressure-y. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the books!

    I haven't read the Twilight books yet either. Good luck :P

    Thanks for spreading the words about the Christmas Swap! I'm so glad you decided to participate again :)

  21. I don't see many author signings now that I never go to the bookstore. Plus, I live in South Dakota and no one cool EVER comes here.

    Good luck with Twilight. I was pretty meh on it.

  22. We have tons of booksignings around here and while I always plan to go see "my" authors, I never do. The only book signings I attend are by accident and I'm afraid I act somewhat as if they've suffered an unbearable shameful public tragedy and the best way to deal with it is to pretend it's not happening. I'll try not to, in the future. :)

    The House on Tradd St looks like an interesting read, and I don't say that often about ghost stories.

    Stay out of harm's way, Wendy! Scary to have CA on fire again. Rain, rain, come HERE!

  23. I don't get to see many author signings over here... at least not that I'm aware of anyway. It's always great to meet them in person and listen to them introducing their books to the readers. However, I'm shy and get tongue tied so I guess I'll buy their books, mumble a few words of admiration and that's it, LOL.

    I love the Twilight series, so I hope you'll enjoy them as well!

  24. Hi Wendy, I hope you'll enjoy TWILIGHT. I finished reading it before all the hype started and thought the story was quite good. It got me started on vampire stories. LOL.

    The only signing I've been to was James Lee's Mr Midnight series at a book fair. Initially I was the only adult queueing in line with the kids but later adults joined in too.

  25. I ddin't actually pass a book signing, but when i went to a bookstore, there was already an author there talking to soem lady about his book. And i standing pretty close to hear the entire conversation. I realized I had already seen his books on one of the shelfs and passed it on, i didn't feel like it was my type. So i quickly moved on and avoided the author for my entire time there.

  26. The only signings I've been to are ones I'd gone to a bookstore especially for (GARTH NIX!) or signings that were held in the bookstore I worked in. In both cases I never spoke to the others as much as I wanted to (either nervousness or actual work)

  27. Nymeth - Exactly. It takes some of the pressure off.

    I'm looking forward to finding out who I get for the swap! Like I need an excuse to do a little shopping. ;-)

    Lisa - Not many authors I would be interested in make it my way either. I keep hoping though! Haha!

    It's those of you who didn't care for Twilight all that much that have me a little scared to read it. :-)

    Carrie K - I've been known to do that. LOL

    The House on Tradd is definitely not a scary ghost story. And it's not really a paranormal book in the same sense as so many others out there are these days. It falls more under women's fiction, probably. Whatever that means, exactly.

    I do hope it rains again soon! Not only for the fires but for my allergies too. :-(

    Melody - You've pretty much described me at a book signing! Haha!

    Alice - It'll make my coworker happy when I do finally read the series. :-)

    Violet - That seems to be what a lot of people do. I know that I've been guilty of avoiding an author at the bookstore too. I'm trying to change that--and remember that I can say no. :-)

    Michelle - To work in a bookstore . . . I know it's not as glamorous as many of us booklovers want to believe it is, but it's still fun to dream about. :-)

  28. I've happened on book signings/author talks a couple of times at Borders, but have never joined the group, since the books/authors have mostly been ones unfamiliar to me. Maybe I should give it a shot next time.

    Glad to hear that you and yours are OK after this fiery weekend, Wendy! We are fine as well; the Sylmar fire stayed to the east of us, although we did get some smoke from it. We need some rain and cool weather around here. Fire season has gone on WAY too long.

    Have a great week!

  29. I've never walked into a bookstore in the middle of signing before. that must have been nerve-racking.

    I'm sorry to hear you didn't find the book you were originally looking for, but it sounds like you did discover a new author to read...and she sounds like she has a great story.

  30. I usually avoid the signing table knowing that I will be swayed into making the purchase! I guess I'm stubborn in accomplishing my mission at the bookstore: looking for what I want and paying for it.

  31. Yes, and I love those serendipitous happenings. I walked into a Borders when there was a poetry reading and I just sat down and listened. Nice. :-)

  32. Florinda - I always seem to miss the author readings--I think that would be fun to attend.

    I am glad to hear you weren't affected by the fire, other than the smoke. I hear the smoke from the Freeway fire may be coming my way tomorrow with a shift in the wind. :-( Rain, rain, please come and play!

    Serena - I've walked in on a signing now and then. In my town, they are always low key and I've never seen a line or a crowd. So, while it's not at all bad since there is no crowd, I do feel bad when no one is talking to the authors. It would be less nerve-racking if the author was selling a book I was interested in reading more often than not.

    Matt - So you are just like me in that regard in most instances. :-) We're too soft at heart, I think.

    Marie - How neat! I wouldn't mind walking in on a reading sometime.

  33. I went to a few signings when we lived in England, but they were intentional, I never just stumbled across any. I'd probably end up with one of their books too if I did though. Oh, and I was always tongue-tied too. :P

    Glad to hear that the fires haven't been near you.

  34. I tried Twilight as my niece was asking for it and I like to read books before giving them as gifts, especially teen books.
    I enjoyed it, although I haven't read the rest in the series.
    I just read "Blue Bloods" by Melissa de la Cruz as I am giving it to the same niece for Christmas, and enjoyed that one as well, although it is definitely more edgy than Twilight.

  35. I love the postcard idea! And, yes, I've stumbled upon an author signing...if you want the whole long, happy story, it's posted here: Got Books?

  36. Nat - It's nice to know I'm not the only one who gets tongue-tied around authors. Or who has trouble saying no. :-)

    Shonna - I managed to get Twilight in this past week, but like you, I haven't yet read the other books. I'm sure I will get to them eventually. :-)

    I think it's great that you read the books you give to your niece as gifts.

    Ali - It's a very helpful idea! I am headed over to your blog to read all about your author signing experience. :-)


Thank you for taking the time to visit Musings of a Bookish Kitty. Don't be shy! I would love to hear from you. Due to a recent increase in spam, I will be moderating all comments for the foreseeable future. Please be patient with me as it may take a few hours before I am able to approve your comment.