Friday, January 16, 2009

Book Signing Horror Stories

“Do not seek to have events happen as you want them to, but instead want them to happen as they do happen, and your life will go well.” -Epictetus

I have a book signing event coming up on Saturday where I’ll be signing copies of The Ride. I’ve not done many signings so I searched the internet in hopes of finding helpful hints. Among the useful suggestions, I also ran across book signing horror stories. I don’t want to focus on the bad stuff, but I admire the authors willing to share their tales of woe and doing so with such a sense of humor. Here are a few of my favorites:

From Reading Under the Covers is a story about a lesser-known author who was seated next to Stephen King at a signing. I can only imagine how invisible that poor author became. Although, I think if I was sitting next to Stephen King, I might not care.

On Author, Author I read where only two people entered the bookstore during the signing and one of the two was related to the author. On this same site, is another story where the author’s books were accidently shipped elsewhere.

There’s a funny article called Dylan Jones: A bad book signing. He sold two books, so I’m not sure I’d consider it bad. However, the story that goes along with it is very funny and involves a customer who asked him to move out of the way.

My favorite was written by Bob Eckstein about his disastrous holiday book tour. It seems his tour coincided with some horrible winter storms. To me his story is even funnier because the book he’s promoting is The History of the Snowman.

I also discovered there is a book full of book signing mishaps called Mortification: Writers’ Stories of Their Public Shame by Robin Robertson.

I’ll try to take the advice of the Greek philosopher, Epictetus, and let things happen as they do happen. Still, I can't help but hope that my event will be a success and not one that will qualify me for a spot in any Mortification book sequel.

If you are able, please drop by Barnes and Noble at 23645 US 19 North in Clearwater, Fl., from 1 to 3 PM on Saturday, January 17. And, please pass the information along to and family, friends and acquaintances you may know in the area.

Do you have any book signing tips or horror stories to share?

Thanks for stopping by.

Tags: The Ride, book signing, Epictetus, Dylan Jones, Bob Eckstein, Mortification, Barnes and Noble, Clearwater, Stephen King, Robin Robinson,


L. Diane Wolfe said...

Oh, after 250+ signings, I could give you a list!!!

One that stands out was an event at a Barnes & Noble. The CRM was new and overzealous and had booked twenty-two authors for the event! Way too many! There were more authors than customers in the store. I still sold some books, though!

If you need some tips, my article "Tips from a Road Warrior" is on my site - I actually enjoy book signings, though I intend to do less than my normal fifty this year. Book stores are terrible places to sell books!

L. Diane Wolfe

Morgan Mandel said...

The one about being seated next to Stephen King could have been a gold mine. I hope the author took plenty of promo photos, then plastered them over the Internet, making sure to put both names in the caption.

Morgan Mandel

Joy said...

Most of all, have fun! Here's to you signing lots and lots of books. Just don't get carpal tunnel from so much signing.
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kriswaldherr said...

My worst book signing occurred when I still authored children's books. I was doing an appearance at a bookstore the day after Barney had visited to standing room only crowds.

Um, guess how many books I sold? Yeah, *that* bad. On the plus side, the bookstore manager apologized to me for scheduling me right after Barney, when it was unlikely I'd get any attention. I was as gracious as could be and high tailed it out of there.

My advice: Whatever happens happens. Book signings are really a crapshoot. I've had great signings and ones where I wish I hadn't bothered. If it doesn't go well, it's usually not your fault. Publicists drop the ball, managers forget to promote. The important thing is not to take it personally. It's all part of the job.

Anonymous said...

...please where can I buy a unicorn?

Jane's Ride - Novelist Jane Kennedy Sutton's journey through the ups and downs of the writing, publishing and marketing world