Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Book Signings

As many of you know, I attended Lori Foster's Annual Reader and Author Get Together with Madelyn and Rosalie. It was a blast. I had the opportunity to meet so many amazing people. I can't wait for next year.

Today's topic was sparked by a conversation I had the last night of the event. It was very interesting to discuss authors, the way they present themselves, how important it is to be professional when a fan approaches your table, and how annoyed readers become by certain behavior.

Since I always share what I've learned, I figured I'd do so here. Below were the top complaints from the readers I spoke with who attended the event.

1. Cell phones and laptops

I was mortified when I learned one reader stood in line to get a signature and the author used his/her cell phone the entire time, signed the books without looking up or greeting the reader, and shoved the book back when done. As a consequence, the reader informed me she would NEVER purchase another book from the author. Lesson? Put the phone down, smile, and greet your readers. They are there to meet you. It is possible to stay off your cellular device for two hours (the length of the signing).

2. Avoid the hard sell

Several readers said they avoided tables in which authors tried to sell their work. Why? They felt obligated to buy it. So when a reader approaches your table, smile, say hello, and answer questions. Informing them of the nature of your story when they haven't asked can be a turn off. They want to look at your work, see if it interests them, and move along if it doesn't. Interact with them, be gracious, and if they decide your work isn't for them say, "Thank your for stopping by," and let them continue to the next author.

3. Smile

No one will approach you if they think you're going to take their head off. When someone makes eye contact, smile, nod, and make it easy for them to come over and say hello. A blank expression, or a sour puss, won't do you any favors.

4. Talk, talk, talk!

If someone engages you in conversation (even if they don't buy your book), talk to them. Ask how they are enjoying things. Treat people like people. Trust me, they appreciate this.

5. Make a good impression

If someone approaches your table and tells you they enjoyed your book, thank them and chat. I had a few people who did this and I provided signed book plates and pamphlets. It's not about the money, it's about connecting with those who might give your work a try in the future.

I had so much fun this year, but I am very social and can talk to anyone. I think that's very important. People who haven't read your work will remember a nice author versus a lukewarm one. It's all about the connection you make with people. I truly believe if you treat those the way you want to be treated, they'll appreciate and respect it.

As for me, I'm trying to prepare for Authors After Dark. I'm nervous, as I've never attended before, but I hope it's just as much fun as Lori Foster's.  Hopefully I'll see many of you there!

Now for that eye candy. My favorite -- Chris Evans. YUMMY!


Rosalie Stanton said...

Word. I didn't tell you, but one of the authors sharing my table would do a hard pitch to everyone who approached. I felt really bad for the readers, and it turned me off to even looking at their material. And yet, I likely fell into that blunder, myself, as it was my first conference and I just followed the lead of whoever was around me. Next year, woman, we're sitting together so I can learn from the Master. ;)

Might help if I get more material out there. I only had the one book this year. :(

J.A. Saare said...

Everyone has a tough first year. It's unnerving and kind of scary. You'll rock out next year!!

Yes, the hard sell isn't good. A lot of readers don't like it. It turns them off. ;(

Mama Kitty said...

I wish I would've been able to go! Next year, I'll definitely be there though. Can't wait to meet you & hope to meet Rosalie as well (hope Madelyn is able to make it as well!!)

Sounds like you had a great time, and I hope people pay attention to this post. There's nothing I hate more than a pushy or a rude person (doesn't even have to be an author).

J.A. Saare said...

Hey Catharine ;-) I hope you can make it too! That would rock. Most authors were great. There were just a couple here and there that turned folks off. And you're right, anyone can be rude.

Sharon said...

I can't believe that author was so rude. Wow.
I went to my first Con this past weekend (Sci-fi). There was an author row. I was there representing my blog so I was asking for books and swag. *everyone was polite and talkative. It helped that my daughter was with me and was dressed as a zombie prom date. She made a great conversation starter . I can't wait to visit my first reader/romance Con! Oh, I only had one fangirl moment .

J.A. Saare said...

Hey Sharon,

I didn't find out about what happened until later in the evening, but the reader was quite angry. I'll never do something like that. I'm glad you had a good time at your Con! That's great. Your daughter sounds amazing. :)

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