Tips For Attending Book Signings
Author events, book signings, tour stops, launch parties, book conventions… Whatever it is, meeting an author- ESPECIALLY if they’re one of your favorites- can be very nerve-wracking, and can either go very well, or very poorly. I’ve attended a few book signings before, and am currently preparing for BEA, so I thought I’d make a post to help anyone else out!
Before The Signing
Step 1: Find an event near you.
You can do this by checking your local bookstore’s event page, or looking at an author’s tour schedule to see if they’re coming close to you. Normally, I have to go to San Francisco for signings, since it’s the closest big city (about 3 hours away), so that leads us to:
Step 2: Make arrangements.
Buy tickets, book hotel rooms, figure out transportation and food… Do whatever you need to do to be ready for the event. If you don’t own the author’s books, buy one of their previous ones so you can get it signed. Remember that a lot of the time, you’ll have to purchase the book being promoted at the event in order to join the signing line.
Step 3: Read the guidelines on the bookstore’s website.
For more popular authors, there may be a limit to the amount of books you can bring to get signed, so make sure to check that out.
At The Event:
Step 1: Arrive early.
Get there 30 minutes early, at least. You want to have good seats, and they can fill up fast.
Step 2: Talk to the people around you!
They’re obviously there because they love books, so you could easily strike up a conversation with your neighbor. It’ll be worth it, because you won’t be bored while waiting for the event to start. If you have a blogger friend you were meeting, try to sit by them and make conversation. Maybe save your seats and stroll around the bookstore. You most likely WILL be waiting a while if you got there early.
Step 3: The event begins!
The authors will come out. Yes, you may be really excited and it may be your ALL TIME FAVORITE AUTHOR, but don’t scream at them about how much you love them. They’re probably nervous! Just let them talk and introduce themselves and their books. Listen. That’s what this part of the event is for.
Step 4: The Q&A
Have a question prepared for the author. Normally, there is a Q&A part of the event, and if you have a question you’ve been thinking about, write it down so you remember to ask. Listen to the questions asked, so you don’t ask one that’s already been asked. The Q&A session can last a while, because fans have a lot of questions!
Step 5: The signing line
It’s time to get in line for the signing! The author will go to a table, and the bookstore people will begin lining you up. Normally, this is done by row, so do NOT rush to get in the front of the line. If you’re shy, the author will most likely try to make conversation to be nice, but try to think of something to say! Believe me, I know it’s hard, but authors are sweet people that won’t comment on your nervousness at all. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, make the most of it. Don’t take up too much of the author’s time, there are more people here than just you! When your books are signed, take photos, etc, then say goodbye.
- Don’t be THAT PERSON who brings all of the author’s books to get signed. Adhere to the bookstore’s rules. You don’t want to hold up the line, it can make people annoyed at you.
- Remember, authors are people too. They are probably nervous and can make mistakes just like we can. Be nice. After seeing hundreds of people and signing hundreds of books, they most likely WILL be tired! But they’ll try to be just as excited as they were at the beginning of the signing, so that you have the best time.
Have you ever gone to a book signing? If so, which one(s)? How did it go? If not, would you like to? Comment if you have any tips for book signings!
Here’s a bonus fun fact about me: I’ve met Cassandra Clare, Holly Black, Marie Lu, Susan Dennard, Alexandra Bracken, and Evelyn Skye! What about you?
Thanks for reading!