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My Tips For Attending an Author Event

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Through the Looking Glass: My Tips For Attending an Author Event

Monday, September 10, 2012

My Tips For Attending an Author Event

Hi, lovely readers! This is a special post for a few reasons; 1) I hardly ever come up with ideas for discussion posts, 2) I think this will be really helpful for a lot of avid readers, 3) I haven’t found a lot of posts like this on the web. Today, I’ll be talking about tips for attending an author event/signing/panel, etc. I’ve attending a good amount of events and know what to expect and what to prepare for and I learn something new every time. I hope you learn something from this post!


- Depending on how popular the author is or how many books he/she has written, you may want to reserve a seat in the front row. A lot of times, the whole front row is reserved but nobody shows up and they let people sit there. Arriving early is important at any author event to get a decent seat. As for questions, the authors usually pick people from all over the audience.

- Buy the Books! If you don’t own a book by the author or want another one, be sure to purchase it early because sometimes the copies run out really fast. If you’re hesitant about buying a hardcover for the semi-hefty price (I get that way sometimes), just think about how you are supporting the author and/or local bookstore providing the copies.

- Most times at signings, they have people walking around passing out sticky notes for you to write your name or a message in that you want the author to include in their signing. I don’t like fumbling around in my bag and trying to label all my books, so I just do it before I leave for the event. It’s so much easier to just write the note and stick it on the title page and have it ready for the author to sign.

- Talk to readers! I’m not a social butterfly whatsoever, so I was kind of hesitant at first to do this, but it turned out being fantastic to interact with other fans of a book series or novel, etc. Just walk around and casually mention if someone’s read the book, even if they are complete strangers. I met a couple of girls at a recent signing and we got into deep conversation about the Caster Chronicles series and the upcoming movie. It’s especially fun for me because no one in my family reads YA and I don’t have many friends that do, and I am always eager to discuss the latest books with people.

- This sort of goes along the same lines as the last tip, but you should bring some friends! I go to a lot of events by myself but it is always more fun with a friend who has also read the author’s books or wants to.

During the Event

- Bring a camera! I love taking pictures of authors when they are answering questions or having a conversation. However, if you want to take photos during the event, definitely get a seat towards the front or else you might not get good shots. Taking photos helps capture the memory of the event, which is always great!

- Ask questions! Authors love it when you ask them new or unusual questions. Just be sure that your question has a purpose. Don’t ask pointless questions; it just wastes the author’s time. Its always very fulfilling having your question answered. I know that I sometimes feel like I shouldn’t ask a question because everyone’s eyes in the audience immediately avert to you, and that is uncomfortable to me. But it is well worth it because all of the other people looking at you probably feel the same way. So go for it!

- Take Notes! This helps, especially if you are an aspiring author like myself. Whenever the author cracks a funny joke or says something that strikes you as especially significant, write it down! Over time, you can collect valuable advice from author speeches and conversations. Its simple and easy just to bring a pad of paper and a pen and jot some things down!

- If you have books to get signed, then you might want to leave the event a few minutes before the author is done speaking and when he/she is wrapping everything up/answering the last questions and stand in line. When the event is actually over (depending on the popularity of the author), the line is usually 10-20 people long.

After the Event (The Signing)

- Talk to people in line! This passes the time while you are waiting to get signed and you also learn some fascinating stuff about the readers and maybe even the book.

- Treat the authors like a regular person. This is important so that you don’t end up choking up in front of the author and wasting the short time you have to greet the author. They are rather extraordinary for writing and publishing their book, in my opinion. However, they are normal people like you or me and they like it when you talk to them casually like they are a new acquaintance/friend.

- Be Unique! Sometimes I just like my full name signed but sometimes not. If I have done an interview with an author and introduce myself at the signing, they usually include something about that in their message. You can write a special message that’s personalized on your sticky note to make it more unique.

- If you ask for a photo of the author when you are getting your book signed, they usually don’t mind. Its always a good idea to do this to share with your friends and tell them you met your favorite author!

Thanks for reading my tips and I hope they help you in your next visit to an author event!

Please let me know in the comments if you have any extra tips that I didn’t include or questions!



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At September 10, 2012 at 9:25 PM , Blogger Candace said...

I go to a lot of signings too and you have some great advice! I always prepare my sticky note before I go (actually I just reuse the same ones over and over). At our bookstore we can't leave to stand in line as the author isn't going anywhere and they make you go by row (unless it's a tiny signing). I agree that you need to try to get out of your shell at signings. I'm really shy but I've gone to so many that I think I pretty much ALWAYS know people there. If not I at least know the store employees ;) But I don't think I've been to one where I don't know people in the audience with me. And quite often I'm meeting up with people there. We even have get togethers before the signing quite often. And with meeting the author I use to get kind of tongue tied but I've learned that it's better to speak up and introduce myself because I'll be disappointed if I don't. They usually get all excited and sometimes stand up to hug me. Most so far have even heard of my blog, or I've chatted with them a lot online. Author events are so fun!


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