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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: booksignings, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 21 of 21
1. Booksigning on Sept 29 in San Diego

Coming up fast! Please join me on Saturday, Sept 29, at The Yellow Book Road bookstore in San Diego’s Liberty Station (2750 Historic Decatur Road) to celebrate the launch of Inch and Roly Make a Wish, Fox and Crow Are Not Friends, and The Prairie Thief.

Hope to see you there!

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2. Because It Carries More Weight When George R.R. Martin Says It

STATUS: I was at work for a full day yesterday. Today I'm working from home. Guess I pushed that envelope too far.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? SUPERSTAR by The Carpenters

Agents are fans too! On Sunday, some friends and I headed down to the Tattered Cover in Lodo to get our copies of A DANCE WITH DRAGONS signed by the grand master himself.

Given the huge crowd of fans, no one was allowed to pose and take a picture with Mr. Martin. (Smart move on his part!) My friend happened to snap an incredibly dorky shot of me after he signed my book and I was walking away. Shows how comfortable with myself I am to share this lovely photo with the world.

But before the signing, Mr. Martin shared a tidbit of wisdom that all writers could benefit from. He mentioned that aspiring writers would often come up to him and declare that they were working on a 7-book series--just like him.

To paraphrase Martin, he said that being a beginner, unpublished writer declaring that he is writing a 7-book series is kind of like being a guy who has just started rock climbing and announcing to the world that the first climb he's going to do is a little hill called Mount Everest.

That's absolutely not what you want to do. It's too hard. Too big in scoop. If you are a beginning rock climber, you want to start with the climbing wall at your local REI or a small hill that won't kill you first.

As an agent, I've given this advice any number of times but in the end, writers don't believe me. Okay don't believe me. Believe George instead! Forty years in this biz, he knows what he's talking about.

Martin's recommendation? Start with short stories where you are forced to have a beginning, middle, and end. You are also forced to nail plot and character in a short amount of space. Then graduate to something bigger--like a novella or one stand-alone novel. Master that. Then tackle the big series.

30 Comments on Because It Carries More Weight When George R.R. Martin Says It, last added: 8/6/2011
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3. Because It’s Cool!

STATUS: Enjoyed a quiet day because of the Passover holiday. I caught up on a lot of emails.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? CUTS LIKE A KNIFE by Bryan Adams

If you have read HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET, you’ll know that in the front matter of the book, there is a picture of a Japanese girl circa 1942. She’s wearing a tag on her jacket and it’s implied that she is leaving for the internment camps.

It’s a powerful picture.

The week before last, Jamie was doing a reading/signing at Woodland Reads. He discovered that the young girl in the photo is still alive and lived nearby. So he invited Mae Yanagi to come and be his special secret guest.

And she did! Okay, I got a shiver just looking at the pics so here they are.

She stuck around and signed books with Jamie for the whole evening. How cool is that?

26 Comments on Because It’s Cool!, last added: 4/20/2011
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4. Sweet Music at Springville Road Library

This is your personal invitation to join us at the
Springville Road Regional Library
Sunday March 27th at 3:00 PM
for a special book program, discussion and booksigning.

Check out the announcement on the
Birmingham Public Library's Latest News, Reviews & Info
Thanks to all my special friends and fans of Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge.
I look forward to a fun afternoon with lots of smiling faces and maybe a few surprises.

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5. Springtime on Moonlight Ridge

Goodness, y'all, it's March already! And in just a few weeks, I'll be inviting everyone for an afternoon program at Springville Road Library in Birmingham. I'll be there for a Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge event on Sunday, March 27 at 3:00 PM.

To check out the announcement, please visit Birmingham Public Library's Latest News at this address.

Watch for updates as plans are finalized for this special event; there may be a few surprises as well as a surprise guest or two!
And I'll have a red calico Drunkard's Path Quilt, just like Lily Claire's, on display. The magic quilt fairies have been working overtime to help me get this treasure ready for our March 27th program.

Every time Lily Claire was tired, tearful, or had some serious thinking to do, she found the perfect retreat, on the sweet soft quilt her granny Rilla had given her.

I look forward to seeing everyone at the Springville Road Library for this afternoon of discussion, fun, laughter, and a celebration of good Alabama story-telling!

0 Comments on Springtime on Moonlight Ridge as of 3/1/2011 4:42:00 PM
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6. One City One Book—Broomfield Colorado

STATUS: Going on vaca for about 10 days. Blogging could be a little sporadic.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? PRAIRIE RAIN by Michael Stribling

Just a note to let any Colorado folks know that Jamie is going to be in town next Saturday. HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET is a One Book pick for the city of Broomfield.

He will be at the Broomfield Auditorium on November 6, 2010. The event starts at 7 p.m.

Jamie is also hosting a writer’s workshop earlier that day. I’m not sure if that seminar is already full but you can call 720.887.2350 to find out or email [email protected].

There is also a corresponding Bitter and Sweet Art Exhibition.

How cool is that? CU even did a Jazz evening featuring the music of Oscar Holden (who plays such a key role in the novel)

I cannot thank Mayor Pat Quinn enough for this terrific opportunity. If you live in town, we’d love to see you there!

7 Comments on One City One Book—Broomfield Colorado, last added: 11/2/2010
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7. A First

STATUS: I spent 3 hours on one conference call this morning. Means the rest of my day should have gone uphill, right?

What’s playing on the iPod right now? CRAZY by Gnarls Barkley

This may be a sign that we have officially turned some kind of corner in publishing.

I just literally got an email from my author Kristina Riggle who is out doing bookstore appearances for her second novel THE LIFE YOU’VE IMAGINED.

So she’s at her signing when a twenty-year-old gal approaches her to say that her mother is a huge fan of Kristina’s novels and would Kris sign her mom’s Nook.

How could any author resist? Now I’m sure Kris is not the first author to ever sign an electronic device but I do think it’s a first for an NLA author!

20 Comments on A First, last added: 9/3/2010
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8. RWA—Orlando, Florida (Day 1)

STATUS: Spotty blogging this week (as if you couldn’t already tell) but I will try and pop on when I can to send on any inside scoop.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? Nothing at the moment.

Monday was crazy as I tried to wrap up anything that could be finished before leaving for Orlando. Yesterday was a travel day so spent the time on the plane getting lots of reading done! I sat next to a lady also heading to RWA who had both a Kindle and the Apple iPad with her. She let me play with that new iPad.

Oh, I like shiny things and was much enthralled. Did it make me want to run out and buy one? Yes and no. Mostly to me, it’s just an oversized iPhone without the capacity to call someone. So I liked it (of course I did) but I think I’m going to wait for the next generation before contemplating a buy. I’d like it to be smaller (something easier to fit in a purse) and to be honest, I still want an unbacklit screen for big chunks of my reading. It’s just easier on the eyes for long stints that we agents end up doing. Nice if iPad could create toggle switch so we could have it both ways. The iPad itself is nice eye candy though.

And I would judge that my seat row companion was in her fifties (if I had to make a guess). So interesting.

Since I just got to Orlando late last night (and just had dinner with one of my clients), I haven’t got any good juicy gossip from RWA to start the blogging week.

Instead, you get lame picture of the Swan & Dolphin hotel on the Disney compound.

As added bonus, Ally Carter had a great turn-out in Boulder. 75 people. The next day she went to St. Louis where 170 fans showed up for her reading. Wow. Go St. Louis.

So here is Ally with a NLA Colorado local author Kim Reid who came out to show support. How fun is that?

10 Comments on RWA—Orlando, Florida (Day 1), last added: 7/30/2010
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9. Ally Carter In Colorado

STATUS: Sorry! You know it’s a tough week when I can’t find 15 minutes to squeeze in a blog. RWA is next week in Orlando. Probably don’t need to say more.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? LOVE MY WAY by Psychedelic Furs

I’m going to start today’s entry with a totally non-publishing related rant. All I want to say is that just once, I want to walk to work in the morning without seeing some male stranger’s underwear. Seriously people, pull your pants up or use a belt. This isn’t complicated because if you don’t look like a ripped athlete or Calvin Klein underwear model, then it’s not sexy. It’s just underwear (and not all that attractive at that!).

I don’t think I’m asking too much here…

But in fun news for ONLY THE GOOD SPY YOUNG, Ally Carter in the flesh is coming to Colorado (Boulder to be exact) this Sunday, July 25. I’d love to see you there and come say hello.

Barnes & Noble
Crossroads Commons
2999 Pearl StreetBoulder, CO 80301303-444-0349

Here’s the link to check out the event and to get more info!

13 Comments on Ally Carter In Colorado, last added: 7/27/2010
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10. Nobody's there

Oh, how I love this!

Thanks to Kay Winters for this.

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11. HESTER by Paula Reed At The Tattered Cover Highlands Ranch, CO

STATUS: TGIF and an author book event. Hooray!

What’s playing on the iPod right now? Nothing At the Moment

Dashing out the door to head south to the Tattered Cover Highlands Ranch, Colorado. From downtown, I want to give myself plenty of time.

Even if you haven’t RSVP’d , you can still join in the fun tonight.

We are at the Landsdowne Arms, Library Room from 5-7:15 p.m. Then the signing will be at the Tattered Cover (right next door) at 7:30 p.m.

See you there!

3 Comments on HESTER by Paula Reed At The Tattered Cover Highlands Ranch, CO, last added: 2/21/2010
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12. sara lewis holmes booksigning!


Had a lovely time at Sara Lewis Holmes's booksigning yesterday at Hooray for Books in Alexandria, Virginia. It was a gorgeous day -- warm and sunny, in the 60's, and lots of folks strolled in to meet and congratulate Sara on the publication of her second middle grade novel, Operation Yes (Scholastic, 2009), which, BTW, was just named one of Booklist's Top Ten Art Books for Youth!

Sara signing books for my contest winners, Marjorie Light and Jeannine Atkins.

Of course Cornelius came along (he has a big crush on Sara). Happily, there were a lot of little green men about for him to play with.

Above is the awesome book Sara's agent (Tina Wexler) made from LGM photos.

Sara gave an interesting presentation about the genesis of the book, referring to a tack board full of newspaper clippings, drawings, and notes. These bits and pieces of inspiration, along with high school memories of memorizing Shakespeare, a real-life incident of little green men, and of course, first-hand experience with the kinds of challenges kids in military families face, all served as fodder for her imagination.


Audience members were given lines to read at Sara's cue.

She then read a chapter from the book, during which time something you don't normally see in a bookstore happened -- Sara dropped to the floor (in tight jeans and heels no less), effortlessly breezed through ten push-ups, then jumped back up and continued reading without missing a beat. She wasn't even out of breath. Aren't you impressed? Now there's one beautifully toned, fit writer -- a fine specimen of athletic prowess. Yes! I want her to be my bodyguard. ☺

Meanwhile, Cornelius was busy checking the bookshelves for more copies of Operation Yes.

Mmmmmm! Trish made brownies again!

And he got to meet Sara's husband, the ever famous Mike Holmes. Cornelius was thrilled and proud to pose with a real-live Air Force fighter pilot!

As always, a nice event at this wonderful indie bookstore. With all the friendly people, loads of great books to read, and an endless supply of brownies, one could just about live there. Congratulations again, Sara. I'm sure your book is inspiring lots of readers to think about their lives a little differently, and to definitely say YES! 

To Sara's right is the board containing some of the things that inspired Operation Yes.

If you haven't gotten your copy yet, order one from your nearest indie bookstore! ☺

Copyright © 2009 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan's alphabet soup. All rights reserved.

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13. Some BEA Observations

STATUS: I’ve got so many great notes to share with you folks. Just not enough time in the day to blog about it all. Thank goodness we have the rest of the week.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? LYIN’ EYES by The Eagles

I have to say that I’m very glad that I attended Book Expo this year. A lot of things are changing in the industry and it only makes sense that BEA is going to evolve, transform, change, or even disappear (although doubtful) in the years to follow.

I had heard that publishers were cutting back this year and now having seen it, I can tell you for certain that that is true.

Random House had a booth the size of a postage stamp.

Macmillan wasn’t even on the floor. They simply had meeting rooms in the basement—I mean the lower floor that held the conference rooms.

At past BEAs, aisles were so stuff with people, you had to do an interesting shuffle with a lot of “pardon me” to get through. This year, the open space was like walking down an uncrowded boulevard. I think the only time I felt packed in was when the new Balzer & Bray imprint had their champagne toast launch party in the HarperCollins booth. However, once all glasses were distributed, the bar magically disappeared. It was up for maybe 15 minutes total. The champagne bottles were not abundent.

At past BEAs, ARCs (otherwise known as Advanced Reading Copies) abounded. In fact, you couldn’t walk through a booth without tripping over one. This year? Scant would be the word I would use to sum it up. Unless there was an actual signing going on, very few galleys could be had. [Although I should have assigned my client Megan Crewe to be my stealth ARC gatherer as she totally scored with a copy of CATCHING FIRE (hot sequel to The Hunger Games) and a copy of BEAUTIFUL CREATURES (which is getting some solid pre-buzz).] She managed to snag about 60 ARCs.

However, in general, I can’t complain about this year’s Book Expo. The show was very good to my authors as the pictures below will attest.

Photo 1: Hank Ryan draws crowds in the Harlequin booth for the release of her third book in the Charlie McNally series--AIR TIME.

Photo 2: Now this is good editor support. Notice how Devi Pillai dressed to match the poster colors. That's going above and beyond the call of duty! (Actually, Devi hadn't realized that she had done so until I pointed it out to her.)

Photo 3: Gail Carriger signs her copies of her debut fantasy SOULLESS. One of the few ARCs that were out and about every day for the taking, Gail had some really nice lines--especially considering she's so new to the scene. In fact, in a funny related story, three separate people at random times came up to me during the weekend to tell me about this really cool ARC they had snagged. Imagine my surprise that at three different times, the book they pulled out to show me was of SOULLESS. I had to then 'fess up that it was my book.

Photo 4: Nice signage for the third book in the Gallagher Girl series that is releasing next week!

Photo 5: Ally signs in the Brilliance Booth

Photo 6: Electronic Poster of THE SHIFTER in HarperCollins Booth for the Balzer & Bray Champagne toast for the launch list.

11 Comments on Some BEA Observations, last added: 6/3/2009
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14. Holy Display Batman!

STATUS: Did some meetings today but don’t have the brain power to write up for tonight’s blog. Stay tuned tomorrow though. I’m going to shoot for the morning.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? Nothing at the moment.

20 days and counting down to the release of DON'T JUDGE A GIRL BY HER COVER. Would you say this bookstore is enthusiastic?

All I can say is that I wish every store in America would follow this example! Huge grin here.

15 Comments on Holy Display Batman!, last added: 5/22/2009
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15. Demon's Lexicon Signing in S&S UK Booth

And here is an extra blog shot of Sarah Rees Brennan's signing for her debut. As a debut author, she had worried that no one would show up. As you can see, that wasn't the case. Sarah twittered before the event to get the word out quickly.

10 Comments on Demon's Lexicon Signing in S&S UK Booth, last added: 5/17/2009
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16. Book Party Tips From Marianne

STATUS: Rain to start the day but it looks like it might be clearing up. Time to head to the beach!

What’s playing on the iPod right now? Nothing at the moment.

Now I have to admit that not many authors have as cool a day job as my client Marianne Mancusi. She’s a TV Producer. So, when she’s throwing a launch party [which she did last Tuesday for her debut hardcover release of GAMER GIRL with author Melissa Walker (VIOLET IN PRIVATE)] she does have access to a variety of contacts that the average author might not have.

From the press release: “Nationally syndicated lifestyle show Better TV was on hand, filming the event for an upcoming segment on Mancusi and Walker and their books. In attendance were media outlets Vogue, Teen Vogue, ELLE, InStyle, Daily Candy, AOL, Parents TV and CNN. Leading authors in both Young Adult and adult fiction also celebrated with Mancusi and Walker. At the party were Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier, Maureen Johnson, Bennett Madison, Deborah Gregory, Diana Peterfreund, Michael Northrop, Liz Maverick and Anisha Lakhani.”

Is Mari the gal to friend or what?

From Left: Scott Westerfeld, Mari, Diana Peterfreund, Melissa Walker

Great contacts can indeed go a long way to throwing a successful one, but even with that, she’s got some great tips and I asked if she was willing to share them with you blog readers so here you go!

Being a NYC based television producer I usually attend or cover several events each week. From restaurant openings, to Fashion Week after-parties, to charity balls—I’ve been studying what works and what doesn’t when it comes to throwing a party and used these ideas for throwing my own book party.

Here are some suggestions I used for my own book party, which I threw this week at Butter.

Consider co-hosting the party with another author. One, it’s more fun to plan a party with a partner and two it takes off some of the hosting pressure the night of. You can also potentially double the guest list, increase networking opportunities, and introduce a whole new audience for your books and theirs.

Consider having your party on a Tuesday. It’s a slow day for bars and restaurants and the managers are much more likely to offer up a private room free of charge if you can guarantee them a good bar tab. Offer them prime placement on your invitation (it’s like advertising – especially if you’re sending the invites to the media!) if they agree to host the event.

Invite everyone you can think of – even if you’re pretty sure they won’t be able to attend. It’s a great way to announce your book release without coming off as an obnoxious self-promoter. Also, you may be surprised at who shows up! I invited my friend and fellow author Diana Peterfreund, even though she lives down in D.C. She not only made the trip up to NY, but she brought some A-list author friends with her as well. Speaking of, always encourage people to bring friends/significant others. You’ll get a larger crowd and it will also take the pressure off you to entertain them when you’re trying to work the room.

Create an official invitation with your book cover (if you know a graphics artist, hit them up for help!) and send it to guests by email attachment. (Yes, you can send attachments nowadays. But also put the basic 411 in the body of the email.) This will make your party seem more professional and a bigger deal. You can send this invite to the media as well. Even if it’s your local town newspaper--you never know if they’ll send a reporter to cover the event. Make sure you put “cash bar” discreetly on the invite so people don’t assume free drinks. Send the invitation two weeks in advance, then send a reminder out a day before the event. Ask for an RSVP so you can get an approximate count.

Get creative and make the party fun. After all, your guests are giving up their night for you and probably spending money on drinks and your books—they need something in return. I had the restaurant put out some of their signature homemade chocolates to nibble on—lots cheaper than doing open bar, but still adding value to the event. I also, to go with my “Gamer Girl” book theme, purchased a bunch of fun kids’ games like Hungry Hippos, Connect Four and Operation and put them on the tables. Guests really got into them! You could also bring in a makeover artist or a fortune teller.

Gift Bags! Take a page from red carpet events and make up gift bags for each guest. You can solicit companies to donate products—it’s much easier than you might think! We got Clarins, for example, to donate self-tanning lotions for the bags. Another company donated free yoga class coupons. It’s good advertising for companies and brings added value to your party. Don’t forget to include bookmarks or postcards for your own books in the bags, too! This way the guest will remember you the next day, even if they didn’t buy a book at the event.

Bookselling. We used a traveling bookseller, but if you don’t have one of those in your town, find an indy bookseller and ask if they will come the night of your event and bring books. This way you don’t have to deal with monetary transactions when you’re trying to socialize with your guests. Offer to buy remaining books at cost so they don’t get stuck with extra inventory. Make an announcement once the party is in full swing to let people know they can buy books.

Work the room. The night of the event, don’t linger with your close friends. Try to talk to everyone who showed up. Think of it as being like the birthday girl. Everyone came to see you and should be given appropriate face time.

Follow up. Over the next week, email your guests and thank them for coming. Especially the new people you met at the party. If you have a photo with them in it, send it with the email. And speaking of photos – upload them right away and put them on your blog, MySpace, Facebook, whatever. People who attended want to see themselves and people who didn’t get to go want to live vicariously. But you lose your momentum if you wait a few days.

And lastly, while this isn’t an official tip, make sure you have fun! A book party should be a celebration—don’t get all stressed out with planning that you can’t enjoy yourself at the event. It’s not worth it. Not everything will go right. Not everyone will show up. But just go with the flow and enjoy the ride.

17 Comments on Book Party Tips From Marianne, last added: 12/12/2008
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17. Making the Most of the Sometime Dreaded Book Signing

Dear Friends,

As a follow-up to Robin's post last week where she talked about our upcoming signing, I wanted to let you know that we've gotten a very enthusiastic response from people calling the bookstore and buying our books as a donation for Girls, Inc.  For friends and family that live out of town and can't come to our event, or maybe aren't interested in owning a children's book themselves, they seem happy to have a chance to support us, an independent bookstore and some under-served girls. So file that away in your Tips for a Successful Book Signing folder.  ~(:-] ) How might you connect your signing (or other event) to some greater good, beyond book sales for you?  

In addition to way looking forward to spending the afternoon with Robin at the bookstore, we will have plenty of books to sign for Girls, Inc.  And busyness begets busyness as we've discovered.  An author signing a big stack of books draws more customers over to the table than one sitting alone looking frightened/desperate/embarrassed/bored/catatonic.  Robin doesn't know this part yet, and please don't tell her for god's sake, but we'll be assembling book gift bags at the signing. So, we'll have fun, stay busy, and be making a difference in the lives of some girls that will be getting a cool gift.

I'm going to post the number of our indie bookstore here if you'd like to participate, which you can do through 5:00 pm this coming Sunday, July 13th. We've had some Violets do so already. Thank you so much!! Chaucer's Books phone number is 805.682.6787. Tell them that you want to buy a $35.00 gift certificate for the Mary Hershey signing for Girls, Inc. This allows each girl to get a personally autographed copy of my book and Robin's book.

Lastly, for the duration of the summer, Robin and I will be posting a new entry once per week, instead of twice weekly. The new post will be on Monday. On Thursdays, we will be featuring a previous post from our archives. We have a wonderful wealth of new readers that have joined us, and we look forward to their input on our previous posts. Starting in September, we'll resume our twice weekly Monday/Thursday new postings.

We hope you'll each find some ways to treat yourself a little bit of extra breathing room during the summer months! Give yourself some time to read (the brain candy kind), to try something new, to fully inhale (and exhale), to live in present time.  Dig down and retrieve that blissful summer feeling that you had as a kid, lie down and roll around in it. 

  :o]      "-]
Mary & Robin

1 Comments on Making the Most of the Sometime Dreaded Book Signing, last added: 7/12/2008
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18. Report From BEA (Part Two)

STATUS: It’s always a crush when I’ve been out of the office for a week. I’m proud to say I’m now finally seeing open spots on the desktop for the first time today.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? BACK HOME AGAIN by John Denver

Here’s how I can sum up my BEA. With the exception of the Graphic Novel Author Breakfast on Saturday morning, any event I had planned to attend was a bust—real snoozers.

And the one panel that was a spontaneous choice was the one I enjoyed the most—and that was the panel discussion on Hardcover versus original trade paperback for a debut novel.

Basically there was no consensus on whether it helps or hurts an author. Several examples were given for both—of how a trade price point really helped to break out an author and how an author got sunk by the hardcover pub with the higher price point.

There was even mention of my larger concern about not getting the audio deal and foreign rights for an original trade pb (although I have to say that foreign publishers seem very flexible with what they buy and the format doesn’t seem to impact too much).

My hope was that the discussion could veer into new territories, like setting up the possibility of rethinking how original trade paperbacks are bought, their marketing/promo plans (because let’s face it, as agents we are mostly worried about original trades not getting the love from pr and marketing and the reviews needed to really succeed as those aspects have been slow to evolve), and perhaps discuss new trade original royalty structures if more and more books are pubbed as original trades and not hardcovers. Those percentages haven’t changed in a hefty while

I don’t care if something is going to pub in trade pb if I know I can get the support, the backing, and that my author could earn as much via that medium than through hardcover as the original format.

Lots about pubbing original trade make sense and yet, there’s still those possible issues that make it hard not to be hesitant. Still, I see it’s where the industry seems to be leaning so I’d just like to see some other aspects about this format embraced.

But back to the Graphic novel breakfast.

From left: Jeff Smith (author of Bone), Jeph Loeb (producer of Heroes and currently writing Hulk for Marvel), Mike Mignola (Hellboy), and Art Spiegelman (Pulitzer Prize-winner of Maus)

Here’s what I learned. Folks who write and illustrate comic books are passionate about them and a lot of writers have been doing this for some time—long before it was popular.

1. They all were slightly amused by the term graphic novelists.
2. They are, and always will be, comic book writers, thank you very much.
3. They are all slightly amused to be considered “cool” now as well.

The tipping point for comic books happened, for some reason, about 4 or 5 years ago and they knew it when librarians started coming to them with “no need to sell me on the format, I get it but what should I be buying? What’s Good?” That’s when the format had arrived into the mainstream. It’s also not just about comic book publishers anymore. Many traditional publishing imprints (like S&S and Random House) are buying comic books and positioning them like traditional books (for lack of a better word).

I found the whole breakfast, and especially Spiegelman’s visual presentation about the history and the how and why of how he go into it, particularly fascinating.

I certainly can’t say that I’ve been a long-time fan or anything like that but I’m interested. I certainly had a bunch of comic books when I was growing up (boy did this bring back memories) and many of my college buddies wrote, illustrated, and collected comic books so I was certainly exposed to the medium. Now I just need to get back in touch with those guys and say, “hey, your time has come. Maybe we need to dig out those works.”

Last but not least, I thought you’d get a kick out of seeing the author autographing stalls. One author called it horse racing in reverse. It does rather mimic that!

19 Comments on Report From BEA (Part Two), last added: 6/6/2008
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19. A Lesson To Be Learned from Popular Books?

STATUS: It’s late and I have lots to do tomorrow. Still, I had a fun evening.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? WHEN YOUR MIND’S MADE UP by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova

Even if you are a successful writer, you can still just be a fan. Tonight I attended the Stephenie Meyer event (hosted by the Tattered Cover) with my assistant Sara, Ally Carter, and Ally’s good friend Beth. All three are huge SM fans and of course were delighted to meet Stephenie (and Elizabeth, if you are reading this, huge thank you for the backstage passes. I owe you the Gallagher Girl book #3 ARC!)

It’s amazing to attend a book signing where the fans scream before the event begins—to be in a crowd where readers are palpably excited about books. That in and of itself made attending the event worthwhile.

But that’s not what I really want to blog about. While at the event, all four of us got to talking and my author Ally Carter had an interesting observation that I thought was worth sharing.

When books are as successful as THE HOST and the TWILIGHT series (or say, for instance, the Harry Potter books), there is often a focus (by aspiring writers) on whether the books live up to their popularity—whether they are worth all the hype. Writers tend to focus on their own opinions about whether they like or dislike the books rather than what they should be paying attention to which is what they can learn from books that have captured such attention.

Books are popular for a reason. Trying to put your finger on that “why” could potentially teach you a lot about your own writing.

Now of course everyone has an opinion and all those opinions are certainly valid but what I’m getting at is this: Even if you dislike a popular book, try and see past that opinion to the “why” behind why devoted fans love it so much. You might just discover something that could take your writing or your next project to the next level. It might not but that “why” is certainly worth contemplating.

28 Comments on A Lesson To Be Learned from Popular Books?, last added: 5/21/2008
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20. The Introvert’s Guide to Solo Book Signings

Since our focus is on bookstores this month, we thought it would be a good time to touch on the subject of book signings. Mary’s talked about them recently and had some compelling reasons for doing a buddy signings. But what if you simply don’t have another writer you can pair with? What’s an introvert to do?

Alas, not having a buddy does not give you carte blanche to completely bow out of book signings altogether. Book signings, specifically book signings at independent bookstores, are worth their weight in gold, even if only two people show up. How can that be? Remember—publishing and bookselling are all about connecting with readers. Indie bookstore employees are some of the most dedicated, passionate readers around. Even if no one else shows up, you can take the opportunity to chat with them, ask what books are going like hotcakes in their store, what their personal favorites are, what helps them sell and get behind a book. You can also sign stock.

So repeat after me, even poorly attended book signings give you a terrific opportunity to connect with booksellers, and connecting with booksellers is one of the best tools in your marketing arsenal.

But what are some other strategies you can employ to help you feel less like a pimple on the bookstore’s nose as you sit at a table waiting for someone to come buy your book. Here are a few suggestions.

1) Think abundance. Mary and I have found through trial and error that if you sit with a big pile of your books, it tends to draw people to you. Occasionally, we’ve sat at tables with just one or two of our books with the bulk of the copies some place else. This doesn’t seem to work as well, so see if the store will let you have plenty of books on your table.

2) Bring a couple of ice breakers along. Candy is always good. Few can resist a piece of candy, although I recommend something that can be popped into one’s mouth in a single bite in order to avoid any sticky residue on fingers that could end up on the inventory!

3) Consider a raffle or giveaway. That way instead of asking people if they’d like to BUY something, you can ask if they’d like to WIN something by entering a drawing. This can be much more comfortable way to approach people. You can raffle off a copy of your current book, an earlier title, or even a small prize that ties into the theme of your book.

4) Schwag. Have enticing little piles of bookmarks, pencils, tattoos, whatever. Things that you can ask customers if they’d like (free) so you can break through that invisible wall that seems to exist between customers and signing authors.

6) Consider donating a portion of the proceeds to some worthy cause: the children’s library collection, a literacy group, the local Girl’s or Boys club. Often if you can find a way to give back to the community, the community will feel even more enthusiastic about supporting you. Plus, it shifts the focus from you to your worthy cause.

7) Keep your expectations realistic. Do not expect throngs of people. Every author has had a book signing where only one or two people show up.

8) Stay in the moment and focus on gratitude for those people who did show up. Connect with them, chat for a few moments.

9) See if the bookstore hosts any reading groups or knows of any local reading groups who might be interested in your book or attending the signing as a group.

10) When setting up the signing, ask if the bookstore will consider doing presales for customers who would like a signed book but have other obligations on the date of your signing. This helps make the even just that much more worthwhile for everyone.

11) If all else fails, be a mimic. Pretend you’re somebody else, someone you’ve seen who is able to interact comfortably with people and always seems gracious. Just pretend you’re that character for the duration of the event.

12) If you know you’re bad at small talk, make up a list of conversation starters. What books have you read recently? What grade are you in. What are you studying in school right now? What’s your favorite book? Have you seen the new Spiderwick movie? Whatever. But something that shifts the focus from you to them.

If any of you have other strategies that you’ve found helpful, or if any indie booksellers out there have additional ideas on what you’ve seen work well, feel free to pass it on in the comments!

11 Comments on The Introvert’s Guide to Solo Book Signings, last added: 5/10/2008
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21. Getting more than you asked for

I asked a librarian at Taylor if she could give me a quote about the two days I spent at her highschool talking about writing and Shock Point that I could put on my website. Diann did more than that. Here’s what she gave me:

Diann Fox, Librarian, Taylor High School: “April Henry's visit to our school was a resounding success. When speaking to our high school students, she came across as a "normal" person who, through perserverance, achieved her dream of becoming a published author. The students loved hearing the stories of how she gets her ideas and delighted in hearing how an author can fictionalize real events and get back at annoying people by making them characters in books. Above all, the connection between seeing the "real" person who wrote the book they are holding in their hands has gotten so many of our non-readers reading. We couldn't be happier with the outcome of April's visit.”

Lloyd Collier, ELA Instructional Facilitator: “I thought she did a great job explaining how her experiences and the news of the day gave her ideas for her novels.”

Shelli Cobb, 9th grade ELA teacher: “One of my students said that meeting April and listening to her really made her believe for the first time that she could be a writer.”

“Christine Hodges, 9th grade ELA: “It was amazingly insightful and witty. I never knew what to expect because it changed each time I was there.”

A parent told Diann that her daughter who never shows excitement about anything came home bubbling about hearing this author from Oregon.

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