Last May 23rd, 2012, I attended a book signing at Mysterious Galaxy. It was for Cecil Castellucci’s new book, Year of the Beasts, which is a novel that is part narrative and part comic book.
It’s a novel notion—to have alternating chapters of prose and comics, and I was eager to find out how YA author Cecil Castellucci thought up the idea.
As I sat there waiting for the event to start, I realized with dismay that there were only a few of us in the audience. Cecil had her book launch in L.A. the day before. I figured most of her friends and fans had gone to that event and probably didn’t want to drive to the South Bay.
I wondered how Cecil must be feeling, knowing she’d driven all the way here just to chat with a few of us. Was she disappointed? Sad?
I needn’t have worried, though. Cecil is a professional author, a rockstar, and a veteran when it comes to book signings and public events. She went into that evening’s event without expectation, and she gave us the same energy she would give a room full of people.
That made me think of the reality of being a debut author. If I ever did get published, I’d probably encounter the same fears as any beginning author. I’d be afraid that I’d come into an event and no one would show up.
And this is the first reason I attend book signings.
1. I go to book signings to support the authors who have worked their asseTs off to get published.
I know how much authors have given up to get published. I know because I’m giving those things up too—watching favorite shows, hanging out with family and friends, lazy weekends. All those things get set aside because Time is precious when you’re a writer struggling to get published. Most moments not spent writing is a waste of time.
But Time isn’t the only thing a writer gives up. Money becomes an even more precious commodity. Writing conferences, workshops, and classes all cost money. Not to mention money spent on paper, ink, office supplies and books.
I am a reader, and a writer, and I know the value of stories and books, and the hard work that goes into creating one. I go to book signings to support the people who write books, those who publish books, and those who sell books.
2. I also go to book signings to learn.
There is so much to learn from authors who have made it. And authors are generous people who will love nothing more than to see you succeed. Whenever I go to a book signing, I leave with some new writing tip, some new technique for lifting writer’s block, or for finding story ideas. I also leave with query tips, tips on how to get published, and even book or website recommendations, which in turn lead me to favorite new novels, or helpful writing books, or websites.
3. I go to book signings to get inspired.
Writing is a long and lonely task—and one that often entails a lot of self-doubt. Being in our heads all the time and stuck in the worlds we create is fun, but it can also easily drain us of motivation. So it’s good to come out of our writing caves, explore the real world and get a different perspective.
And the best perspectives usually come from people who have been where we are, and have done what we’re trying to do.
Seeing favorite authors in the flesh is a thrill in itself. But whether they’re favorite authors or new authors, hearing them talk about their journey to publication always inspires me.
These authors remind me why I write, and why I need to keep on writing. They make the dream of publication more real for me, because they are living, breathing examples of what happens when writers never quit on their dreams.
4. I go to book signings because I am a bibliophile.
There, I said it. I love books. I am addicted to the smell of the printed word, and the feel of books in my hand. I am a book addict, and I will take any excuse to add more books to my already teetering collection.
I also like to tell myself that I buy books because I’m supporting the industry, which I hope someday to be a part of.
5. I go to book signings to network.
Book signings are always a great opportunity to make new friends and to connect with fellow writers. You can never have enough writer friends.
Sometimes the author’s agent and editor will also show up at the book launch, and I find that a great opportunity to introduce myself to them. The agents may not remember me in the long run, but I can always refer to our meeting when I query them.
6. Finally, I go to book signings to earn good karma points.
What goes around comes around, they say. Here in Los Angeles, especially, I find this to be true. I see the same people at book signings—authors supporting fellow authors.
One day I hope get published. Thanks to various writing events and book signings, I’ve made wonderful connections with other writers and authors. I know they’ll be there to show their support for me at my book signings. Why? Because writers are grateful people who love to return the favor.
So now you know why I’m always featuring book signings on my blog.
I’ve been to a few more since Cecil Castellucci’s signing for The Year of the Beasts. Apparently, June is the month for book signings.. So don’t be surprised if you see more posts on the book signings I’ve attended this month.
Anyway, these are my reasons for attending book signings whenever I can. What about you?
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