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.

year of the beasts Cecil Castelluccis Year of the Beasts, and Why I Attend Book Signings

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.

cecil castellucci Cecil Castelluccis Year of the Beasts, and Why I Attend Book SigningsCecil reading from her book

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.

with cecil castellucci Cecil Castelluccis Year of the Beasts, and Why I Attend Book SigningsWith YA author Cecil Castellucci

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. icon smile Cecil Castelluccis Year of the Beasts, and Why I Attend Book Signings

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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23 Responses to “Cecil Castellucci’s Year of the Beasts, and Why I Attend Book Signings”

  1. mooderino says:

    I’d turn up at your book signings (well, if I wasn’t 5000 miles away). I’m sure I wouldn’t be the only one. Wonderful post.

    mood

  2. shelly says:

    You forgot another reason, Nut. You’re a real writer’s sweetheart.

  3. Those are all good reasons! I’m sure Cecil appreciated you took the time to come see her.

  4. Rita says:

    When I could still get out and about, I loved going to book readings, poetry readings, book signings, local musical events, local art showings, live plays…actually all things I learned about while attending college when I moved up to Fargo-Moorhead 13 years ago. It was like this new door opening! Things I had never paid any attention to when I lived in Minneapolis. Surprising what one can miss one’s first 48 years while just busy surviving and living–LOL! I’d recommend any of those events for people to experience. I am so very glad I did. And I can vicariously attend with you, too. ;)

  5. Nutschell, Those are all great reasons to go. I especially appreciate the giving up things, and fully appreciate keeping good karma.
    Have a great weekend!

  6. All excellent reasons. I love supporting local authors. We have developed our own supportive community, and it’s great.

    Play off the Page

  7. You are *definitely* earning good Karma points… thanks for sharing – and supporting :)

  8. Leslie Rose says:

    I had the privilege of seeing Cecil on a YA panel at the LA Festival of Books a few years ago. She’s awesome. Love all your book signing points – I second all the motions.

  9. So, you have an entire wing dedicated to your library, like in Beauty and the Beast? =) I love it! One day I’m going to join the ranks of active people–awesome people like you and show my support. That is, as soon as I have a car, and am not tripping over little people at every step. Hey, when you come to Orlando for the signing of your first book, I’ll be there!

  10. Popping over from Writer Escape where a Leibster Blog Award awaits you. Pop in to pick it up. Love you book signing features! : )

  11. Nutschell, we’re practically book signing twins! I feel the SAME WAY. The book idea sounds pretty cool. It’s like when Brian Selznik wrote the Hugo Cabret book–it was so different from what was out there. I’m going to check out this book.

    Did you ever read the Rick Riordan article where he shares about going to book signings with nobody before The Lightning Thief got buzz?

  12. I agree with everything you’ve said! I go to signings to be supportive, because I imagine sitting there and having no one show up, and that is horrifying. Plus, I like to meet authors! And I love books! So on and so forth. Has anyone ever had an issue with you taking photos? I always leave the camera at home, but only because I’m not sure how it will be greeted.

  13. Nick Wilford says:

    Those are great reasons. I’m sure public appearances are nerve-racking no matter what stage you’re at as an author. And that book looks intriguing!

  14. Wonderful post! And with your attitude and heart I don’t think it will be long until you will be the featured author at a signing of your own! Keep on keeping on, and best of luck to you!!!

    Elaine, A Heart 4 Heaven

  15. Love your reasons, Nut! They are my reasons too. Especially addicted to the smell of the written word. And what goes around comes around. If you come anywhere close to me, I’ll be there. Anticipating a dynamic Nut conversing and reading from HER written words. :-) (((hugs)))

  16. Reason 4 is a great one! Of course all our book buys support the industry!

  17. I used to have a lot of book signings but never did a reading. Just seemed a bit awkward for me to do that. I’d rather mingle up and down the aisles and meet people and talk to them that way.

  18. Debbie says:

    I have never been to a book signing, but I think it would be fun! I have had Dan Marino from the Dolphins sign me.

  19. Great insight Nutchell. I usually go if I know the author. However, after reading this post, I think I’ll try to make it out to a few more.

  20. Southpaw says:

    I think that is great. It is also so cool just hear from someone who made it.:)

  21. Old Kitty says:

    Love the pic of you and your signed book with wonderful Cecil! Yay!!

    I go to book signings to gawp at my favourite authors and bask in the presence of their greatness! :-)

    Oh and to have a copy of their book personalised just for ME! Yay!

    Take care
    x

  22. Great reasons for going to book signings and Cecil looks so cool and in control. I’ve done a little book signing but not many people turned up and if I’m honest I was relieved. It was nerve wracking!

  23. Great reasons… and I agree with them… they’re pretty much my reasons too:)

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