Sunday, March 18, 2018

Books signings suck...

A fun place to sign: Thriller Fest in NYC. Yup that's Diane Capri and Lee Child
...unless that is, you're an angry celebrity politician like Hillary or a witty cable television news anchor like Gutfeld or Sleepy Eyes Chuck (sorry, couldn't help it). A few authors can still command a decent audience at book signings. Lee Child, and of course, JK Rowling. Maybe if you write children's books you can gather a tribe of school kids who love your books. Some romance authors maybe. EL James and all her "Shades of Grey."

I do maybe one or two signings per year, and it usually takes place in Manhattan. These are usually quiet affairs but fun nonetheless as we like to make a night of it, no matter how many people show up (or don't). I guess I'm known mostly for my eBooks, but naturally, all my work is available in print and audio too (shameless plug).

This about sums it up...

Bad book signing memory: I show up to my signing and an old dude is standing in my place at the very front of the store as you walk in. I recognize him as a local news anchor who's penned a tall-all about the local Albany news scene. The book is published by the bookstore owner. When I enter the bookshop, I'm told to "Go to the back of the store. There's a table set up for you there." This is back when an earlier edition of The Remains was published (sloppily I might add) by a small press. I sign maybe 12 books in the hour I spend there, and then I walk out, tossing my pen in the garbage.

I never went back to that store again. Why should I? Writers have power now in this the new golden era of writing and publishing. We no longer have to be bullied and trampled on by stores, publishers, or agents who think we need them more than they need us. Hit the road Jack...

But The Remains would go on to be sold to a major publisher (Thomas & Mercer at Amazon Publishing) and overall I believe it's sold 200K units over the course of its two editions. Not bad for a guy who was pushed to the back of the store not that long ago.

Even now, I can promo my books online and sell hundreds if not thousands while doing something else, like writing new fiction for instance. Because after all, I'd rather be writing than standing like a dope in the middle of a bookstore. However, that doesn't mean I don't love meeting my fans. It's just that book signings no longer need to happen at bookstores. They can happen at conferences, bars, eateries, book clubs, you name it.

Yesterday, I told around 2K books while whooping it up in a bar for St. Patty's Day. It was a hell of a day, let me tell you. A home run kind of a day. Not all days are like that, but every now and again, you need one both for your bottom line and your head.

I love bookstores, especially those that sell rare editions. They're not going away anytime soon, or so I hope. But unlike the old days, I don't feel the need to come crawling to them in order to "move the units." When I sign live and in person, it's just more of a fun, interactive kind of thing. Bottom line: I'm happy to sign books for anyone who wants one. But it may not happen at a brick and mortar bookstore. And why should it?



  1. So the key to book signings it to be in a bar with a bunch of drunk people who'll pay for your book because it is probably less expensive than another drink. Got it. Time to make arrangements for 2019 Mardi Gras. Thanks for the tip.