Book Signings: What They Are and Are Not
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Twenty-some years ago, when my wife and I ran a little bookstore in Chicago, a common occurrence was to have a red-faced rep burst into our shop with a dozen copies of a book under his arm. Struggling to catch his breath, he would announce that the author of this book would arrive in ten or fifteen minutes to sign the copies, and would we please pretend that we had ordered this title and knew something about the author, even though neither of these things were true. The point, of course, was to make the author think the publisher had done a good job distributing the title, which was not true either, and to gratify the author’s ego. Most of those signed copies were returned to the publisher the next day. The situation with book signings now is completely different. These events have become one of the most important ways that booksellers create a sense of excitement in their stores. The larger outlets schedule multiple signings each day, seven days a week. And instead of being hysterical last-minute arrangements, these signings are carefully planed in advance and effectively publicized through advertisements and store mailings. Nor are these events restricted anymore to well-known authors published by large houses. Many self-published authors and very small publishers have discovered to their delight that bookstores, and in particular the major chain superstores in an author’s home town, are eager to schedule events. This is especially true if these events are not just sig…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).
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