Book Events, Bookish Odds & Ends, Discussion Posts, Features

The Dos & Don’ts of Attending Author Signings/Book Tours

DosandDontsofAttendingAuthorEvents

All the way back in February 2016, I attended my very first author event.  To say it changed my life is an understatement.  Over the past 3 years, I’ve attending many author events & book festivals.  By attending all these events, I’ve picked up some basic “dos and dont’s” to attending author events that I thought I’d share what I’ve learned with you all.

Here are some dos and don’ts of attending author events…

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Since every event & event host is different, it is very important to do some basic research prior to the event.  Some author signings are ticketed events.  Check with the event host prior to the event to see if purchasing tickets are required.   Many of the ticketed events I’ve attended require you to purchase the book the author is promoting from the event host.  Some hosts will also give you a line letter/number for the signing queue, oftentimes the earlier you get tickets, the better line letter/number you’ll get!

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Kate Morton

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Depending on the author and event host, the author may sign their other books that you already own!  You can call the event host beforehand to see if the author will be selling backlist books or not.  If they are not sure, bring the books just in case.

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Jason Reynolds

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This rule only applies to certain book events.  As a parent you can use your best judgement here.  Does the author write books with themes that may be inappropriate for little ears?  If so, you should not bring kids to the event.  Another reason why you should not bring young children to an event is that these events can often last a few hours.  Many of the events I’ve been to, the author will talk for about an hour or so then the signing begins.  I’ve waited in a signing queue for 2 hours before… I don’t know about YOUR kids, but mine would not be up for waiting around for hours.

If the author is a children’s book author, then bring your kids!

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Lisa Jewell

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Depending on who the author is, and how popular they are, you will definitely want to arrive early to secure a seat.  If you are like me, and like to be front row for optimal picture taking & hearing ability, you need to arrive extra early.   A good rule of thumb is to arrive at least an hour early for more “popular” authors and around 30 minutes early for lesser known authors.  Another good tip is to call the event host and ask them how big they think the turn out with be.

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Mary Kubica

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Since you will be arriving early (see above), you are going to need something to do while you wait.  What better way to pass the time than with your nose in a good book?  Bonus points if it is a book by the author you are there to see.

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Maggie Stiefvater

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I know, I know.   Most of us bookworms are introverted and tend to be on the shy side.   I cannot encourage you enough to strike up a conversation with fellow attendees!  These are your people!  You already know you share common interests, so you really shouldn’t worry you won’t have anything to talk about.   Talk about the author you are there to see.  Do they have a favorite book by the author?  Have they read the book the author is on tour promoting?  What did they think?

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V.E. Schwab

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While you are striking up conversations with all your fellow bookworms, make sure not to spoil the book for others if you’ve read it.  Never assume everyone has read the book that the author is promoting.  Actually, many of the book signings/tours I’ve attended, the majority of the audience has NOT read the book yet.  Also, be aware that any questions you ask the author do not include any spoilers!

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Sabaa Tahir

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Buy the book!  Now, I understand you may already have a copy, but I cannot stress enough how important it is to support the event host.  Your support guarantees the store/host will be able to host more events in the future.  Like the great Patrick Rothfuss said, “Amazon doesn’t host author events…”

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Jenny Lawson

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I know this one sounds like common sense, but I have seen the use of flash photography at more than one author event I’ve attended.  When I attended V.E. Schwab’s book tour for A Conjuring of Light, one attendee was taking so many pictures (with flash) that you could visibly see the discomfort it caused Schwab.  Plus it was disruptive to all of us around her.   This is not to say that you shouldn’t take pictures, just make sure to turn off your flash and use some common courtesy to the author & your fellow attendees.

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R.L. Stine

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Come with a few questions in mind to ask the author!  More often than not, there will be some type of Q&A session with the audience.  Actually, I’ve been to a few events where the author doesn’t really give any type of spiel, but just opens it up for audience questions.

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Mackenzi Lee

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When it is your time to meet the author and have your book signed, don’t “hog” the author.  If you had questions, the Q&A session was the time to ask.  At this point, you should be using this time to have your book signed, take pictures, and tell the author how wonderful they are.  Just remember there is most likely a line, and there are others who are patiently waiting for their chance to meet the author too.

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Leigh Bardugo

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Information to gather prior to the event:

*Check the event host website or call the event host*
  • Are tickets required?  If so, where can they be purchased?
  • Is purchasing the book the author is promoting from the event host mandatory?
  • Will the author be signing their backlist books?  If so, do they need to be purchased from the event host, or can attendees bring in their own books?
  • Is a big turn out expected?  How early should I arrive?
  • How will the signing queue work?  Do attendees receive some type of line letter/number?
  • Will the author take pictures with the attendees?

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LetsChat

Do you attend author events?  If so, which one has been your favorite?

Do you have any “dos & don’ts” that you would add to this list?

Comment below and let me know 🙂

9 thoughts on “The Dos & Don’ts of Attending Author Signings/Book Tours”

  1. This is an excellent post. I’ve been to dozens and dozens of readings at this point. The majority are for lesser-known authors invited to college campuses, so there’s a chance they will be absolutely flattered that you’re even there. One of the biggest name authors I’ve met and spoken to was Junot Diaz, who was very kind (which made me extra angry when I learned that he forced himself on some women). I’ve also met famous authors who aren’t well known (that sounds weird to write), like the National Book Award winner Jaimy Gordon and runner up Bonnie Jo Campbell. Here’s what I know about the lesser-known authors: 1) Don’t ask “where do you get your ideas/inspiration.” It reeks of an amateur. 2) Don’t ask the author to sign multiple books. What, are you going to sell them online? Why autograph a stack? Pick your favorite and have the author sign that one. Authors often look confused when you want their John Handcock repeatedly. More than likely, these authors will write something personal. I’ve had authors leave messages, draw my ear, and give me their email addresses. 3) Telling them your personal feelings about their writing will make them giddy all night–but know when to say “thanks bye.” I had an author who sent me her book circa 2014, which I reviewed on my blog. I saw attended her reading a year ago for her newest book, and she RECOGNIZED me. Whoa. However, authors will fly all day to get to an event and are tired. Every academic in line behind you wants to ask the author their theories on x,y,z. Try not to be that person.

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    1. I am very fortunate to have been able to attend all these events! Most of the events I go to are held at an independent bookstore that is about an hour drive. Ohio also hosts two wonderful book festivals each year that are about an hour to an hour and a half drive for me. I definitely do not take it for granted 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have attended local author events which are super nice. I also like to attend author events at Nora Roberts Turn the Page bookstore, you have to show up super early and they hand out tickets in groupings of about 20. Each grouping gets a time slot to show up in so that the store doesn’t get overwhelmed 😀 It’s really nice and the authors are AMAZING.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have heard of Nora Roberts’ bookstore! It is definitely on my list of bookstores to visit someday. That is a very interesting way to host an author signing! Are the time slots just for the signing? Do the authors give any type of presentation? If so, do they give it for each group?

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