Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Buy Me

Bella Stander's article* Book Promotion 101 comes across with a definite edge to it, as if she meant to subtitle it 25 Things You'd Better Do For Your Signing, You Twit, Or Else. Been burned a few times, I guess.

I'd never spoken in public before I was published, and I was terrified at the prospect. To combat my cowardice, I went to Poetry Open Mike night at B&N for a couple of months. Getting up in front of strangers and reading my really personal stuff banished most of my stage fright. I'll never be comfortable with public speaking, though. The whole time I'm talking, I'm thinking, the hem of my dress is stuck in the waistband of my pantyhose or did I do a spinach check on my teeth after dinner?

I think most authors do a fair job with booksignings, but few are stellar at it. Neil Gaiman is, of course, but you probably have to go through TicketMaster now to attend his signings. Mystery author Laurien Berenson does a nice, classy job with hers (and you can talk about dogs with her and her eyes don't glaze over.) Janet Evanovich is funny, and reads well, but like Neil's her signings are generally swamped.

If you're looking for a public appearance role model, go no further than Marcia King-Gamble. Marcia is a tall, gorgeous romance author who has the elegance and fashion sense of a supermodel. Unlike most of us, she looks better than her author photos. Along with the presence, Marcia knows how to put anyone at ease. She might be sitting at a rickety card table outside a B. Dalton, but talk to her for two minutes and you'll swear you're in a sidewalk cafe in Paris. A lot of Raven in The Steel Caress was me dealing with my Marcia-envy.

Who do you think gives great booksignings?

(*link filched from Southern Comfort.)


  1. Anonymous11:33 AM

    Thanks for enabling comments. I've wanted to thank you for many of the posts that you've put up. Love the top ten.

    Good luck, good writing.

  2. George Pelecanos did the best signing I've ever attended. I was in the stacks beforehand, and GP walks up to me, shoves a hand at me, and says, "Hi, I'm George."

    He wasn't even waiting for the appointed hour. He was already talking to people.

  3. Anonymous6:03 PM

    I got to see Connie May Fowler at a publisher's showcase last year and she's been the best so far. She has this snarky soft-spoken sense of humor that I really related to.

    I'm happy to see comments by the way. Thanks! :-)

  4. I had a wonderful time meeting Suzanne Brockmann. She was signing at a local charity event and had brought her husband, Ed and her best friend Eric, who chatted with us in line and told funny stories. Suz was great. She overlooked the fact that I was tongue-tied and probably looked like I was going to pass out at any moment. She asked me about my favorite book of hers and my favorite SEAL character, answered some question I was able to eek out and posed for a picture with me. She was fabulous—witty, actually looked me right in the eye, and didn’t consider me a stalker. It was one of the best author signing experiences I’ve been to.

    BTW, congratulations on If Angels Burn. It’s on my list for my next trip to the bookstore!

  5. Anonymous11:37 AM

    The subtitle you gave my Author Behavior Guide made me laugh out loud. I wasn't burned, but everything in it came from recent personal experience as a program organizer at the Virginia Festival of the Book.

  6. Anonymous12:49 AM

    Bella Stander wrote: I wasn't burned, but everything in it came from recent personal experience as a program organizer at the Virginia Festival of the Book.

    I'd call that front line combat experience. :)


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.