Behind the Scenes at an Author Signing

March 18, 2017

You hear about them all the time, see them popping up on Facebook – author signing events. If you’ve never been to one, you probably wonder what all the fuss is about. Well, wonder no more. I’m going to tell you.

But first, an apology. I said I was going to update my blog once a week, and last week, I was remiss. But I do have a good reason: I was at an author signing almost 500 miles away! Coincidentally, that is the subject of this week’s ramblings (uh, I mean post), so you’ll understand why (hopefully).

If you’ve never experienced a signing firsthand, let me tell you, they are something to see. I haven’t attended that many, but I have gone as both a reader and a signing author, and I can tell you that they were two completely different experiences.

Attending an author signing as a reader

Last summer, my family and I went on a vacation to Myrtle Beach, SC. While there, I met up with fellow author and great friend Tonya Brooks. It’s always trouble when the two of us get together, and this time was no exception. We ended up assuming secret identities and hitting up a nudist colony… but I digress.

(shameless plug here: if you subscribe to my newsletter, then you got to hear all about our foray into nudism)

Anyway, Tonya picked up a couple of tickets for us to attend the Authors with Southern Charm event in Charleston. I’d never been to Charleston, nor to a signing, so we went. And had a blast! I got see what other authors do, fan-girled over some of my favorites, found some new authors to stalk, and walked away with a bag full of signed books and free stuff!

Overall it was a great day. We went. We talked. We laughed and had good time. And then it was over, and I had more fond memories to add to my trip.

Attending as a signing author

Attending as a signing author was a little different. Plans have to be made way in advance (some signings book authors 2 years ahead!!), and it takes weeks (if not months) of prep work. It goes something like this:

  1. Find an event and see if it’s doable with your family calendar (not as easy as it sounds)
  2. Submit an interest form and hope they accept you (unless you’re a NYT or USA Today bestseller, expect many more rejections than acceptances.
  3. If an invitation is extended, then the real work begins. Pay the fees, make travel plans and lodging reservations, set up pre-orders, order swag… (let’s just say there’s a lot to do)… and hope fervently that someone who likes your books will come to see you
  4. When the time finally arrives, there’s the packing, the travelling, the unpacking, and the setting up.
  5. And then you hope some more. The signing itself is my favorite part. From either side of the table, I get to meet people I’ve chatted with online, see some familiar faces, and make new acquaintances. Maybe I sell some books, maybe I don’t, but that’s not why I’m there. I’m there to connect with other readers and writers, people of my ilk who love books just as much as I do. If I’m lucky, each encounter will end with a smile and I hope that when they hear or see my name again, it brings good memories to mind.
  6. All too soon the signing is over, and it’s time to pack up (and figure out how I got all that stuff in those boxes in the first place). More packing, more travelling, then more unpacking and sorting it all out. This is a time for reflecting, wondering what worked well and what I would like to do differently (assuming I do get invited to another).

Not quite the same, huh? I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining, because I’m not. I love the chance to travel, see new places, and meet new people. For a social introvert like me, author signings are one of the only ways I get to do that. Somehow, it’s a lot easier when it involves bonding over a shared love of books.

(And it doesn’t hurt when there are some good-looking cover models in attendance, either ? )

Have you ever been to an author signing? If so, I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment below or email me at and tell me what you think. And if you think you might like to come out and see for yourself, check out my current author signing schedule.

? Abbie

(p.s. The image you see on this blog post was the author group photo taken at Authors in the City in Raleigh last weekend. Photos by Golden Czermak (FuriousFotog) and Cassy Roop (PinkInkDesigns))