In the past couple of years, I have been lucky enough to meet some of my favorite authors at my local bookstores.
Every book event is a little different and book festivals are even different from those. But, here are some tips for events (non festivals). We have a post for Yallwest, a specific book festival in Southern California, if you want to check it out HERE. We are planning to go to Yallwest and I might be planning a meet up so please DM me on Instagram if you’re interested!!
Book events are such a fun way to meet readers in real life. I am such an awkward human and never initiate conversations with other humans, but at book events I am more comfortable talking to people. I mean these people love the author you are there to see as well! You already have something in common!
Here is a little “how-to” guide on book events, if I have missed anything you are curious about DM me on Twitter/Instagram or comment below and I’ll try my best to answer it. This post is pretty long, but there was a lot of cover. Props to you if you read to the end.
- To find events I usually follow specific bookstores near me on Social Media. Authors also usually post about their tours on their socials. I share tour information on my IG stories and have a highlight section for them as well. But, it can be tricky and sometimes tour details are not posted until a few weeks before the event. The bookstore is always the place to go if you have questions, NOT THE AUTHORS.
- Figure out the details of the event. The bookstore’s website (or social media) is usually the best place to go to. Sometimes I have had to call the store for specific details.
- Do you need to buy a specific book? Any of the author’s titles? Know how many books you can bring from home and how many books the author is willing to personalize. Again, this information is usually on the store’s social medias.
- If there are multiple authors you usually only have to buy one of their titles as your “ticket” into the event, but you then might not get to meet all of them.
- Sometimes if the event is for a new release you can preorder the book in advance. This sometimes reserves you a seat or a place in the signing line. I have never done this because I usually don’t plan that far in advance.
- Know when to get there! If it isn’t a ticked event and it’s a popular author (Leigh Bardugo, Cassandra Clare, Sarah J Maas, etc) get there EARLY. I would suggest getting there before the store opens or even before if you want to guarantee a good seat.
- If you get there early, plan for being there for the whole day (or go home), but that means bring your portable charger, water, and something to do. When I met Leigh Bardugo we literally hung out at the bookstore from like 9:30am to when the event started at 7pm…
AT THE EVENT:
- If you want a photo, make sure you ask about the protocol. Most of the time they are allowed, but not always. Plus, sometimes you can go around the table, but sometimes not. Or sometimes only candid photos are allowed. There sometimes is a person designated by the event to take photos, make sure your camera is up when you hand it to them.
- Don’t ask dumb questions! (okay this is a personal preference and tbh is kind of petty of me), but often times the authors have talked about certain things a million times. Also, do not ask spoilery questions. You can talk to the author about specifics when you chat with them during the signing.
- Try to buy something from the bookstore, maybe you don’t have to buy the book the author is promoting but try to at least support the store. Hosting authors costs the publishers money and they are more likely to go back to that store if the event boosts sales. If you end up with an extra copy of a book host a giveaway or give it as a gift. I have done a few giveaways this way.
- Bring a post it and sharpie to write your name on and place it in the book, so the author will know how to spell your name. If this is a large signing, they probably will have post its, but not always. Plus, then you don’t have to waste your time with the author spelling out your name.
- HAVE FUN! Chat with the people sitting next to you. (Almost) Everyone is there because they love the same author, so you already have something in common.
- Be polite to the author, the people working the event, and the other attendees. This is common sense, but I have seen some rude people at events before and it is always uncomfortable.
- It’s okay to go by yourself or with your parents! I have gone to a few events alone and I always just end up chatting with the people next to me. I also dragged my dad to see Maggie Steifvater and he claims he had a good time.
- When you go up to meet the author try to have a question in mind that you want to ask them or something you want to tell them. Otherwise you might freeze and it may be awkward. But, also don’t feel that you have to say something. Leigh Bardugo said recently that if you have anxiety don’t worry about it! You can always say silent or give them a letter. Here are some talking points:
- Ask about their book! Or tell them how much you love it.
- Ask how they are doing. I have done this at the end of signing lines when I have been waiting a long time because I know if I am tired, they must be as well.
- Compliment them (I have complemented their outfits so much lol)
- Ask a question about their writing process, their new releases, their favorite character to write, their favorite character, etc.
- I also like to ask if they have read anything good lately, especially if it is an author who I have not read their books.
- Sometimes being a Barnes & Noble member will get your preferred seating.
- Some authors bring swag to give out, but I would not expect this
- Also, some people bring authors gifts or card. This is BY NO MEANS necessary, but if you want to do something like that, feel free to do so!
- You can also bring other things from home (bookmarks, prints, bookshelves, T-Shirts, etc).
Hope this helped a bit & please comment/DM me if you have another questions!
Thanks for reading this MASSIVE POST and if you made it this far, ILY!