Friday, September 19, 2008

Bookseller Debbie Meredith

by Joan

I’d like to thank Joan and Romance Bandits for having me as a guest blogger. It is a pleasure to be here!

My name is Debbie Meredith and I am a romance book addict. Do I have any desire to be cured of this malady? No thank you!

I’ve been reading romance for almost 40 years and have seen many changes in the genre over the years. Trends have changed and now instead of the “bodice ripper” that we expected in the 70’s we have a large variety of sub genres to choose from. Romantic suspense, paranormal, historical, contemporary, books with romantic elements, mysteries, there is something for everyone and they definitely suit my every mood. The variety and the knowledge that we will get that happy ever after is the why I love to read and recommend the romance genre.

I am fortunate enough to be able work part time for a local independent bookstore and I can honestly say that I love every minute of it. As the romance manager and author liaison I have the pleasure to arrange and host author book signings. We have had many best selling authors at our store including J.R. Ward, Teresa Medeiros, Elizabeth Bevarly, Lori Foster, Patricia Rice, Shiloh Walker, Lora Leigh, and many more. I love the excitement that comes from meeting and chatting with the authors and the reactions of the fans that come to the signings. When possible, we offer the chance to share supper with the authors after the signings. This seems to be a fan and author favorite event.
(Debbie with authors TL Gray and Sara Reinke. Deb is second from right)

We enjoy promoting the author signings. We send out press releases to all the local and surrounding area newspapers. We’ve had several articles published about the store signings. We make bookmarks and posters and take them to several key spots to post for the event. Bookmarks are placed in all the new and used romance books several weeks prior to the signing so that any customer has all the information ahead of time. We often put inserts in the shopping bags of our customers. Even if that person doesn’t read romance they may know someone else that does. We have a wonderful electronic marquee that we post book covers and signing information and that goes a long way to inform the public about the signing. I love decorating the store to reflect the special event that the author book signings really are.

One of my favorite things to do for the signings is to make goodie bags filled with author promo goodies. Bookmarks, note pads, pens, whatever promo materials the authors share with us, we put in the bags and share them with our customers that come to the signings. It gives a lot of exposure for many authors at one time and I love introducing new authors to our customers.

For over four years I’ve done the web site for the store, including monthly romance previews, lots of author interviews, a few reviews and announcements for store activities. Many of you know my online persona of BookstoreDeb. Now I have my own web site, where I continue the tradition of interviewing awesome authors, book previews, reviews, book excerpts and recommendations and author promotion. I also have a blogs and My Space accounts under both the BookstoreDeb and Leah’s Literary Lair names.

What do you expect or hope for when you go to an author signing? What do you think could be improved to make the author signing more pleasurable? I’d love to know your thoughts on this matter.

Tell me what authors you would like to meet and what draws you to their writing. I always enjoy learning about new authors!
One lucky BB will win a $10 gift card from Borders to find a new author to enjoy!


Louisa Cornell said...

Bwok Bwok??

Ken Hatch said...

oh louise you're quick

Louisa Cornell said...

GOTCHA! No don't run! Step away from the car keys! NOW!

Okay, I'm better now.

I so envy you your day job, Debbie! It must be a romance addict's dream! I LOVE book signings! It is so much fun to meet authors and to mingle with people who love the author's work as much as you do or meet people who are just discovering your favorite authors.

The goody bags are a great idea!! One thing I have thought might be nice for the author is to have a guest book of sorts for the readers to sign and leave messages. It would be a neat gift for the author to take home and read and maybe even have a place for the authors to put photos and mementos from the signing.

The poor author has to sit there and sign books and I am sure they want to remember the things fans say to them. (Maybe not sometimes! LOL)

I love attending book signings that have all of the authors' books available and not just the current book.

One of my favorite books signings was for Bob Morris (Jamaica Me Dead, Bahamarama.) He brought his traveling companion - a palm tree growing from a coconut AND he was the bar tender for his guests mixing Jamaica's National Drink for those who wanted it and providing Jamaican ginger beer for those who preferred the non-alcohol route. He wore a gaudy tropical shirt and there was reggae music playing. It was a real party in the intimate setting of a small independent bookstore and it was so much fun!

Authors you can't go wrong with are ANY of the Bandita Ladies as they KNOW how to party! The only thing they do better than party is WRITE!!

Cheri2628 said...

I would love to go to a Bandita signing party! I could meet these wonderful authors who also happen to be lovely people. I know it would be fun, too, because they know how to throw a good party. ;)

Cheryl (aka Cheri)

Helen said...

Well done Louisa watch him with that car Frodo should be able to keep him in line

Great post Deb you have my dream job Deb what I would give to have a job like that.
I have only been to one book signing about 3 years ago I drove 3hours to Canberra to meet Stephanie Laurens and it was a thrill I loved it and I have been to a talk given by the wonderful Anna Campbell and was so thrilled to meet her and am going to see her again and meet Annie West as well this time.
It is such an honour and priviledge to meet such wonderful awesome people and I appreciate the work involed by the bookstore owners the goody bags sound wonderful I love coverflats bookmarks and all of that sort of stuff .
Have Fun

flchen1 said...

Deb, what a lovely job you have! :) I actually haven't had the pleasure of meeting an author in person yet, but would love to meet any of the Banditas in person! I'd also go out of my way to have the chance to meet Sarah Mayberry (she's from Down Under, so I don't know when I'll have the chance! Maybe if she comes to the States for RWA or something...), Beth Ciotta, Stacey Kayne, Lisa Wingate, Tamera Alexander, Heidi Betts, Stacey Kayne, Sylvia Day, HelenKay Dimon, Jeannie Watts... I could go on and on and on... and of course SEP, Jennifer Crusie, Julia Quinn, Loretta Chase, Debbie Macomber, or la Nora :) All of them are great storytellers and create real, likeable characters, great sexual tension, and often manage to throw in a dash of humor. When I finish one of their books, I'm raring to read more.

Congrats on the GR, Louisa! Good job setting the ground rules up front! ;)

limecello said...

I have never been to an author signing. *thinks* Nope. I did accidentally stumble upon Peter Yarrow singing "Puff the Magic Dragon" over and over at a BN in Georgetown (DC) and that was fun - but I didn't stick around for much longer. I think I'd be too tongue tied to say anything to my favorite authors. I'd just dumbly hand them my book, wish desperately for something witty, charming, or even just vaguely intelligent to say. It likely wouldn't happen, and my turn would be over. *laughs*
I'm with a lot of the others on what authors - my potential list is so long. Maybe some day. Also I'm terrible with names and faces, so ... that adds a whole new dimension.

Carol said...

Louisa, Congrats on the rooster's visit! Hope he's better behaved this time...maybe bribe him with um...something!

Ken you just missed! Natalie must be on the road to Brisbane Writers Festival! Welcome!

Jo and I went to see Robin Hobb give a reading a few years ago, it was wonderful to meet her and be able to say how much I loved her books.

I told her how much I loathed one char. in the Liveship Traders...(he was the baddie) and she said as a writer you had to love every Character as well as the bad ones...
I think that was why he was such a good/well written baddie! She had put her all into him as well.

Debbie you have a great job to meet the authors, hear them AND get paid for it...

Cheers Carol

Margay said...

Right of the top of my head, I can think of three that I'd like to meet: Stephenie Meyer, Julia Quinn and Meg Cabot. Stephenie because I think she writes directly to the heart of teenagers everywhere and I just think she's amazing. Julia because she writes the most fun, witty and engaging Regencies ever. And Meg because she is so prolific and writes for young adult and adult and her writing is witty and fun as well.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I have only been to local authors book signings and that was many, many years ago when I was in my teens and early 20's. Jerry West, Hot Rod Hundley, Jesse Stewart to name a few. Victoria Alexander is going to be in WV this month and I most definitely will be there.
I would love, love, love to meet the banditas, as it has been mentioned, these ladies know how to party and write with flair.
Congrats on the GR Louisa, don't let him and Frodo get away again.

Joan said...

Louisa! You beat me out of the bird! We need him down here in Louisville to help with storm clean up. (Hey, they are using an elephant to pick up tree limbs in Houston...)

Booksignings are a wonderful place to meet your favorite authors. The first time I attended National, I stood in line to get Nora's latest. I told her that because of her "Tears of the Moon" etc. trilogy I had decided to take my first trip to Ireland. Her eyes lit up and we talked about that wonderful country for a few minutes. That was cool!

And ladies, the Banditas look forward to you attending our booksignings....bring chocolate.

Leah said...

Good morning and thank you for the warm welcome.

I was a little thrown when my first comment was Bwok Bwok but then I remembered Joan telling me about your visiting rooster.

I love my job at the bookstore and I hope that anyone that comes to our book signings sees that love shine through.

Louisa, I love the idea of a guest book for the authors! Wish I had thought of that. Hope you don't mind if I borrow your idea for our store.

It is fabulous meeting the authors and they have all been so gracious and fun to be with.

I have many, many authors I'd love to do a signing for but the biggest problem is finding someone close enough to come.

Unless you are a huge author whose publisher sends you on a very select tour and pays for it, then the travel costs are all on the author. It's bad enough paying for the gas now when you live a couple of hours away but when you live in another state, time and travel expenses usually outweigh what the authors are willing to spend. Most don't have the time to take from their writing even if they are willing to pay the expenses and unfortunately, most stores that I know of do not have a budget for this type of event. It sure cuts down on who you can get to come to your store.

I have been amazed at how far the fans will travel. Our store is in KY and we have people coming as far as Florida, North Carolina, and as far north as Michigan. Finding out where the fans have traveled from is an amazing part of the signings.

Better run for the moment and get ready for work at the day job. I work full time at city hall as payroll/accounts payable/police clerk and then evenings at the bookstore. Definitely keeps me hoping. I'll pop in later when I get to work.

Have a great day and thanks again for letting me spend the day with the Romance Bandits.


Joni said...

I love getting goodie bags, but would like a big plastic tote bag with a handle to carry the goodie bags in, especially if there is more than a few authors at the signing, which I'm sure you probably provide at your bookstore, but not all do. I think another way to get people to read new authors is to have sort of a relay where after you go to the first author you want to sign books you've bought, they hand you a card that has the next author's name on it that you need to that way you don't miss any of the authors signing, and even if you don't have their book, you get some type of promotional item with excerpts that introduces their book and other books of theirs to you that you may want to buy in the future. Does this make sense? This has never been done that I know of, but it was something I thought up that would help get more authors noticed at booksignings. I'm hoping this won't get authors ticked off, though if you don't have their book in hand for their signature which won't help their sales! But isn't that one of the risks an author faces when becoming a published writer? Enough about that. One of the authors I still have trouble meeting and talking with is Linda Howard, since she doesn't attend many RWA, RT, CR conferences or booksignings. Her name pretty much speaks for itself if you've ever read one or several of her books! I envy you, Deb for having such a fun and rewarding job as a bookstore manager. Hopefully, some day I'll get to come to your state and visit it...when is the problem, though as I live so far away! Have a great day today! :-)

ArkieRN said...

Let me just say that working in a bookstore is my dream job. It will have to remain a dream though because I have no self control. I'd spend every cent of my paycheck end up getting evicted from my apartment and having to build a small hut out of my books to live in.

I've never been to a booksigning. I'm kinda introverted and meeting people is stressful. I do like to purchase left over signed books when they are available though.

Jennifer A. Ray said...

Hi Deb! I have already been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to meet so many wonderful authors at your store's events: Lora Leigh, JR Ward, Toni Blake/Lacey Alexander, Teresa Medeiros, Shiloh Walker, Janice Maynard/Elizabeth Scott, and more!

I've always had fun at the signings at your shop, and appreciate the work your team does to put these together for us. It is always well worth the several hour drive from Nashville.

Who I would like to see? I'm going to throw names out without thought to their location, but I realize many of these would be difficult to schedule because of geography.

Eden Bradley, Anna Campbell, Larissa Ione, Stephanie Tyler, Maya Banks, Jaci Burton, Mackenzie McKade, Cathryn Fox - I could go on and on.

You don't see some of my other favorites on that list only because I've had the opportunity to meet them already. That list is only authors I would like to meet but haven't yet.

Thanks for all you do, Deb! Now I'm off to bookmark your website... :)

Maria Lokken said...

Wow - sounds like you really know how to do a book signing! Who wouldn't want to come.

I love book signings where the author talks about the book and how s/he came up with the idea. I also love when there's a Q&A with the audience.

Barbara said...

Hi Deb,

It sounds like you have a lot of fun with your job. Are arranging author signings the most fun, or do you enjoy the Web stuff more?

Take care,


emma said...

Hello from London,
I would love to meet Tara Jenzen, she has written 6 "crazy" books and 3 "loose" books which are an off shoot of the "crazy" series.
Funny, in-your-face, high octane books, grat one-liners, great chemistry between leading character.
There are a couple of books slightly darker and really gut-wrenching in the series too.
I would reallyt like to know where on earth she gor the ideas for these books.
If you haven't read her i strongly recommend her.

emma said...

If i worked in a bookshop i would tell everyone i was reading my fave books to ensure "they" would enjoy them.

Deb Marlowe said...


It sounds like you are an author's dream! We have a couple of really wonderful bookstore owners and Community Relations Managers in our area, and I cannot tell you how much we appreciate them. Your enthusiasm spills out and infects your customers and makes booksignings much less scary!

who is gathering her nerve for a signing tomorrow...

Anonymous said...

Hi Debbie! Thanks for being with us today!

I think it's so funny that when most of us started writing, we said writing was our dream job. But now, I bet half of us would say READING is our dream job. :-) I love the very idea of spending time combing through the pile of unread books, finding the gems in there to share with people, and then inviting their authors over for supper. Wow.

I've been lucky enough to meet a lot of my dream at romance conferences and such. To be honest, there's no group of authors I rather hang out with than my Banditas. That's just the simple truth. :-)

Anonymous said...

Wow, that was supposed to say "dream authors". It is way too early this morning for me to post and run.

Maureen said...

Hi Deb!
What a great job you have. If I could pick any author to meet I would pick Nora Roberts because she writes such realistic women and men in her books. I can relate to her characters and I like them and cheer fot their HEA.

Stacy~ said...

Great post Deb! And I love the Bandits - don't get over here as much as I'd like to.

I really wish there were more booksellers like you near me. I used to work at a big chain and I never felt like they utilized the local authors to the best advantage. It's a shame. So thank you for all you do for writers, and readers.

lamclane said...

HI Deb,

Booksigning at your store are always a blast and I really enjoyed the KYRWA event last year. You had authors hanging from the rafters! I know you hand sell books and get so many readers turned on to romance. Thanks!

Terry Odell said...

As an author, I watch people who come into bookstores on signing days. Some make a concerted effort to avoid eye contact and to switch their route to avoid the tables. (So far, I've only done group signings. I'd be scared to death to do one on my own.)
In reality, we don't bite. We don't make you buy our books. We're happy just to chat for a moment -- and you might even turn us on to new writers we haven't read yet.

I bring chocolate when I do a signing. Also bookmarks, postcard/flats of my books, and sometimes I'll make up little goodie bags that contain chocolate (of course) and a booklet of the first chapter of one of my books, plus a herbal tea bag.

My wish--that my publisher made it easier for the chain bookstores to get my books. I'm doing a signing tomorrow and literally don't know if my books will be there. I'll have a stack in my car, but it's such a pain.

Wendy said...

I have a confession to make: I've never been to a book signing. Ever.

PJ said...

Hi Deb! (waving) It's great to have you in the lair today. I'd love to come to one of your store's signings someday, especially after listening to Teresa and Liz rave about them. You do an awesome job up there.
RWA should have you share your knowledge and expertise with other booksellers at conferences.

My booksigning experiences have been limited to conference signings and they've been awesome. I'll be attending another one in Atlanta in a couple weeks and I'm looking forward to meeting a couple of the Banditas there. :)

Louisa, I love your guest book idea and Deb, the goodie bags are a wonderful bonus for attendees.

catslady said...

I've never been to a book signing either but not for lack of wanting to. There's just never been one that I was able to get to. I probably would be one of the tongue tied fans or would do the typical "I just love your books" and not be able to say anything meaningful (sigh).

Tracy Madison said...

Deb! Loved your post. It definitely sounds as if your bookstore knows how to do signings. Lucky authors--and readers. :)

traveler said...

Book signings are wonderful and I have attended several in town with local authors. They attract a great crowd since people here love books anytime. The Bandita's would be great.

anne said...

When there is a local author signing I try to attend since it is fascinating to hear them. I would love to meet many authors but the Banditas top the list. Deb, what a great and interesting job.

Christie Kelley said...

Debbie, welcome to the lair! It's great to get a booksellers view on things.

I've been so lucky to meet most of my favorite authors at the RWA and RT conferences. But it's so much fun to be on the other side of the table and sign books for people.

Joan said...

Sneaking in from the day job....

What really struck me about Deb's booksignings is the personal touch, something not always found in chain stores. She makes it fun and festive for the attendees AND the authors!

Also, her bookstore displays all their books cover out. I cannot tell you how GREAT that is! The cover draws the eye quicker than the title on a spine.

Now, back to work. See ya'll later!

Tawny said...

Hi Deb :-)

Thanks so much for visiting with us today! I've been lucky to do signings with some amazing stores, the booksellers go all out and really put a lot of energy into welcoming their authors. Sadly, a few times the traffic has been really slow though. One CRM explained that here in the SF Bay Area, there is such competition for entertainment, getting people to a bookstore signing is a major coup. Have you found that similar or do you have any advice on what the author can do to help bring in readers?

petite said...

What an ideal job you have Debbie. I am envious, so enjoyable. A booksigning that would be fun would be with the banditas. Imagine spending time with such celebs. A dream come true.

ruth said...

I so enjoyed this post about your job and the author signings. What a perfect environment in which to work. A joy each day would be. Goodie bags are great and I have attended an author signing in town which was amazing.

diane said...

I would love to meet Mary Doria Russell as that would be an honor. Booksignings are fun and entertaining and I would love a Bandita occasion. Working on a bookstore would make my day.

Jane said...

Hi Debbie,
I've never been to an author signing. It would be nice to be able to speak with the author for more than the minute it takes for your book to be autographed. I know the huge lines make it impossible for the author to meet with the fans in a more intimate setting. I like the idea of handing out goodie bags at these events. I would love to meet Julie Garwood, Nora Roberts and Heather Graham. I'm amazed at how Nora and Heather are able to churn out books so quickly and still maintain their level of quality.

Congrats on the GR, Louisa.

Cheri2628 said...

I have been to a couple of booksignings that had door prizes, and that was a lot of fun. It made attendees linger and shop more because prizes were announced every 15 minutes.

I think book basket raffles would be a good idea, too. The money raised could go to a local charity.

Cheryl (Cheri)

jenna said...

I enjoyed your post today and I have to choose a job soon and start working. What a fortunate career choice you have. Interesting and fun combination. An author who I would enjoy meeting is Santa Montefiore. Love her books.

Nancy said...

Hi, Debbie--

Welcome to the lair, and thanks for giving us a peek at the other side of the bookstore counter!
I agree with Louisa that the goody bags sound wonderful. As a reader, I'm always happy to get book-related freebies. This is an intriguing post.

I like to meet romance, science fiction/fantasy, and mystery authors. If there's an author who has a medieval historical novel, I'm interested in that person, too. It's nice when the author is friendly and chats. I go in part to meet the author, not just to buy the book. Even when the line is long (maybe especially), it's nice to exchange a few words with an author whose work I enjoy.

Carol, is that Robin Hobb's Liveship Traders? If so, have you read the Fitzchivalry Farseer books?

Joan, thanks for inviting Debbie today.

Louisa, you really should hide those keys. The GR has a secret, collapsible extender boot, which I suspect he developed with assistance from a certain other of our buddies, that enables him to reach the gas pedal. Really. Hide them!

Kestrel said...

I have never been to an author signing, mostly because I have small children to keep in line, and I just never seem to have the time. My mom and my sister have been to quite a few though, and they love to tell me about all the fun they have there, and who they got to see.
I like blogging now though because I can squeak in that few minutes with wonderful people like you Banditas, so it almost amounts to the same thing for me though!
I liked the idea of the book to sign for the author as well. Sometimes, as was mentioned, you get that tongue-tied feeling when you meet a person you admire, or don't have the guts to say what you really want to, and to put it in a book the author can pore over later and keep good vibes in is great!

Liane Gentry Skye said...

Deb, I already knew you were the best bookseller in the country, but it's been wonderful reading your post anyhow. You're even wonderfuller in my mind now. :D


patricia sargeant said...

Debbie! How wonderful to "see" you here! I just wanted to stop by to say hi and compliment you again on the wonderful booksigning events that you do. I had the best time last year. Hugs!

Leah said...

Please forgive my absence during the day today. It was a totally crazy day at city hall and I'm finally home and glad to sit and relax a bit.

Thanks to everyone for your wonderful comments. I'll try and comment to a few specific comments after I read them all.

Be right back!

Leah said...

Cheri2628, I would love to do a signing for all the Bandita's. That would be such fun. Ladies if you are interested, let me know and lets see what we can work out.

Louisa, we try to carry as many of the authors current books and several of their older books if possible. Especially if it is a series because so many people hate to start in the middle of a series. Unfortunately it isn't always possible due to the books being out of print, but we do our best.

Helen, I hope you can attend more signings in the future. I just love them, even when I am attending another store's signing. After all I have my favorite authors too! J

I'd love to meet all the Romance Bandits!

flchen1- You have listed some awesome authors that you would like to meet. I've had the please of meeting several but there are many more I would like to meet and do signings for. I'm really hoping that we can get Sherrilyn Kenyon to our store next year.

Limecello-I may be wrong but I don't think the authors are looking for witty things from their fans at the signings. I've been told that they want the fans to just come talk to them, tell them what they liked and if they didn't like something, that's ok too. But even if all you can do is stick your book out to be signed and mumble your name, the authors I've dealt with would be glad to see you.


Virginia said...

I would love to meet all the Banditas. I would also love to meet Elizabeth Hoyt and Constance O'Banyon, which is the main author that got me started reading in the first place. I have read Constance O'Banyon's books sense back in the early eighty's. Elizabeth Hoyt is a new author to me, but love her work so far.

Helen said...


I am going to The Australian Romance Readers Convention in Feb and there will be book signings talks a dinner lots of fun I am sure to be had. Anna Campbell is going as well as Sherilyn Kennyon Stephanie Laurens Annie West Sara Bennett Diana Love Denise Rossetti and the list goes on.
I am so looking forward to meeting these wonderful authors and some wonderful readers who love romance as much as I do.

Have Fun

Leah said...

Goodness I can't get over the number of comments! I love this blog!

Carol, going to a signing with Robin Hobb sounds fascinating. I love seeing and hearing something different.

Margay, you have a great author wish list!

hardwrkdmom- I had the pleasure of meeting Victoria Alexander at RWA a couple of years ago. I adore her books. Unfortunately I've not been able to afford the time or money to go again. Hopefully someday....

Joan, I had the pleasure of meeting Nora Roberts and getting my picture with her. Talk about being in shock! Her line was huge and truthfully I just didn't have the energy to wait. She was sitting with two other authors, they were all in an anthology together, I stopped to chat with the other two authors and get my book signed and they were passing them down for Nora to sign too. Guess it was the magic Book seller tag around my neck but Nora offered to have her assistant take a pic of us. Here she comes out from behind the table and poses for a pic, leaving all the fans in line to give me the evil eye. I was so excited to meet her, especially when I never expected it!

I met a ton of wonderful authors that trip and it is something I will NEVER forget.

Oh yeah Joan, one more thing...we have chocolate at our book signings. (Big grin)

Joni! Thank you for stopping by. I would love to be able to furnish tote bags too but unfortunately unless it is a HUGE multi author signing, it's just not feasible. It seems that most people that bring books in to be signed or know they will be buying several bring their own bags. Know I always do.

I love the idea of making sure all the authors are seen. We tried to have a scavenger hunt last October when we had the KYRW annual book signing but it fell through. We were offering prizes for people with got an autograph from each of the 19 authors in attendance. Some didn't want to stay that long, others didn't want to be bothered but it seems like everyone had a good time regardless.

Arkiern- this is my dream job but I think I give them every penny of my paycheck back and then some but oh what a joy all these wonderful books are!

We do try to and order enough books so that we can get some extra stock signed by each author for the customers that can't get in during the signing. We take online and pre-orders too. If you want a special book by an author coming to do a signing with us, you can pre-order and pre-pay, we get it signed and mail it to you. We have quite a bit of those orders.

Hey Jennifer Ray! So glad to see you here! Thanks so much for stopping by. I love seeing your friendly face show up at our signings! You are always a joy to visit with! I'm so glad you have fun at the signings!

Maria-the authors are just glad to have someone to talk to! They tell me that there is nothing more miserable that just sitting there and having people ignore you.

Barbara- I love both the web work and the signings. Most of the signings happen because of my contact with the author online. Either I meet them in a chat, myspace, arrange to do an interview with them, etc. It's all a ton of fun. I've been able to correspond regularly with several authors and I love it.

But as much as I love chatting online, there is still nothing like meeting a favorite author in person and getting to talk to them one on one.


jo robertson said...

Welcome, Debbie! We've never had a bookseller in the Lair and I enjoyed the insight you've given us.

One of the things I enjoy most is magnets, the kinds you slap up on your refrigerator. I may lose a bookmark, but a gal can never have too many magnets. And I find it's a good place to remind me of the author and her book.

Hmmm, I must stand in front of the frig a lot!

Joan said...

Hey, Deb!

The Banditas are thrilled to have you here :-)

I know here in Louisville, it is sometimes hard to know when an author will be signing at a bookstore. Our paper can't or won't print ads about it, and unless you hear through a online loop or a poster at the store, fans don't know.

How much promotion do you do prior to booksignings?

Caren Crane said...

Deb, welcome to the Bandits' Lair! My dream would be to meet Elizabeth Peters. I have enjoyed her novels my whole life, it seems, yet have never met her. I would also love to meet Loretta Chase. Maybe one day!

I have the great good fortune to be friends with Sabrina Jeffries, Liz Carlyle, Claudia Dain and Deb Marlowe - all of whom are among my favorite writers! I can't wait to have books to sign one day. I'll be coming by your store for certain!

Leah said...

Emma, I love Tara Jenzen's books! They are some of my favorites! Wonder when she has another book coming out. I know she writes under another name but I can't remember it for the life of me.

Deb Marlowe-Hey Deb! Thanks for stopping by and for the lovely compliment! I do love this part of my job and at times I wish we could do more! Good luck with your book signing! Hope it's a sell out!

Kirsten- I would love to read for a living. At least I think I would. lol At times I am under deadline to get a book read to do an interview or when I am judging for a contest and even though I am enjoying the books, I sometimes wish I had more time to just savor them. At those times I don't think I would want to be required to read every second, we all need a breathe of fresh air now and then.

Maureen- I adore Nora Roberts books too! I have tons of them in the keeper pile and way too many in the tbr mountain range that I haven't gotten to read yet. One thing is for sure, if it's a cold hard winter, I have plenty of reading materials to keep me busy.

Stacy-Thank you for the lovely compliment. I don't know that I do anything special but I just adore that part of my job. Just knowing the authors are about to appear puts such a jolt of energy in the air! I'm such a huge fan girl and I'm just as anxious to meet the authors and get my books signed as the rest of the fans are. I'm just glad that the authors and fans seem to enjoy it.

LuAnn-Thanks so much for coming by! You know we love having you at our store. Your books are wonderful and bring us so much enjoyment! Please come again soon!

Terry O-We encourage fans to bring their books in to be signed as well as buying a new book. We know some books just aren't available for purchase anymore.

We try to have chocolate for the authors and fans scattered around the store. I like to bake cookies for the signings and we always try to get the authors the drink of their choice and water for the customers to drink. I think it is the least we can do to say thank you for helping making the day special.

We like to greet each customer and welcome them to the store and to the signings. We usually have a few each time that don't realize a signing is going on but they end up coming over to check it out, just out of curiosity.

Wendy,don't worry because you haven't attended a book signing. I hadn't either till I started hosting them at our store!

PJ!! Hey Girl, it's good to see you! I miss chatting with you!

I'm so glad Teresa Medeiros and Elizabeth Bevarly enjoyed the signings at our store. They are just fantastic people. I do hope you get the chance to come to one of our signings in the future!

I've not gone to many conferences. The biggest being RWA in 2006. I was amazed and in total awe of seeing so many fabulous authors in one spot. It was like a dream come true!

The last couple of years I gone to the Lori Foster Reader/Author Get Together and I simply love it. What a fabulous and informal way to meet some of your favorite authors! It's always so much fun!!


Leah said...

Catslady- Don't worry about being tongue tied. I know several authors that are so shy that the signing can be torturous for them. I always try to just sit and chat with them and let them know that we are just everyday people too. They are glad to see you no matter what!

Tracy Madison-thanks for stopping by! I'm really looking forward to your new book! From what I've heard, it's going to rock!

Traveler, I'm glad you enjoy the signings. It seems that a lot of authors have given up on book signings because of lack of interest or participation from the store itself. I hate that. A book signing is often the only way a person not involved in the publishing industry can meet a favorite author. I hope the authors all know how much we appreciate all the hard work they do!

Anne-thanks for stopping by. I love meeting the local authors, whether they are romance or not. I've met some fascinating people that way!

Christie- I've never attended RT and only RWA once but I sure want to go back. It was so much fun and a fan girls dream come true!

Joan, thanks so much for the compliment. I want to make each signing special for the author and the customer. I'm always stopping to chat and visit with friends and new customers alike.

Tawny, thanks for the welcome. At times, no matter how hard we try, how much publicity we put out there will be the occasional slow signing. It doesn't make for the most exciting day but I love having that extra chance to chat with the authors. I've learned a tremendous amount this way.

It seems that the easiest way for people to find out about your signings is to see it online at your blog, your web site, etc. I mention them on the lists I am on, etc. It's amazing the number of people that show up that tell me they saw it on the authors site, etc. It's been kind of funny but I've have authors tell me that they didn't realize the impact it had when they posted about their appearances online until we specifically asked them to post it. Now they do it all the time.

Petite-To me all the authors are celebrities!

Ruth, I am so glad you enjoyed the post. Truthfully I was nervous about it when Joan asked me to be a guest blogger. I hope you continue to attend the book signings and support the authors!

Diane, as much as I love working in the store, it's not always fun and games. I am especially amazed by the customers that come in and say I want the book that was on tv last night. OK,I'm sure you do. Could you tell me the name or author? No? What's it about? You don't know? Ok. What show did you see it on? You don't know that either. Hmmmm. Well don't think I can find that one without a bit more info. Do they get mad? Oh yeah, and I'm an idiot because I didn't see that show and have that book ready and waiting for them. Oh well, can't win them all.

Jane, talk to your local bookstore or library and see if they are willing to have a book signing. If they don't know people want them, they may never have them. Our local B & N rarely has them which totally blows me away. I would have thought they could get the people to come there when you couldn't our little store.

Cheri, we have had door prizes before. Many won't stay, even when prizes are given out often and we've ended up with several prizes that people didn't come pick up. I love it when we can have it but most of the time the signing is so busy, we really don't have that much time for it.

Jenna-Congrats on hunting for a new career. I've always loved books and thought if I ever even had a small job in a bookstore I would be happy. I seem to have made my own place in this field and I love every minute of it! Hope you find the perfect job!


Joan said...

Oh, yeah...Deb's treats!

The first signing I attended there she had DOUGHNUTS!

That's right, Kristen...Wonderful doughnuts..

Uh, Kristen, are you drooling on the blog?

Leah said...

Nancy, My favorite signings have a mixed bag of authors. I love having authors of different genres at one signing. It gives the customers a chance to learn about many different genres of books and they will often try a new sub genre that they ordinarily wouldn't have touched.

Kestrel-Hang in there, your kids will be grown before you know it and you will have all kinds of time to do more things for you!

Liane, thanks so much for coming by! I adore your Writers Gone Wild Blog! Can't wait for your newest book to come out!

Patricia S- You are such a sweetheart! Thank you for coming by! It's always a pleasure seeing you. I hope you will come back to our store for a signing again soon!

Virginia-I certainly hope to meet the Bandits sometime soon. It's been so much fun to be here!

I'd love to meet Constance O'Banyon too. She has been a long time favorite.

Helen, I am officially and totally jealous! Going to the Australian Romance Readers Convention would be fabulous! Have lots of fun for me too!

Caren, you are so lucky to be friends with such cool authors! I had the pleasure of doing an interview with Sabrina Jeffries on the store web site and she was so gracious and fun! I do hope you can make it to our store. You are welcome anytime!

Joan, we do a lot more promo than most stores, or so I've been told.

We send out press releases to all the local newspapers and surrounding areas. We have put ads on cable tv, we put up posters and bookmarks in all the romance books, new and used. We post on all our online sources and ask that the authors post on their site and blogs, chats they attend, etc. We list on Craig's list, Book Tour, etc. We leave bookmarks at the library and used book store. We have had several nice articles in the newspaper about our signings. We post the signing info on our electronic marquee.

Word of mouth and author sites still seem to be the best ways to promote the signings. I often mention the signings on on the various author lists I am on, but only with permission.

I'm sure there are other things we have done but that's all I can remember right now.

Jo, I love magnets too. I love getting magnets in the author promo goodies. My frig would be covered if my hubby would let me.

I am always actively recruiting author promo goodies for the store and for my own site and blog. I hope to start having contests there too and sharing all the wonderful goodies!

Thank you Romance Bandits for having me here today!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Welcome to the Lair, Debbie! We've been looking forward to having you here with us.

You've had some great authors in the stores for booksignings. Is there any one author you thought did an exceptional job at interacting with the readers? Someone who just clicked with the readers?

Leah said...

Now that is a hard question to answer. They are all so gracious. I know that J.R. Ward is always a crowd pleaser. The last signing she gave an impromptu Q & A session and it was a huge hit. We had a ball. She is doing it again in October with the release of her newest book.

I am always amazed at how wonderful the authors are. Personally I have always put them on a pedestal and thought they wouldn't even send an email or talk to a country bumpkin like me but they have all been wonderfully gracious and I love knowing that no matter how many best selling books an author has, they are just like you and me.

Louisa Cornell said...

back from the DDJ!! By all means, Debbie, steal the guest book idea! I just think it would be a lovely keepsake for an author. I would include a photo of the bookstore - maybe with a picture of the author's books prominently displayed. Any pre-signing publicity articles etc. And if you take photos during the signing you could send copies to the author so they could put them in the book as well. It would make it a sort of guest book / scrapbook combo!

In our little local bookstore the mystery book club meets once a month and as they get to the end of each book they have had the opportunity a couple of times to invite the author to do a signing and little mini q & a with people who have just finished the book. It is always a big hit!

They've done something similar with the YA Reading Project the library sponsors and had some of the authors of the books on the reading list come by for a q & a. Anything to get the kids interested in reading and possibly in writing!!

Sounds like you have great signings AND a great bookstore to work in! Kudos to you!

Excuse me, I just heard the car starting!!! FRODO!!!! STOP THAT ROOSTER!!

Laurie D. said...

Hey Deb!

Thanks for the invite - I'll definitely be stopping back frequently!

I wish I was closer so I could attend one of your signings, they always sound like so much fun!

The authors I would like to meet include Jill Shalvis, Alison Kent and Pamela Clare.

Jill's books are always great fun, Alison's are difficult to describe, but always have an edginess and while I haven't read Pamela Clare's historicals, I could drool over her romantic suspense.

Have a great weekend, sweetie!

Joan said...

laurie d

I can vouch for how wonderful Pamela Clare's historicals are! She write in Colonial America....LOVE different time periods! :-)

kim h said...

i like leslie kelly annd vicki thompson. there books are hot and funny. the books i like to read.

Jodi said...

I would love to go to a huge book signing. I've only been to 2 - one for Kelly Nyrae, and the other was for a local children's author.
I would love to meet Lori Foster, as her books are the ones that got me hooked on reading romance!

Carol said...

Nancy, Yes I've read the Farseekers too! Loved them...cried lots in in a couple of parts will know where! Won't be a spoiler in case others have them on their lists TBR...

Louisa..with your love for canines..I'm sure you would love them too!

Joanne and I took our books to be signed, it was a real thrill to meet Robin Hobb.
Cheers Carol

Caffey said...

Oh, I'd love to work at a bookstore! I told my hubby that and he said 'But you'd spend your paycheck there' and I said, 'And whats the problem?' LOL
I'm not near you or I'd be there for the book signing. But its great that you take orders for those out of town so that we can order the books from the signing. So I hope you continue to do that. Too love the newsletter and hope the previews are coming back!