Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Unless You're Already Famous, "Signings" Are Better Than "Readings"

I've just come off the first leg of what David Terrenoire aptly dubbed the "Hell On Earth Tour 2006" and I've got this observation to make:

Unless you've got the kind of name (King, Grisham, Clancy, et. al. ) that can pull a crowd in, "signings" (where you sit behind the desk and work on charming random passers-by) are better than "readings" (where everyone's supposed to show up at a specific time and listen to you bloviate about your books, fiction and life in general).

The places where they've parked me near the door or the sales desk behind a pile of my books, I've found, have been a much more fertile ground for sales than the ones where I'm supposed to stand behind a podium and speak. The latter, I'm afraid, tend to draw only family and close friends (and again, thanks to David Terrenoire, my other friend Dave, Kim, Nan, Katy, my Aunt Brenda, and...well, that's about it. )

But give me a chance to accost random strangers, and I'm in my element.



Anonymous said...

Well, seeing as how I've shared table space with you, trying to snare unsuspecting passersby, I can attest to your mighty talents on that front.

I mean, aside from that one time you totally lost it and shouted "Hey, bitch, buy the book!" -- and by then it was late in the day and you were already looking forward to rum -- you were charming as hell.

Unknown said...

I would rather stick my manly appendage in a meat grinder than accost random strangers and ask them to buy my books. Sad, but true. Just one more reason I'll never sell many copies.

Sandra Ruttan said...

I'm not terribly fond of readings. I'm not an auditory learner, for one thing, and unless I know the characters and a bit about the book, I usually find myself drifting during a reading. I need it in front of me, to follow.

Pathetic, eh?

But Bill, if you try that, I'm sure you'll amend your opinion.

Anonymous said...

Well, you'd be right at home at Seattle Mystery Books ~ all of our signings are held at noon for customers who drop by on their lunch hour to get their books signed and chat with the author. Very fertile ground for snagging the random passersby and unsuspecting customers...come visit us one of these days.


Stephen Blackmoore said...

Have you considered signs that say "FREE BEER WITH EVERY BOOK SOLD"? After all, Meisterbrau's cheap. Pick up a case and you've got 24 sales right there. And you'll be remembered a lot better than if you handed out coasters.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Stephen, I dare you to say that on Konrath's blog. LOL!

JD Rhoades said...

The problem is, it's illegal to give out free alcohol in my state.

David Terrenoire said...


Geez, and you call yourself a crime writer.


Stephen Blackmoore said...

Illegal!? What twisted alternate reality do you live in? That's just plain wrong.

Why if you gave it away free, imagine all those liquor store robberies where somebody just wants a case of Pabst or a gallon jug of vodka.

Of course, I think they should do the same thing with cars, guns and smack, but does the state legislature listen? Noooo.

Anonymous said...

Well, the charming passers-by you got, but HOW could you actually live in a state where it's illegal to give away booze?! Isn't that unconstitutional or something? (Er, not that that's unusual in these days, but, still...) Damn, my entire NC Book Sales Blitz is all shot to hell!