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April 30, 2010

Summer, Signings and Self-Publishing. Thoughts?

Posted by Dana

Running an independent bookstore is a labor of love and courage.  I know - I did it for 5 years myself!  As with any small business, one of the best things is being able to make all the decisions yourself.  But as you can imagine, that can also be one of the hardest things.  In today's post, guest blogger and bookstore owner Jamie Layton needs a little help.  Check out her questions on book signings and self-published authors and if you have some thoughts on the matter please share!

findus1.jpgSummer is fast approaching on the Outer Banks and with it lots of shelf stocking and event planning. Our store sponsors an Author’s Discussion Series in conjunction with the Town of Duck. For six weeks, every Friday features a one hour program by the author (at the Park Amphitheatre) followed by a two hour book signing at the store. Programs range from sea glass identification to cooking demos to question and answer sessions. This is the second year of the program and I have almost finished filling the six slots with a variety of authors and subjects which have proven popular over the years.

This is also the time of year I start getting inundated by self-published authors (or those from small publishing houses) who would love for two things to happen- 1- for me to carry their book in the store and 2- for me to host a book signing at the store for them. I have the utmost respect and admiration for someone who can sit down and actually write an entire book and then handle the entire publishing process on their own . With that in mind, I’ve had quite a few such authors in the store, with mixed results. These requests never cease and I’m wondering what the general book-buying public thinks about book signings and am hoping that faithful Reading Group Guides readers will weigh in with their opinions!

Here goes:

  1. When you walk into a bookstore, whether it be independent or big chain, what attracts you to a table featuring an author signing books?
  2. Does knowing they are a local author draw you in?
  3. Is it the subject matter that pulls your attention?
  4. How often have you seen such a signing advertised and attended the event?
  5. Do you feel ‘bad’ if you speak with an author but don’t buy a book?
  6. Do you think more highly of a bookstore that has a busy schedule of author event?

Your comments will help me so much as I try to decide what to do for the summer…

By the way, our Reading Group just read Amy Greene’s Bloodroot- I LOVED it!!! I’m a fast reader and this book and Greene’s writing style made me slow down and savor every page. A terrific story about three generations of one family whose blood and roots run deep on Bloodroot Mountain. One of my favorites of the year so far!

--Jamie Layton, Duck's Cottage, Duck, NC