The signing at the MoA was.... interesting, as we like to say in Minnesota.
Alas, I was also looking forward to seeing Sujata Massey, but she didn't show up. Though I came prepared, we didn't end up doing the ten minute readings either. I bought more books than I sold (but that actually happens a lot more than I'd care to admit.) On the positive side, I got the chance to hang out with Michele Hauf and Emma Holly, who are always a hoot, and, of course, my friend Kelly McCullough. Mason, my son, got to go to Lego Land with Shawn and he thought that was pretty dang special.
I wonder about booksignings, sometimes. I mean, I've had some really successful ones, including one which was a disaster in the other direction because the bookstore didn't have enough books on hand and I sold out within the first ten minutes. Lately, however, it's been surprisingly difficult to muster enough support from friends and family to get people to turn out to signings. When I do signings at smaller venues at speciality stores, I'll often make postcards that I hand-address to everyone I've ever known. That helps. I'll get a 10% return on those (if I send out 100, 10 people will show.)
But you can only really do that once, you know? People don't show up again and again to buy a book they already have.
Plus, I tend to have better luck with signings that are in the Twin Cities proper. There's some reluctance (which I can totally understand, actually) for people to drive out to various suburbs to pick up a book that they can have Amazon deliver to their doorstep. Goddesss knows, I'm lazy. I often intend to go support my friends and then find something better to do on a Saturday afternoon.
Book signings are one of those mainstays of being a published author. But are they really useful? I've heard people say that signed books don't get returned, so it's worth going just to sign all the stock for the bookseller. But, I've also heard that's not true, since the covers are ripped off returned books so a signed book is of no more value than a non-signed one. Yet booksellers have also told me that signed books sell better in the store, so they're worth doing for that. But, I don't know. I sometimes feel like the hassle you've put the store through isn't really worth what they get out of it.
My question is what do you think about book signings? Do you go to them? What makes you want to go?