Notes and Tips on Book Conferences and Signings

My brain is a little fried from being at the Public Library Association (PLA) 2014 Conference, so I think you’ll be hearing mostly about that! Convenience aside, I think it might be useful for those who have never been to a book-related conference before, or signed books at one, to hear a little bit about them. I’ve been to writing conferences, but this has been very different (and awesome!). And so was my signing (my very first!), which was surreal and spectacular.

So, some things people might not know about big book conferences and signings (if you’re like me, a few days prior), and some tips:

PLA Conference
It was big.

–These conferences are big, an ocean of people, and it can sometimes feel a little like you are drowning. (PLA is even smaller than some!) It’s nice just to get away, find a table, rest your feet and read one of the 10,000 ARCs you’ve picked up. Also, brings snacks for when your blood sugar inevitably hits rock bottom and HYDRATE. (I got a killer dehydration headache.)

PLA 2104 Loot
So I may have gotten a few free ARCs/books… just a few.

–You get A LOT of ARCs. And finished books. A lot. Did I mention a lot? It’s tempting to thing, “Ooh, FREE!” and snatch up anything and everything. Yet, it’s probably best, right from the start, to pick and choose not only what you want to read, but what you absolutely know you WILL read. Otherwise, your back will break from the books you’re hauling around. Also: ask before you take a book. I saw a lot of people accidentally (or not) thieving displays that weren’t up for grabs.

AdriAnne and Mallory
Mallory and me posing with a fresh-off-the-press ARC of WORDLESS!

–This may seem like a no-brainer, but wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Especially the shoes. I walked miles at this conference, no kidding. Mallory, my awesome publicist, wore Converse sneakers with her cute outfits, and she had the right idea. I wore newish leather boots, and I had the wrong idea. (Ouch, feet.)

IMG_9476
Signing WORDLESS and not making a mess of things!

–Prepare for your signing. By which I mean: Pick out the pen you most like, because all pens write differently, and you don’t want to be stuck with one that isn’t best for you. It’s hard enough to sign without your ink bleeding or blotting. Also, practice what you’re going to sign. Before my signing, during the breaks I had between exhibit explorations and the various programs, I filled a whole sheet of paper with the little message I planned to write in my book with my signature, as if I was in grade school again—but instead of writing, “I will not talk in class,” I was writing “Words are powerful.” Good thing, otherwise I would have destroyed a few of my ARCs while discovering I tend to write “powerful” with no R. Speaking of misspelling, always ask people to spell their names for you. (“Amy” could easily be spelled “Aimee,” for example.)

–Finally, if you’re nervous about what to say to people while signing a book for them, just ask a simple question to get them going (“Where are you from?”/“How’s your day going?”/“Are you enjoying the conference?”), and then they’ll generally talk the entire time!

That’s all for now, folks. I’m going to sleep. For a few days.

-Adri out

adriannestricklandAdriAnne shares a home base in Alaska with her husband, but has spent two cumulative years living abroad in Africa, Asia, and Europe. While writing occupies most of her time, she commercial fishes every summer in Bristol Bay, because she can’t seem to stop. Her debut YA sci-fi/fantasy, WORDLESS, is coming August 8th, 2014 from Flux Books. You can follow her on Twitter and like her on Facebook.
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