The Future of Book Signings

Yesterday I did a book signing at a local Barnes & Noble with seven other authors. They table I was sitting at was set across from the section where people could look at and examine Nooks. It was interesting to watch how busy the Nook stations were for the three hours we were there—especially the Kid’s Nook station. Parents and their kids would walk in and instead of heading to the kid’s section in the back, they’d run straight to the (kid) Nooks. I saw many Nooks get sold, half of which by my estimation were bought for the kids.

My first book came out before eReaders were popular. The biggest difference I’ve noticed between book signings then and now is that at least half the people who stop by the table ask if the books are available in eBook format. (Earlier this hummer I had a lady pull her Kindle out of her purse and download one of my books instead of buying a paper copy.) It got me thinking if the popularity of eBooks will have an adverse effect on author signings.

Here’s what I predict: In the next two or three years the number of author book signings will plummet. Mostly this will be because more bookstores will close and those that do remain will have less foot traffic than they do now. The other part for this decline will be that authors without a large readership or those just starting out will find book signings to be less and less productive way to spend their time and will find other ways (mostly online) to grow their readership and fans.

That’s not to say book signings will completely go away –just transform. Instead of walking into your local bookstore and seeing an author sitting behind a table with copies of his or her books, book signings will become more like social events. They’ll become a great way for readers to meet their favorite author in person. (You’re starting to see more ticketed events when a big name author releases a book. Usually a hardback version of their book is included in the price of the ticket.) They’re could be music, food, and all the trappings of a party. And if you add a limited number of tickets to an event for the bigger name authors, you build up hype and it quickly becomes a must attend event. This change will be great for well-known authors with a large fan base but a problem for new and midlist authors or those with small number of readers. That means the authors who know how to market themselves and their work will be the ones who reap the biggest benefit from this shift.

This change will be good for both authors and bookstores. Those who are good at selling themselves and their books will see more signings and bookstores will be able to stay afloat in part from the profits of these events. Those who aren’t as adept at this won’t find themselves behind tables at bookstores anymore. That means instead of sitting behind a table they can spend their time working on their latest book or find other (read: more productive) ways to build their audience.

Where I'm At: Write Here in Ephraim

Write Here in Ephraim 2011

On Saturday I'll be teaching a memoir writing workshop at the Write Here in Ephraim event in Ephraim, Utah. The event is sponsored by the Ephraim Library and is free and open to the public. It will be held at the old South Ward Chruch at 105 E 200 S. The doors to the event open at 8:30. Workshops start at 9:00 a.m and will run until 5:00 p.m. My workshop, Memoirs: How to Tell Your Story, will start at 9:15 a.m. and run until 10:00 a.m. I'll be showing ways to bring personal stories to life as well as covering the dos and don'ts of memoir writing. I'll also be on an author panel at 3:15 about the path to publication.

Even if you don't want to see me, there are other great authors who will be giving writing tips including Julie Coulter Bellon, Rachelle Christensen, Michael Young, Jewel Adams, Tristi Pinkston, Gregg Luke, Clint Johnson, and more.

Here's a complete schedule:

8:30: Registration


9:15 A.M.

E-Books - JEWEL ADAMS Welcome to the wonderful world of E-books! Got a great novel you want to publish but can’t find a publisher? Or would you like to have full control of your novel an make it available to purchase until you find a publisher? Or do you just plain not care about finding a publisher and want to fly solo? - E-books aren’t just the future of book reading or a temporary fad, they are here to stay. Learn why you should give publishing E-books a go and take advantage of the wide open market. Come to understand that an E-books isn’t “just an E-books,” they are just as important as traditionally published books. Get tips on how to market your E-books and learn about the numerous outlets in which to sell your books and share your work with the world.

Memoirs: How to Tell Your Story - ABEL KEOGH- Writing a memoir is a great way to share a personal experience. Learn how to bring your story to life in such a way that will wow readers and keep them engrossed from page one to the end. In addition we’ll cover the dos and don’ts of memoir writing as well as how to know whether you have a story that agents, publishers, and readers will want to read.

Fish Slap: What’s your writing motivation? - BRON AND SHIRLEY BAHLMANN Many people say they want to write a book but never follow through. Yet if, say, a fish slapped their face every time they missed a deadline, the result might be the opposite. In the absence of raw fish, what separates the sayers from the doers? A humorous and informative look at various motivational strategies for writing.

10:00 A.M.

"A Serious Look at Comedy" – BERIN STEPHENS

Essential Elements of Suspense – GREGG LUKE: A brief overview of each element and how each contributes to writing nail-biting suspense. Q&A to follow. Key Points covered: Characterization, Pacing, Anticipation, Detailing, Resolution.

Finding Time for our Talents– JULIE COULTER BELLON - Have you ever wished there were more hours in a day? Wondered how you can fit it all in? Is being a writer a dream you have yet to accomplish because you just don't have time? This class will give you some insight, tips, and inspiration on how to maintain that balance of developing your writing talent with the other demands on your time. Julie Coulter Bellon, the author of seven books, a mother of eight children, and a teacher at BYU, will share all her secrets for how to have it all.

10:45 A.M.

My Journey as a Writer and How I Got That Book Published – CHERI CHESLEY

Writing Mystery – JOAN SOWARDS - There is nothing more fun than losing yourself in a great mystery novel than writing one! Every story can have a touch of mystery. Learn the tools, terms, and how to diagram a story, along with basic plotting and good writing elements, no matter if your mystery is a cozy or hard-boiled.

Blog Tours and Book Promotions – It's a Piggyback Ride – RACHELLE CHRISTENSEN - Learn the secrets of effective Internet marketing for you and your products/books including author promotion, blog tours, blog hops, giveaways & more. How can you increase your blog readership and followers? Find out how Rachelle promoted her blog, increased her followers to over 500 in one year and got paid to do it.

11:30 A.M.

Author Panel – Habits of Published Authors –Heather Justesen, Berin Stephens, Rachelle Christensen, Tristi Pinkston, Clint Johnson, Karen Hoover

12:15 –MIX AND MINGLE with guests

1:45 P.M.

Story Construction 101- REBECCA TALLEY - A story needs a strong foundation and certain building blocks to be successful. Learn what you need to include in your blueprint to begin building your story. After we learn what essential materials we'll need, we'll use our tools to begin construction as a class. Come prepared to share your creative ingenuity.

Writing for the Peanut Butter Crowd: Essentials of Picture Book Writing – LINDA GARNER - In this Picture Book Primer you will learn that writing picture books is not necessarily kid stuff. All the rules for good writing apply to picture books but with less margin for error. If you’ve ever wanted to write a picture book, you’ll love this class. “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children”. Madeleine ‘L Engle

The Long and Short of It: Writing and Selling Short Fiction – MICHAEL YOUNG - Writing and selling short stories is a fun and rewarding way to improve your writing and to gain a readership. Writing short stories, however, takes a different skill set than writing longer works and also are sold in a different way. Learn some of the techniques you'll need to craft quality short fiction and the ins and out of getting it in print.

2:30 P.M.

"Chuck the Junk - Self-Editing for Word Hoarders" – MICHAEL KNUDSEN - Most writers are terrified when they read through their first draft --it can be rough, ugly and bloated with excessive verbiage, lame adverbs, and entire scenes that go nowhere. But there's hope! We'll look at rough text at all levels and toss the dingy bathwater while keeping your baby!

Fragile--Handle With Care: Writing on a Sensitive Subject - LINDA GARNER- -Death, suicide, divorce, abuse, war, depression, drugs, pornography, religion, eating disorders, bullying, hate. Do you have an interest in a subject that is hard to talk about? Just because it’s a sensitive subject doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about it. The walls are coming down. Lots of people are talking about subjects that used to be taboo. You can write about anything, if you handle with care.

How to Become and Idea Factory- KAREN HOOVER

3:15 P.M.

Author Panel in the Big Room – The Path to Publication: Panelists – Carole Thayne Warburton, Mike Knudsen, Julie Bellon, Rebecca Talley, Abel Keogh, Gregg Luke, Cory Poulson

4:00 P.M.

Children's Literature Game Show – CLINT JOHNSON Simple, Strange, Sophisticated, and Stupid Questions for Smart Kids (and Kids at Heart)--The game show that teaches more than you ever wanted to know about writing and writers, some of which you will certainly regret later. Prove your superiority in a humorous and educational contest that explores the world of children's literature, from its comical quirks to personalities and events that profoundly shaped our world. Numerous participants of all ages are selected from the audience and given the chance to compete for fun and glory and prizes!

5:00 P.M. END

Hope to see you there.

New Book Launch Party Date: July 6

Due to some production and publishing issues, the book launch party for The Third has been moved to July 6. You're still all invited to attend. Details as follows:

When: July 6, 2010 Where: Barnes & Noble, 6 Rio Grande Street, Salt Lake City, Utah (Directions) Time: 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. What to expect: Fun, food, and prizes.

For those who have pre-ordered copies, they'll be mailed as soon as the books are published. (If it makes you feel any better, I haven't seen any copies either.

Thankfully, all the issues seem to be resolved and we're on for a July 6th launch. If you have any questions, email me.

Save the Date: The Third Book Launch Party

The Third by Abel Keogh

It’s official. The book launch party for The Third is less than a month away. You're all invited to join the party.

When: June 1, 2010 Where: Barnes & Noble, 6 Rio Grande Street, Salt Lake City, Utah (Directions) Time: 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. What to expect: Fun, food, and prizes.

You'll also have the chance to meet Gordon Ryan, Jenni James who are launching their new novels (American Voices and Northanger Alibi) and Paul Skousen who's launching his late father's, W. Cleon Skousen, new book The Cleansing of America.

This is one book launch party you won't want to miss!

In addition a tentative book tour is being scheduled for the Utah area soon after and an East Coast book tour later in the summer. Keep your eye on my Sightings page for more details and other upcoming appearances.