Monday, March 22, 2010

Puzzled Over People

(Before I get to my blog, here are the results of the title hunt contest. I submitted the list of ideas all of you suggested to my editor, who polled other editors. If you remember, the title had to marry the idea of vampires with flowers. Only one from this list made the cut. And that title is: VIBURNUM AT THE STAKE. Heather Webber – you won! You’ll be in my dedication and one of the characters will be named after you. Yay!

Now for the bad news. The other editors decided they liked my editor’s title even better. So after DIRTY ROTTEN TENDRILS, (October, 2010) the next book will be (drum roll, please) NIGHT OF THE LIVING DANDELION. (April, 2011).

Okay, on to my blog!

Something really has me puzzled. Maybe you can figure this out for me.

When I have any kind of event – book signing most typically – I see lots of people whom I’ve gotten to know over the course of the Flower Shop series, fans of the series, plus readers who’ve seen the press releases or ads and want to try a book. But not once have any of my neighbors come. Nor have any of the women I used to work with, the women my husband employs, any of the large group of women who belong to my philanthropic sorority, or any of my large extended family of cousins. Yet when I see them, they’ll stop to tell me how much they like the books.

Without sounding whiny, I’m scratching my head to understand what’s happening here. There must be a psychological reason why they never come, but it escapes me. Maybe because I’m not a psychologist?

Anyway, a writer always has to put herself in someone else’s shoes, so here I go.
Scenario one: I’m the neighbor up the street and I find out that Kate has a new book coming out next week and will be signing copies of it at the local Barnes & Noble. Hey, I know her! I should go get her to sign a copy for my daughter and . . . Oh wait. I shouldn’t stand in line to have a neighbor sign my book. It would make me feel . . .?

Scenario two: I’m in Kate’s sorority and I see her at the monthly meetings. We really have a great time together, too. How cool that she has a new book coming out! And a signing next Saturday afternoon when I’ll be out and about anyway. I should stop by...... but no. Not cool because . . . .?

Scenario three: I’m Kate’s cousin. We were very close as kids, even into our teens, when we double-dated. Now I live in the next city, about a half hour drive, and I have a free Saturday, so I could go to the signing and surprise her. She’d be so pleased to see me . . . Nah! Not gonna happen because I would be . . . .?

If you have any insights, let me know. I seem to be clueless, and for a mystery writer, that’s not a good place to be.

Kate, wanting out of cluelessland!


Mason Canyon said...

The only thing that comes to mind is why go to a book signing and wait in line when 1) I'm a neighbor and stop by your house to get a book signed 2) I'll see you at a monthly sorority meeting and have you sign my book then or 3) we're family, I can get you to sign my book anytime. Just something to think about.

What they should be thinking is "Hey, I know an author. I'm going to go to her book signing where people will see we're friends (family)."

Andrea C. said...

Love the new book title (actually all 3 of them)!
Perhaps your neighbors, friends, and family feel like they would be in the way or a bother to you at these functions? They already know you so maybe they want to give people who don't know a chance to meet and talk? Just a thought? That would probably be how I thought (although to not go to a single book signing ever is a bit weird)>

Kate Collins said...

I think I'd feel better if any of those people did stop by to get a book signed, or maybe just mention something in passing..... but no. However, my immediate family and very close friends, along with author friends, will stop by for support.
Mason, maybe you're right about people not wanting to take up my time. we're looking at it from opposite sides of the table, so to speak. I'm sure other authors will agree that a familiar face is always a welcome sight.

I'm just curious about people's behavior, the choices they make and why. That's why this is such a puzzle.

Denise Swanson said...


I am a psychologist and I wonder if it's as simple as telling them you'd like them to attend.

I think the reason my neighbors, sorority sisters, and families always turn out for my signings is that I tell them I'd like them to be there. When I send out postcards about the event, I write a note saying I'd really appreciate it if they attended.

Just a thought.

PS Great titles!

Dru said...

I was going to say the thing same thing as Kate - ask them to attend as oppose to telling them that you're having a book signing.

I went to a book signing where the author had wine & cheese served, read from her book and did a book signing. When she spoke to us and if a friend or relative was nearby, she pointed them out to us. I think it made feel a bit more comfortable around us "strangers."

jbstanley said...

No insights, I haven't had enough coffee yet.

Love the titles. All of them!

Way to go Heather!

Dru said...

oops..wrote Kate name instead of Denise.

Lover of Books said...

great titles. As for the book signings, not sure. I only have one or two that I go too. But lately not made any of them due to outside circumstances, new baby, marriage conference. I hope that changes.


WonderBunny said...

I'm not a writer, just a reader and I think that maybe asking is the right way to go. It shows that you want their support and they not have known that before hand. Some people need to be asked before they make the extra effort because they didn't know you wanted it.

Pooch said...

As a reader, I respect the author's ability and gifts in writing. However, a signed book is not important to me. Some readers may feel a particular connection to the author when the book is signed. The people close to you already have that special connection that goes far beyond an autograph in a book. Perhaps, the perspective of an author signing books is very different from friends and family who know and love you.

signlady217 said...

I lean toward the idea that Mason put forth, that these people know you and think that it will be easier to get you to sign their copies at another place/time. The problem is, it usually isn't! People get busy with life and forget to bring the book with them, or it gets destroyed in a fire/flood, or some other event prevents it. But like some others said, maybe just asking them to come will make a change; it can't hurt!

Janet said...

Maybe it is seeing you in a different context. Instead of being their friend, neighbor or relative - you're an author, snd they don't know how they should treat you at a signing.

Ingrid King said...

I'm really enjoying all the replies to this blog, because I've had the same questions as Kate when it comes to lack of attendance by people I know at my book signings. My friends have all been very supportive of my book, but with very few exceptions, they haven't shown up at any of my book signings.

I guess to me it's such a no-brainer that it would mean a lot to me to have people there to show their support (not to mention that it helps when you as the author, especially as a first time author, can show the book store that you can actually bring people to the store).

sheep#100 said...

Some people don't like crowds.
Others may not like looking like a "groupie"?

Kate Collins said...

You guys are great. Thanks for the ideas and helping me understand. I always assume people do what I would do, and we know how assuming works out. Denise, I'd never thought of a personal invitation. I guess I never thought I had to. But maybe people who know me do feel silly -- like a groupie -- where I see it as a show of friendship and support. Different sides of the table. Thanks, everyone.

Vicki said...

I wouldn't be surprised if people felt like they could see you "whenever" but then just never asked you to sign a book for them. You know, like the "I always meant to..." and then once they move out of the neighborhood, they will look back with regret. Just a thought!

Lindy said...

I have been to only one book signing in my life (Sharon McCrumb). I love her books, I enjoyed her talk about her new book, but standing in line to get my book signed... agony. If I was your friend, neighbor, relative I'd probably tell you why I never made it to your book signings, but maybe I'd never get around to it. It would probably never occur to me that you missed me at your book signing. So, I'm appointing myself as your friend, neighbor, relative, and I am really touched that I have been missed. And I give you my sincere apologies for being such a dork and wanting to avoid all the crowds at the book signings. I am proud of your accomplishments and I love your books!

Heather Webber said...

Kate, I LOVE, Love, Love Night of the Living Dandelion, but feel I should be DQed from the contest (never thought I'd win!.

I think the advice here has been wonderful--lots of insight.

Shel said...

Kate, I don't know. The only thing I can think of is that they don't want to seem like they're taking advantage of knowing you. That may sound silly, but I know a girl that I grew up with had a famous relative, and she wouldn't go to any of his concerts or meet and greets because she felt it would look like she was taking advantage of their relationship.
Love all the contest titles!

Jan said...

I would go for moral support if nothing else. And I bet it is nice too see a known face in the crowd. As others have said, just ask them to come on by.

Jan said...

oh, I love the upcoming book titles too!