Saturday, February 5, 2011

Doomed like the Dodo?

By Lorna Barrett / Lorraine Bartlett
Crafty Today is my book launch for A Crafty Killing.  (YAY!)  I'll be signing copies at my local Barnes & Noble from 2-4 p.m.  The weather report says it should be a good day.  I've packed my little book for people to sign up for my periodic newsletter,goodie bags filled with bookmarks and postcards from over 20 authors for the first 25 people who show up (and boy do I hope at least 25 people show up--it's embarrassing to have to haul them home), and extra bookmarks in case more than 25 people show up hoping to get one of those goodie bags.

Dodo_bird But I wonder ... are book signings going the way of the Dodo bird?

A Crafty Killing is my 7th published book.  It's also the first book that might be selling more electronic copies than print copies, too.  (At least if I can believe my numbers on Amazon and the Barnes & Noble web site.)

I had dearly hoped it would make the New York Times bestsellers list for mass market paperbacks.  That isn't going to happen.  Although starting this week the new York Times is going to have a hybrid category -- print and e books, so there's a very slight chance.

Absolutely Postively So, I'm here to beg.  If you'd been planning to buy A Crafty Killing, or Heather Webber's new book Absolutely Positively, PLEASE buy them before Tuesday--either in paperback or as an e book.  (And preferably from Barnes & Noble.  They report directly to the Times.)

The first three weeks of a book's life are the most important--that first week the most important of all.

But let's get back to the dodo.  Because e books are suddenly selling so fast, will authors have face-to-face signings in the future?  That looks doubtful.  The stores have to gear up, they do publicity, and if nobody shows up . . . well, that authors probably won't get invited back.

So . . . now I'm wondering.  Will 25 goodie bags be way too many?  Will my local readers actually see the line on my invitation that says Lorna Barrett writing as Lorraine Bartlett?  (In retrospect, I should have gone over it with a yellow highlighter.  I mean, the other day I had an email from someone wanting to know if A Crafty Killing was the first in the series, when the post card says so on both sides ... so will they see that line saying Lorna IS Lorraine?)

And will this be the next-to-last booksigning I'm asked to do?

Do you think face-to-face author events will go the way of the dodo?


Aurian said...

No, I would really love to meet the authors I enjoy reading. And if I only collected e-books, I would specially buy a deadtree version just to get it signed.

And I don't believe people only show up to get a goody bag, though that is a nice gesture. They come to meet the author in person, to be able to say they chatted with a real author they read.

Here in Holland the only authors invited to the biggest bookstore in my city, are writing the books called literature, and that is something I just don't read. So not interesting for me to go to. Now, if a bunch of American authors I do read would visit, I would stand in line for that!

Dru said...

I love going to book signings. It's great to meet the authors that write your favorite books and ask those questions you have when you finished their book. You know the question: why did you have so-and-so do that?

Good luck with your book signing.

holdenj said...

I sure hope not! I think there's something really special about meeting an author in person. I also think an autographed book or bookplate, whether for myself or a friend, is a wonderful gift!
Good luck today! Wish I could go!

Booklady said...

I certainly hope not. I like see the face behind the work. I play up book signings with my students as well. I think authors should get as much press/attention as rock stars and movie stars.

Mamacessories said...

Oh I hope that E-books don't replace all the excitement of things like book-signings! I think meeting the person who created the characters we love is exciting! Also, I (dare I say it??) prefer a REAL paper book vs. an electronic version. Good luck today!

ev said...

Even tho I read ebboks primarily that still doesn't mean I won't go to a signing. The problem comes when the "bigger" authors have them somewhere that requires you to buy the paper version to be able to get in. So I tend not to go to those.

What I would like to see, and I have been pushing this ALOT, is that author's have a postcard sized copy of the book cover that can be autographed and I could then save them. I frame them and hang the ones that I have. And when you think about that- how many people actually know you have a signed book on the shelf but can see a signed bookcover on the wall.

Besides they make really great wall artwork!! I can has mantitty and no one can complain about it!

Lorna Barrett said...

Ev, I'd be glad to send you signed postcards of everything I've got on hand. Just send me your address: Lorna @

Prairiedog said...

Lorna, I received your postcard and loved it. I have only been to two book signings here in MN, just because I heard about them and didn't go looking. Well, they were really sessions with 3 authors who answered questions and talked about writing, then signed books. I guess that's different, and it was at a library, not a book store. Not the same at all is it,lol? But I enjoyed them, and felt like they really liked meeting their reading public. It was the group called the "Minnesota Crime Wave". So, now that I've decided I haven't really been to a book signing, I still think they are important, even though you might meet just a few people, they'll tell their friends, and so on..... I'm helping organize a friends of the library in our little town, at our little library, and I plan to order 2 copies of your book right now, one for me, and one for the library. I hope you have good luck with your signing, and get on the "list". Thanks, Karen

Anonymous said...

I love meeting authors and getting my books autographed. That's one of the many reasons I enjoy attending Malice Domestic so much.

I already picked up your book, Lorna, and will get Heather's newest one this weekend.

I'm sorry I won't be able to attend your book signing, whether or not I got there in time for a goody bag, maybe at Malice, hint, hint???

Shirley in Baltimore

Lorna Barrett said...

Shirley, as it happens the Killer Characters Blog group has been talking about what we want to include in the Malice bags. Last year we had goodie bags with a Button Game. We're working on yet another game -- but haven't yet finalized plans.

Alice said...

I attend all the local author events around DFW --- I sincerely hope they don't go away.

I've met some great friends and phenomenal authors through book signing events. In addition to all that, I've learned to help my favorite authors with pre-order sales.

I didn't know that about B&N (reporting directly to NYT), but the only problem I see there, is that if I want to buy an eBook --- I can't do it through BN because they're eBooks are strictly for the Nook.

Which is not the eReader I have. I have a my eBooks are purchased through Sony or through Borders (cause they don't discriminate against eReaders).

Shel said...

I think you're worrying for nothing. Really.
I LOVE signings, but do you know I never even went to one until AFTER I started reading ebooks? In this age of electronic communications, I find out about them a lot more, and can make plans to attend. I don't buy paperbacks for the author to sign, though (sorry), I have them sign my ereader! Ask Heather, that picture of her on her Heather Blake profile at FB is her signing my tablet/netbook, LOL. Now that I have a Sony Daily, I'll have authors sign that instead. But back to my point. The problem isn't ebooks, the problem is finding out about the signings in time to make plans to go to them.

Shel said...

Oh, and I already bought both books.

signlady217 said...

I haven't been to an author booksigning because it seems that very few come to our area (NE MS). It would be nice if they did. The only ones I heard of being here are a couple of "local" people: John Grisham and Peggy Webb. Unfortunately, I had a conflict of previous obligations, so could not attend either one. :(

Min said...

I hope book signings continue! I don't have an eReader, but even if I did, I'd still like to meet the author, ask questions, etc.

I'm a huge NASCAR fan, and I have an autograph hat that over 20 drivers have signed. If I eventually got an eReader, I imagine I would sew an eReader cover for it, and I would love for authors to sign it, too.

Signings aren't just for autograph hounds, but they're an opportunity to put a face to the book and for readers to try to get to know the person who pens the characters. I cherish these events, and I was sorely disappointed when I had to miss one last month because I was ill.

signlady217 said...

BTW, Lorna, wanted to also ask, how is your kitty, Chester, doing? Hope he's better.

Anonymous said...

While I am enjoying reading eBooks on my new iPad (which accepts the B&N and Kindle reader apps and many others), I'll never give up my print book collection of 1st editions signed by the authors.

I like the idea suggested that some sort of standard size alternative of the cover could be printed and signed and given to those who buy the eBook.

After all, whether reading in print on on a reader, you're still reading the same book, by the same author, and have the same questions.

Lorna Barrett said...

Thanks for asking Signlady. Chester is back to being ... Chester. We took him to the neurologist on Monday and he said he would like Chester to have some followup tests (blood and urine) but he hasn't stumbled for almost a week, and is back to sitting up at dinnertime. My sister-in-law asked her vet and he said he's seen cats to have vertigo/balance problems that usually clear up in a week or so. Still, we're not sorry we spent the money and will go ahead with the follow-up tests because some of his bloodwork was wonky. I'll post after we see the vet (hopefully this week).

Heather Webber said...

I will have to get some postcards of the cover to sign--that's a great idea. I've actually heard of people signing the actual Kindle--on the back.

Lorraine, I hope your signing went well. I don't do many solo anymore but love group events.

And thanks to everyone who's bought our books this week!

Anonymous said...

Ilove to meet the authors of my favorite mystery series.I live in South Carolina and we have a book festiaval each year with at least a few mystery authors. I love the idea of signing the post cards

Ginger said...

I'm totally a kindle girl now. I had a book hoarding problem (which might not be a problem if you are an author trying to sell books) and now I just put them on the kindle and I'm fairly successful and minimizing the clutter (ie stacks and stacks of books everywhere).

Having said that, if it were an author I really liked I'd still go to a signing. The ones I've been to the author reads and does a question/answer session before signing.


PS I totally loved getting my postcard in the mail and I'm looking forward to starting the book this evening.

Mandy said...

Since I think chatting with an author(s) of some of my favorite books is extremely cool, I'd have to say that even if I owned the electronic version and the author was coming to a bookstore near me, I would buy a hard copy to just to get signed. Unfortunately, none of my favorite authors are from around here so no book signings for me!

I was excited to get the postcard in the mail too!

signlady217 said...

I forgot to say that I'm planning to put all my postcards/bookmarks, etc., into a special scrapbook. Just have to decide what size will work best, probably 8x8, at least that's what I'm leaning towards. I think that will be a fun one to work on.

ev said...

Email sent! Woot!!

I am actually in the process of redoing my hallway so I can get all these hung in one area- right on the way to my very overflowing "library".


Shushan said...

I like that idea of front covers to sign for ebook buyers. Those would make nice souvenirs and yes, decent framable art!

I am still in flux between being a paper and ebook reader, mostly because I don't own one yet. Hah! My husband has one and my Mom have one and they will share, but I wouldn't dare tote theirs anywhere, so 'carry along' books remain paper for now. :)

Vickie said...

I pre-ordered both books from one of my two favorite indie mystery bookshops, High Crimes Mystery Bookshop in Boulder CO as soon as I saw the first blip of announcement for them. Cynthia assures me that she immediately reports pre-orders to the powers that be.

And I don't think book signings will go away. I know there are covers for e-book readers that can get signed by authors.

Michele L. said...

I definitely love book signings! I have been to a couple in my area. I wish there were more authors who came to my town. I would be very sad if print books became obsolete because I love holding a book in my hands. I don't know if I could get used to reading a book on an E-reader or not.

bethany said...

I hope you keep doing book signings. I went to Barnes and Noble at 3:30 on Saturday and you were already gone. I am really sorry I missed you.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry I missed you, Bethany. One of the unfortunate things about signing at this store is that as soon as the crowd disappears, the community relations manager wants to pack up. I have a feeling that Saturdays are her day off and I can't blame her for wanting to get in and out fast, but that has left some of my readers hanging. If you send me your address off list, I'll mail you a goodie bag just for showing up. (I probably already have it if you got a post card, but I'd need your last name to look you up on my list.)

Lorna @

Anonymous said...

Lorna, I won the Button game last year at Malice. It was great fun. I put all the buttons on my MD tote bag and someone took a picture of it for the Cozy Chicks. I'm looking forward to this year's Malice. See you there.

Glad to hear that Chester is doing better!!!

Shirley in Baltimore

ev said...

Lorna- I received the signed cards today!!! Thank you soooooo much!! :)

alwzdreamn said...

Never! I enjoy meeting the author and hearing about their work, etc. What I'm doing is creating a scrapbook (your "Crafty Killing" postcard & my goodie pack from JAK's "In Too Deep") are my first items to go in. If you ever get to Northern Illinois - I'll be first in line!

Peewee54 said...

I definetly will always get a book because I just love reading. I don't understand how you are going to sign their computers? LOL