Monday, April 23, 2012

How a book signing event is like a wake-The Atria Mystery Bus Tour


Last Thursday evening I attended the Atria Mystery Bus Tour at a local Barnes & Noble store. The authors John Connolly, William Kent Krueger, Liza Marklund and last but never least (being one of my all time favorite authors) MJ Rose. Now you have four very diverse mystery authors from all over the world, best selling authors who sell books in the hundreds of thousands for this publisher, so I ask you why was there so few in attendance and not just at my event but I have it on good authority (not naming names) that the events were mostly poorly attended. I wondered how that could be, but then I didn’t see them advertised on any TV morning talk shows local. My Barnes & Noble did advertise the event and it was posted on the main webpage under events and stores, but that’s not even how I found out about it. I found out by accident by interviewing MJ Rose for myGeneral Fiction forum for B& where she mentioned it and I checked the tour schedule and low and behold my calendar was full for that evening. So why then weren't we breaking down the doors to see them, is it them or is it us.

So my question is this, why were there so few attendees to these events, is author signings a thing of the past, did the publisher not do enough to promote the events, did the event locations need to do more. And here’s the big question, if you knew there was an author event near you:
1) would you attend to see any author
2) would you only attend to see a favorite author
3) would you not attend at all
4) why
I have to tell you that I was embarrassed for these multinational best selling authors sitting up there in front of so few people and yet the gracious professionals they were, they acted like they were talking to hundreds of fans. And then when the Q&A part began you could hear a pin drop, so naturally me and my big mouth spoke up.
I just want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of those wonderful authors for this tour, for stopping in my city and for being so gracious as to treat us as if we were the greatest fans on earth. I salute you all!
And for those of you who are ever lucky enough to meet an author idol in person, think of this, it might be your last chance, do you really want to miss it.



  1. What a great collection of authors, Deb. I'm so sorry to hear that the event wasn't better attended...sigh. As you know, I went to see Adriana Trigiani last night, and the room was packed! In part, I think that was because she's known to be a fabulous speaker (very funny) and she'd visited the area before several years back and was beloved even then. But I think the biggest reason for the large turnout was that this event was held at a library that's known for their wonderful author programs (thanks to a programs librarian who is an *amazing* woman and very supportive of writers near and far). She publicizes the events well and has a reputation for consistently bringing in terrific authors. I'm personally willing to make the trek, even for authors I don't know as well, because I know it'll be great evening every time...

  2. Thanks for responding Marilyn, you know when I first heard about this event I almost didn't plan on going because I thought it would be a mob, but I also love MJ Rose, love how she markets herself and other authors and was determined to support her and her fellow tour fellows. So I get to the venue way early it's at a huge B&N, meet the manager and go have dinner at a local sandwich shoppe, it's later and later and I'm thinking where are the fans and they just never showed up.
    I in fact arranged an author event at one of my libraries when Bouchercon was here last September, I invited three author friends and they all accepted my invitation so the branch manager set up a panel and voila we had an author event and it was set up about a month in advance and we publicized it and there were probably 50 people there.
    So I guess it's hard to know who to blame or is there blame.
    thanks again Marilyn, see you soon on the boards