Friday, April 22, 2011

Book Event Fiascos

I absolutely love book events, whether I'm The Author, an author, or a fan of the author. And when these events run smoothly for everybody involved, great. Unfortunately, glitches are inevitable, and I've had my share.

As you might know, RWA (Romance Writers of America) holds its national conference every summer. Last year, it took place in Orlando, FL. Since it was the summer Lifted came out, I was especially excited because I was eligible to sign at the gigantic book event that takes place the night before the conference. Authors, writers, and readers flood into a ballroom in hopes to get books signed by Meg Cabot, Nora Roberts, and Wendy Toliver.

Ha! But really, I happen to have family and friends in Orlando, and they sweet-talked (bribed?) all their friends into coming. So I was expecting a fairly sizable crowd, if only to brush by me and grab a free bookmark. Brandishing my "Yes I'm supposed to be here" pass, I strolled through the rows and rows of authors (nicer to stalk this way than in the bathrooms).

When I found my name tent, I just stood there, dumbstruck. No books. As I tried to process the horrible truth that my books had not made it, people voiced their condolences and I tried to smile and pretend like it was no big deal that bunches of people were coming to see me, and that I'd booked a red eye flight and paid for an extra night at the hotel so I could be there on time. Then Marley and Tina had a fabulous idea: Write "Sold Out" on my name tent and just smile and hand out bookmarks. Sure enough, it drummed up some interest and even though I'd gotten a hold of my "fans" and told them not to come, I had a wonderful time meeting readers and other writers. The rest of the conference was perfect, from visiting Harry Potter at Universal with my fabulous agent Christina Hogrebe to hobnobbing with the Buzz Girls in our Awards Night finery (photo: left to right Tina, Marley, me, Tera).

If you're an author, have you ever had a book event glitch? Here's a link to Shannon Hale's stories, and click here for James Dashner's.

What I'm reading: The Book Thief (still, because I'm spending so much time on my proposal)


TinaFerraro said...

Most of mine have been wonderful, time a major bookstore contacted me through my publisher and we set up what I thought was a gala event. I invited some relatives in the area to join in the fun--and was I glad I did! I got set up in the doorway and I did two hours' of cold pitches to everyone who walked in, most of whom kept on going. A very humbling experience and one I'd never repeat. But as I said, I had fun with my family!

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Unknown said...

I can't speak for myself (not an author yet), but I can speak for my husband, Adam Selzer. In 2007, his publicist informed Adam that he was invited to the Children's Literature Breakfast in Naperville, IL. Adam accepted and was excited to attend. He and I braved 2 degree temps, a long train ride, and had to get up at 5am to get there. When he got there, his name wasn't on the list, there were no books, his name wasn't in the program. Turns out his publicist never followed through with the invite, Anderson's didn't get an RSVP, so they had no idea Adam was coming! Then, the next year, the publicist didn't bother to tell Adam that he was invited again and had been RSVPed for, so Adam was super surprised when he got a call from Anderson's asking why he wasn't at the breakfast. Ever since then, Anderson's deals directly with Adam!

(deleted and reposted to fix typos!)

Wendy Toliver said...

Tina, what would we do w/o our families and closest friends? :)

Ronni, Oh my! That's terrible! Hopefully it will go much smoother in the future now that the middle person is cut out. Thanks for sharing!

Heather Moore said...

Wow, you really turned the situation in your favor ;-)

I found on a Google alert that I was supposed to be at a major book signing event. Apparently, I didn't get the message.

I guess it can go both ways ;(

Wendy Toliver said...

Yikes, Heather!

Me said...

Aw, Wendy, that stinks! I think there were a lot of "glitches" at that booksigning. Here's hoping your next one goes very smoothly.

And oh my gosh Ronni, if that isn't a lesson in the value of communication!

Hugs all around.

nymfaux said...

Well, if I hadn't been on the other side of the continent, I would have stopped by just to see you--books or no books!--But I'm glad you were able to salvage it and get some great memories out of your trip--Awesome picture of all of you!!!

Lillian said...

I love that your books were "Sold Out"! That is the perfect positive spin on an otherwise mortifying situation.