In yesterday’s post, I gave a play-by-play of a book signing I attended in May: Victoria Aveyard’s War Storm Tour. After passing out some prizes to the audience, the owner of a local bookstore introduced Aveyard and two other authors who were joining her on the panel. The audience clapped and no one walked through the door!
Luckily, a moment later, the authors walked into the room. Victoria even tripped on the one step going up to the seating area! She’s beautiful, by the way, gorgeous hair and a very expressive face. The three authors and a youth librarian put on their mics (which weren’t great – they should have practiced that part) and Victoria joked about tripping “like Jennifer Lawrence.” The youth librarian moderated the event, asking questions about their writing process and rituals, inspiration behind the books, what character from their own book they’d want to hang out with and why, and their favorite emoji. The authors would each respond to the question and sometimes they would ask each other related follow-up questions. Here’s what I learned about Victoria Aveyard:
- Victoria says she treats writing like a job and tries to stick to regular, week day hours.
- She uses map drawing and playlist making to feel like she’s being productive when she’s not exactly writing.
- Her puppy keeps her busy, too. I’m not really an animal person – no, I’m not cold and heartless, just allergic! – so I wasn’t really interested in this part of the program when all three authors discussed their pets, but clearly the rest of the audience was.
- Victoria said the character from her books she would like to spend a day with was Julian. At first, I was like, “Who is that again?” but then remembered that Julian is Mare’s teacher during her time at the castle. He’s wise and gives her important information – though she doesn’t always understand it at the time. This was a surprising answer to me, as there are so many other more interesting, stand-out characters. She also mentioned Farley, a tough-as-nails chick, who is based off Victoria’s best friend and roommate. In real life, Victoria’s friend has long, beautiful hair, but in the book, Farley frequently has a shaved head! This was kind of like a joke she played on her! She also mentioned Shade, and a ripple of breathless, “Shaaaade” went around the room. Again – not from me! I mean, he’s a fictional character. Who – well, skip this if you haven’t read the first three books in the series yet *SPOILER ALERT* – he dies in, like, book 2! So how are you still lusting after him in book 4?! That’s like thinking Jacob and Bella should be together (which, BTW, Victoria was asked about during Q&A – “Team Edward or Team Jacob?” She replied, “What year is this?!” and also answered Team Edward – as it should be).
- Victoria alluded to a future project where all of her inspiration – pictures, music, maps – will be shared on some kind of online platform for readers to enjoy.
After the moderated discussion, there was about 15 minutes of Q&A. Some questions were good and some were ho-hum. Especially when the moderator said, “Ok, this will be the last question,” and the person chosen asked, “Like, what was like the inspiration for like, your characters?” You could tell the audience was a little let down because Victoria had already answered this while responding to other questions about the characters.
I should note that the other authors in the panel were Brittany Cavallaro and Lori M. Lee. Cavallaro is a creative writing instructor at the Interlochen Arts Academy, with a young adult fiction series based on imagining Sherlock Holmes has a descendant who is a girl. The first book is called A Study in Charlotte. Her website is here. Cavallaro was a good speaker and I think I would pick up her book based on the day’s discussion. Lori M. Lee is a Wisconsin writer of the Gates of Thread and Stone series, a young adult fantasy series where the main character can manipulate time. You can learn more on her website here.
The room we were in was a conference room with a low ceiling, and it became very cozy with 200ish people. The room got rather warm and stuffy. More A/C and air flow would have been a plus! The authors were on a raised platform behind a long desk – like for a city council meeting. Since our seating wasn’t tiered, I had to peek around heads to see all the authors – thus why I didn’t bother taking any pictures during the discussion. I had hoped that the event sponsors would post a few photos because I saw them with cameras, but I haven’t had luck finding them anywhere online. The authors were in front of lots of windows with the blinds closed. Had I been in charge of this event, I think I would have created some sort of backdrop, and other instagramable promotional materials, so people could take pictures and share them.
At the end of the panel, the authors left and we got instructions for how the signing would work. We’d be released by row, and lead into the library. I know the bookstore owner wanted to let people cool off, so she sent the line outside, but I think I would have preferred sitting in my chair to standing in line for hours. I felt bad for the library patrons there that day, as the line was very chatty and loud – especially considering we’re all bookish people and we’re in a library! The authors were seated at a table tucked behind the last row of bookshelves, so you couldn’t even see them until it was your turn.
When I approached the front of the line, a worker made sure that my book was labeled and turned to the right page so Victoria would easily be able to sign it. I was also able to give my phone/camera to a worker to take a picture for me – but my phone is old and stupid and the first one didn’t work. Luckily, the next one did, but I felt bad about holding up the line. I should have just brought our mini-iPad along. Here’s how my brief interaction with Victoria went:
V: Hi there, how are you?
Me: *super awkward* Good, good, how are you?
V: Good, thanks for asking! (She’s so polite!)
Me: Good, so I really liked how in the last book, or I should say the third book, how you really drew the battle scene out so it wasn’t over right away.
V: Thanks. I had a lot of fun writing it. Did you want a picture?
Me: Yes, please. *smile awkwardly for camera*
Then I said thank you and walked away. I spent just about an hour in line and was in the fourth row. As I left the building, I could see that other people were going to be there for a loooooong time. I’m curious to know what time Victoria got to leave.
Overall, I’m glad that I went to this event. I’ve been lusting after all the cool, bookish things other bloggers get to do, and now I finally got to experience one myself. I feel much more prepared for the next book signing I go to, too!
My Top Tips for Attending a Book Signing:
- Follow the event rules so it’s fair for everyone.
- Purchase the book in advance if allowed.
- Bring along a friend so you can chat in line.
- Have a good camera/phone so you can take a decent picture.
- Have something prepared to say to the author when you get to meet them.
Have you ever attended an author reading/panel/signing? What did you think of it? What tips would you give for getting the most out of the experience?