So I went to my first author book signing on 7/16. I was nervous and didn't quite know what etiquette for something like this was so I asked T of Traveling with T for advice since she goes to many of these things. She said: bring your camera, take notes, and if you can't think of something to say just say "I really enjoyed the book!". That is good advice.
The tour was for Ben Winter's last book of The Last Policemen Trilogy which is called "World of Trouble".Here's the post I wrote about Ben's work previously. I didn't write a book review about "World of Trouble" because I didn't know how to effectively write a review about a book that is last in a trilogy without giving anything away. Here's the publisher blurb though.
My mom was my co-hort on this trip, since she had also read the books (I passed along my ARCs so she got first peeks too!). The signing was at the Mystery One Book Store in Milwaukee. It is a (very) small shop that exclusively sells mysteries. I'd say it's about 600-700 square feet. Also the owners are interesting. I will just leave it at that. I don't read a ton of mysteries (or what I consider mysteries, I don't really like putting books into categories. My categories pretty much consist of "fiction" and "nonfiction". ANWAY) so I'd never been before.
Me and Mom are first to arrive (we both dislike being late) .There's no chairs or really any open space so everyone is just standing amongst the bookshelves. It was super informal and low key. Ben was friendly and laid back and it was more just everyone talking, not much structure.
Ben also brought his ukelele which made me laugh because, hipster please. But then he kept doing little bits of Bob Dylan songs which redeemed him to me and mom. He listened to a lot of Bob Dylan while writing the book and almost called one of the books after a song but Quirk, his publisher wasn't crazy about it. Did you know ukuleles are notoriously hard to keep in tune? Apparently they are!
Here's just some notes I took:
-Ben isn't interested in what happens after an apocalyptic event. He was more interested in what people did in the face of certain death. I agree with him. Apocalyptic stories (even good ones) are a dime a dozen, and I thought it was interesting to see this perspective.
-He doesn't think of the book as a scifi book necessarily, he thinks of it as a mystery. But he said something to the effect of "but if you have an asteroid from outer space in the story people are going to focus on that and spin it scifi"
-He also said that his wife only reads the ARCs and not before, because he would be crushed if she didn't like the story because he values her opinion so highly.
I had "World of Trouble" in an e-book ARC so I bought the finished paperback at the store, and had Ben sign that and my paperback ARC of the first book in the series "The Last Policeman". I also gave him the blog's card, which later on I was thinking "that might have been tacky", but I told him that I was going to write up a blogpost about the signing, so hopefully it was informative and not tacky.
Here's the couple of pictures I snapped.
Here are the 2 things that bummed me out a little, and one of them is my own making so I can't complain about that one.
My own fault - should have gotten a picture together. But I chickened out because no one else was doing it and store was small and there would have been no way to do it without everyone looking at us while we were doing it which would have resulted in me making crazy eyes in the picture. Still should have just nutted up and did it anyway.
Second- It sounded like at other signings there was fun prizes or the like. We just ran out of time with all of our chit chat, which is fine because I enjoyed it, but come on, who doesn't like prizes?
So that's my first author signing ever. It was a small laid back affair so I'm curious as to how that will compare to others in the future. I highly recommend seeing Ben if he comes to your town, and be sure to check out his books!