I’m so excited to announce a new feature on my blog! Ever since moving to New York, I’ve been really enjoying going to various book signings around the city. After all, New York is the center of the publishing industry, so there are a lot of authors that stop here on their various signings. So today I’m pleased to announce a calendar for a selection of book signings in New York!
This calendar is primarily limited to books and authors I’ve heard of because otherwise I’d be spending all of my time keeping this list updated and not actually blogging. But I think this calendar will include a lot of the most-buzzed-about books and should definitely help you keep up with major signings. Plus I made sure to include a list to all of the book stores that I know frequently host book signings so you can check them out for yourselves and see if they’re hosting something else you’re interested in.
The calendar is one of the selections at the top of my blog (in addition to being hyperlinked above), so it should be easy to navigate to!
Now, what about readers who aren’t in the New York area? Well, I definitely don’t want to leave you out of the loop! So keep reading to learn what to expect at a book signing and how to find some in your area.
What to Expect
If you’ve never been to a book signing, then definitely check out the event website to see what the rules are. They’ll let you know if you need to buy a ticket in advance and anything else you need to know.
Typically bookstores expect that you buy a book from them in order to get it signed. I tend to view it as the cost of admission to the event and a way to support the bookstore and encourage it to hold more signings. Once you’ve got your book, find a seat (if you can) and get ready to enjoy the event!
Some book events start with the author reading from their latest work, but not always, In my experience, only a small fraction involve a reading. Instead, it’s mostly a Q&A between the author and a moderator, usually another author or a journalist or publisher. It varies from event to event, but the Q&A usually lasts for 30 or 40 minutes before the moderator will open it up to questions from the audience.
Once the event itself wraps up, the event staff will take over and let you know how the signing will work. If there’s personalization involved, the event staff will usually walk around with sticky notes and write your name on them to put in your book to make sure the author spells your name right.
There are a number of different rules for what the authors will sign, it just depends on the bookstore and how many people are in attendance. I’ve seen authors only sign their newest release, some will sign up to three books, and others will sign however many you want. Sometimes they’ll only personalize one and then just sign the rest, other times they’ll personalize anything, and sometimes they won’t personalize anything at all.
As for photos, a lot of the times the authors won’t pose for photos, or they’ll pose for a picture with the signing table between you, though sometimes you’ll get lucky and be able to pose for a proper picture with the author. If they’re doing photos, there’s usually an event person there to take your phone and snap a picture of you, but you can always ask the person behind you in line if there’s not.
I think the most common rules I’ve seen is that an author will personalize one book and sign two more, with photos allowed but only with the signing table between you, as it eats up a lot of time for each reader to walk around the table and pose for a picture. But like I said, there’s a huge variation.
Tips and Tricks
There’s definitely going to be a lot of waiting involved at a book signing, so it’s up to you if you want to wait before or after. I personally recommend doing the waiting beforehand and get there early to grab a seat, since these events can get really long if you have to stand the whole time. Typically the earlier you get there, the closer you’ll be to the front of the signing line, so you won’t have to wait as long afterwards. If you show up later, you’re less likely to get a seat and will probably be much further back in the signing line.
Since there’s so much waiting involved, definitely bring a book to read or plan on reading the book you purchase for the event. Although I would personally recommend talking to other attendees. You’re all there for the same book, so you already have a lot in common! Book signings are a great way to make friends in your area.
Barnes & Noble in New York typically calls people up by rows, so don’t by shy about sitting next to strangers in order to sit as close to the front as possible. It means you’ll get your book signed earlier!
Books of Wonder also has a great system and gives you a number with your purchase of the book that will indicate your place in the signing line. They won’t have enough seating for everyone, but you’ll be allowed to scatter throughout the store after the Q&A and sit on the floor until they call up your group of numbers to actually stand in line.
Not all bookstores have systems like this, but ones that hold a lot of events typically have something in place to keep things moving smoothly. You’ll get the hang of it once you attend an event at your local bookstore, though you can always call ahead and ask how your bookstore operates book signings if you really want to know in advance. Try asking for the event person; they’re most likely to have the answers to your questions.
As for the actual signing itself, just make sure to have your book open to the title page for the author to sign. The event staff will definitely remind you, but an easy way to do this is to just use the flap from the dust jacket as a bookmark.
Can’t make it to an event? Check out the bookstore’s website and social media! I know a lot of them record and post footage of the event, usually either on Facebook or on their YouTube page (both The Strand and 92Y post event recordings on YouTube). I’ve also seen publishers do Facebook live recordings, and sometimes the author will bring a friend who will stream it for social media. You can also try searching on YouTube after the event and see if a BookTuber or vlogger attended and posted footage.
Find Book Signings in Your Area
So for those who can’t use my calendar, how do you find book signings in your area? If you’re just interested in signings in general, then check out the event pages for your local bookstores. They’ll usually have events posted at least a couple of weeks in advance.
If you’re interested in a signing by a particular author, then be sure to follow them on social media and subscribe to their newsletter. Authors are usually pretty good about letting readers know when they have a book signing coming up.
Your best chance of getting a book signed by a specific author is to keep an eye out for the signing tour schedule when they have a new release coming out. If authors ever do events, it’s most likely to be to promote their latest release, so that’s a great time to check their websites and social media to see if they’ll be doing any signings in your area.
If authors genuinely never come to your area and you can afford the trip, then maybe consider going to a book conference. The National Book Festival in DC is free and gets some really big authors to attend (they also post recordings online later for those who can’t make it), and BookCon has come to be a massive event that is largely YA-driven, but has a lot of authors from other genres attending as well. I’ve also heard of Yallfest in South Carolina and Yallwest in Santa Monica, which are both YA focused, and RT Bookslovers Convention, which is for romance fans.
Alright, that’s it! Hopefully this helps you find book signings in your area and gives you a good idea of what to expect if you don’t go to very many.
I’d only been to a handful before moving to New York (pretty much no one comes to North Dakota), so I’ve become a bit obsessed since I attended my first one and have gone to a ton since then. It’s just really fun for me to learn more about the book and the author, and it’s really neat to have a bunch of signed copies on my shelf.
Definitely let me know if you have any questions in the comments! I’m more than happy to answer them if I can. And if you go to any signings, be sure to tag me on social media and show me your signed book!