Yesterday was the spring Books & Authors event at Leon & Lulu! Despite the gnarly road construction and the lure of a gorgeous spring Sunday, people turned out in droves to support their local authors!
I will be the first one to admit I am very lucky…my day job requires me to do presentations and trainings on a daily basis, so I learned a long time ago how to turn nerves over public speaking and interaction into excited energy. I’m one of the few people I know that LOVES public speaking. I make eye contact and have no problem talking to total strangers that wander past. I’d intended to put up a post before B&A about book signings and the tips and tricks I’ve learned, but the past few days were unbelievably hectic, so keep an eye out for that to come!
Now…on with the topic at hand!
I’ve talked about B&A repeatedly here on the blog, but the basics are this: it’s hosted by Leon & Lulu (aka The Coolest Store in Metro Detroit, No Joke), it sponsors local authors, and a large chunk of the sales of the books go to the Oakland Literacy Council. It’s a great opportunity for readers to get to meet, talk to and take pictures of/with the authors, while also buying books and getting them autographed.
For the authors, it’s a glorious day of hanging out with Your People, fellow authors, individuals who understand what your books and writing mean to you, because they’re right there with you. Not only do you meet new friends, it’s a fantastic opportunity for networking and learning about writers’ groups, meet-ups, events, etc. that you had no clue about before.
Oh, and that thing I mentioned about public speaking? They also had 15-minute readings where the authors could share an excerpt from one of their books. You know I was ALL OVER that!
You can’t tell what it is in the picture, but I’m proudly sporting my RWA Kiss of Death pin too.
If the image in your mind of a book signing is at a bookstore with a million-mile long line (I was in middle school when I stood in line with my mom to meet Diana Gabaldon and get her copy of Outlander signed, and that was when there was only the first book in the series!), or of a confusing loud event in a gymnasium or hotel conference room with acres of card tables and authors as far as the eye can see…I wish you could come to Leon & Lulu’s version. L&L sells pretty much everything, including gorgeous furniture. Picture Ikea’s staged “rooms,” and then crank the OH MY GOD I WANT TO LIVE IN THIS STORE factor up by a million. I mean, look at the pillow on the couch in my area:
I cracked up uncontrollably and desperately wanted to bring it home, but I didn’t sell $97 (!!!) worth of books. The great thing, though? L&L is like your genuinely awesome friend with the gorgeous house, but you don’t feel like you can’t touch or sit on anything. Everything about this store invites you to sink in and try it out. My cousin-in-law had her baby shower IN THE STORE (no, I am NOT joking)!
So instead of a long line with a sole author at the end of it, or an overwhelming echo-chamber, L&L stages each and every author in their own little fabulous area and yes, it’s as amazing as it sounds.
You want to see more? Okay, don’t sit too close to the screen for this video, I was on a mission to get every single author on video, so there’s a lot of movement and twirling. Hang onto your Dramamine:
My apologies to all the authors whose heads I cut off, I was trying to capture the books and names on the signs.
My dear friend Fred was kind enough to come by and record the first half of my reading, but I’ll probably just post a link to that in the future, as it’s not technically spoiler-y, but I don’t start from the beginning of the book either.
(Yes, I was reading my excerpt from my Kindle, for reasons that I’ll share in the Why Book Signings Are Awesome and You Should Do Them post to come.)
I took advantage of the lull toward the end of the event to race around (again) and pick up some books that caught my eye:
I’ve got a shelf started of all the books I have autographed by the author/s, this was a nice hefty addition and will help me put a dent in my Goodreads 2018 reading challenge too.
The autumn B&A is in October and I’ll be there, hopefully I’ll see you too!
Have you done any book signings? What was your experience like? If you haven’t done one yet, what would your dream book signing be like? Let me know in the comments!