Friday, July 29, 2005

Are We Obligated?

Book signings are an important part of a writer’s career. I’ve attended many book signings. It always amazes me how many people show up and don’t buy a book. One book signing a person in the audience harassed the writer so and had the nerve to ask for an autograph on a newspaper she brought in. I thought how rude.

It has me thinking. Are we obligated to buy books at a book signing? I think its common courtesy to buy a book. No you’re not obligated, but you have to think what is a book signing? An event to sell books.

Should you hold up the line if you don’t plan on buying books?

I’ve seen people stand in line with no intentions of buying a book, they just want to pick the writer’s brain. Ok you’ve received all this free advice, buy a book. No they say, I would love to buy a copy, but I don’t have any funds to day.

The only time I don’t buy a book is if I come across a book signing while in the mall. I’ll pick up a bookmark, if I don’t have any extra funds. Or I’ll sign my name to their guestbook, to get more information.

When I attend a book signing, I budget to buy at least two copies of a book. I like the idea of being a part of the book signings success.

It does make you think though, are we obligated?


Deatri King-Bey said...

Difficult topic, because I don't feel folks are obligated to buy a book at a signing. They may just want to talk to the author.

From the signings I've attended, there aren't very many people in the line that don't want the new book or to have the author sign older books.

I wouldn’t hold up the "signing" line by not having a book signed. And I don't mean only the new book. I have brought older books I’ve purchased to have signed.

At the signings I've attended, most of the times the authors are there early and stay after the signing to speak with folks. This is the perfect time to pick the author's brain.

Oh well, I'm rambling. I just figure if you aren't having a book signed, leave the "book signing" line for those who are. Depending on how the event is organized, all could be happy. Maybe have a little time dedicated to speaking to folks before the actual signing portion begins. And have a little more time dedicated for after the signing portion.


LaShaunda said...

Hi Deatri,

I like signings were you get a chance to ask questions then they have a signing.

You can ask questions without feeling bad if you don't buy books.

upwords said...

Good topic, LaShaunda. I'm with you on the mall thing. If I plan to go to a signing, I do try and buy one copy or more, but I've been broke at a signing before too. Holding up the line when you aren't gettting something signed doesn't sound too cool. I'd try and tell the person to see me after even.

LaShaunda said...


Trying to buy everyone's book will keep you broke LOL!

Dyanne said...

Hmm, I guess I never thought of that. Like you because of knowing what it's about I always go to signings with the intent to buy. But I have had several signings of my own where people will talk to me for 30 min. and tell me they hate romance, they will eat the candy take the candles or what ever else I have and tell me about other authors. It all goes with the terrority and sometimes when there is no one else even getting close to you you're grateful just to have someone stop by and eat your candy. But No, we're never obligated to buy...but it would be nice. LOL


Mr Thomas said...

Please play The Next Blog Game! I click on 'Next Blog'. The first 5 English-speaking blogs I come across get a random question which you may or may not wish to answer. You leave your answer as a comment on We get to know tons of people around the world and have some fun. Easy. Silly. No hassle. Join in!

Your question is: What's the most interesting place you've ever been in the world?

Shelia said...

I don't think the person is obligated. Sometimes the person already has the book and are coming to get it signed, which is fine (because at least they are still being supportive).

One thing I've seen is people wanting to know about publishing. Booksignings aren't the place, unless there is absolutely nobody else there. I would suggest getting the author's contact information and chat with them at another time.

Oh another thing I wanted to add is when going to booksignings and seeking advice, the author may be more prone to give it, if you're at least bought one of their books.

LaShaunda said...

Sheila and Dyanne the perfect example of not being obligated is the RT convention. They had over 300 authors there. There was no way I could afford to buy everyone's books. I bought a couple. I signed up for a few newsletters and met authors I had never heard of. It was a fun event. I tried not take anything unless they offered to.

Abel said...

I don't think those who attend book signings are obligated to buy books -- especially if they already have bought several. I'd autograph anything anyone wanted.

Karen Scott said...

I would feel obligated to buy a book, but to be honest, I wouldn't even be in the queue if I didn't like the author!