Category: "Author Appearances"
Mitch Albom has captivated readers with his earlier novels Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven. At the end of September, 2006 he will begin his book tour for his latest novel, For One More Day. The book is on sale now and will be released on September 26, 2006. For more information about the book, visit ForOneMoreDay.com. There is also a complete list of tour dates available here.
Saturday, October 7
612 E. Liberty
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Michael Connelly, author of the Harry Bosch series, will be on tour in late 2006, mainly sticking to warmer states as the weather turns. The new book he will be promoting, Echo Park, will be available on October 9, 2006. Echo Park is the twelfth Harry Bosch novel.
Visit MichaelConnelly.com for tour dates and locations. The list is complete with phone numbers for the locations from which you may order signed copies if your home town is not a stop on the tour.
It is always nice to spend an evening with one of the people who fascinates you in so many ways. Last night I took a short reprieve from the hustle and bustle to see - probably my favorite author - Jeffery Deaver appear at the Baldwin Public Library in Birmingham, MI. It was a fun presentation by Mr. Deaver.
I have now seen Mr. Deaver on three separate occasions over the years. I try to make my rounds to see the various authors that I read and/or collect. By far Jeffery Deaver is the nicest and most personable author I have met. He seems genuinely appreciative of our interest in his work, not just the almighty dollar. Each time I have seen him he appears to thoroughly enjoy speaking to the crowd and interacting with people who take the time to attend his appearances.
I understand that anything read by the person who wrote it can sound more fluid than water, but listening to him read from his latest (Lincoln Rhyme) novel The Cold Moon did create a significant urge to drop everything and read it.
I have taken a recent hiatus from Thriller Fiction and explored other areas of writing. After having read almost nothing but Suspense/Thriller novels for three years, the stories seemed to all blend together. All but Jeffery Deaver's, and I made the mistake of lumping his together with other writers who grew monotonous. His books excite me. The feelings and reactions he incites in me as I read are why I read books. They are also why I want to write. Someday I hope to provide a reading experience like the ones that Jeffery Deaver has provided to me in so many of his books.
If you have the chance, pick up a Jeffery Deaver novel and thumb through it. I do recommend them.
If you're interested in a few pictures from last night's engagement, they are available here.
Jeffery Deaver writes the Lincoln Rhyme series, whose most popular title is The Bone Collector. The seventh installment in the series, The Cold Moon, will be in stores on May 30, 2006. The tour begins in New York City.
Appearance of note:
June 29, 2006 – Birmingham, Michigan
Baldwin Public Library
6:00 pm – Reception, 7:00pm – Presentation
300 W. Merrill St., 248.554.4654
Click here for a complete tour schedule.
George R. R. Martin is the author of the A Song of Ice and Fire series. He heads out on the road late in 2005 to promote the long awaited fourth part of the series, A Feast for Crows.
The UK leg of his tour is in mid to late October. He will be in the US early to mid November. A complete list of US tour dates is available here.
A Feast for Crows has a release date in the US on November 8, 2005 and in the UK on October 17. Preorder a copy here.
Michael Connelly, author of the Harry Bosch series will be on tour in the Northeast in late 2005 for a quick promotion of his new (non-Bosch) novel.
A Word From Michael Connelly:
"The Lincoln Lawyer is a book that I had an idea for about five or six years ago," Connelly said, "but it was going to be one that needed a lot of research, so I didn't do it for a while. I met a lawyer in Los Angeles who basically used his car as an office. L.A. is so spread out, and the traffic is so bad, and there are 39 courthouses in L.A. County where proceedings take place. He found he was always in his car, moving from courthouse to courthouse, so he kind of outfitted his car with a fax machine, and computer and printers," Connelly continued. "He works in his Lincoln Town Car as he moves from courthouse to courthouse. He used clients who were having trouble paying him as his drivers and so forth. That was the thumbnail I got about five years ago, and it took me until now to spend some time with some lawyers and in court so I could write it."
A complete list of the tour stops is listed Here.
Appearance of note:
Wednesday, August 31st at 7:00 pm
3527 Washtenaw Avenue
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Eldest comes out on August 23, 2005. Preorder a copy Here.
John Sandford, author of the Lucas Davenport mysteries, is currently on tour promoting his latest novel Broken Prey. For his complete tour schedule click here. I drove to Ann Arbor the other night to see him at Nicola's Books.
This was now the second time I was seeing John Sandford on tour. I had seen him the year before as his latest (at that time) was released. It was at that signing that I had my collection signed. I had not updated it since, so I only needed the new one signed for my library.
Sandford regaled us with stories before he answered questions. When our curiosity was satisfied, he began the signing. Once the line had dissipated, as he mentioned pre-signing, he stuck around to answer any specific questions and hold a short writing workshop. The neat part here is that there were only two of us who stuck around.
I held my tongue as I felt I did not have much to contribute to the conversation. The other two, a gentleman and the author, seemed to do well on their own. I only interjected when I could as they searched for the names of other authors and books to use as examples of their points.
Through the question and answer session that precluded the signing and our talk afterwards he never once disguised what he did. He always referred to the writing as his job. He spoke of being a writer as he would if he were the head of a major corporation. They have one big thing in common: they have a product they are trying to sell.
During the first Q&A, a woman asked why the author chose for his hero to settle down with one woman as opposed to another. She was met with a shocking response that had nothing to do with the moral character of either woman. Woman A sold more books than Woman B. It was a better business decision on the part of the writer to choose one over the other, so he did.
This prompted the aspiring writer, he was a professor, to ask if Sandford was truly as cynical about writing as he came across as. The author replied that it is not cynicism. Writing is his job. He did not try to glorify the occupation. He said writing is hard work. It is what he does, what he feels he has to do, every day.
The author went on to tell many things about writing. He said that you need to be able to write about something with which you are familiar. If you have never been to a murder scene, do not write about one. You may write your mystery/thriller from the perspective of someone else whose perspective you better understand. He did, however, speak about relationships you should play on in your own life. Maybe you know someone who knows a police officer. Get that person to get you in touch so you may ask to ride along in the car. The things you learn on that ride, or a series of those rides, will be invaluable.
He does not know how his books will end when he sits down to write them. What he does know is that in the first chapter someone will die, in the second chapter the characters will be introduced and towards the end there will be a gun fight. This seems like a pretty basic approach, but it is a tried and true model for him. He does not outline the story at the beginning, but he will do so towards the end. When he is nearly finished with the book and has but 30,000-40,000 words to go he will lay out his story. He wants a galloping finish so everything must be summed up at the appropriate time. The ending is very important.
If you have never written a novel before, the last 4 chapters of the one you write will be the best writing you have done. Revision is important. You must constantly edit your writing; especially when it is complete. For your book to sell in New York to be published, the entire thing must be as good as those final four chapters. This may mean for a lot of re-writing.
The standard newspaper column will be 750 words. The author feels as though he could write that much at this point in his career in 20-30 minutes and it would be pretty good. If you can get to a point where you are comfortable writing 750 words each day, he says you can have a complete novel in about 7 months. To be safe, he suggests a 2 hour commitment each day.
You need to be married to the idea of writing and completing a novel. The hardest part, he offers, will be in the endurance. To be able to sustain one idea from page 1 until the end is very difficult. There will be times when you want to quit. There will be times when you think the idea is not very good. You must keep going; having the stamina to finish is a key success factor.
He addressed the subject of writer's block. He quoted a fellow author for this point of the conversation; I apologize for not remembering who it was. Said author was asked by the president of a college in Minnesota what he did when he gets writer's block. He responded in kind with a question asking her what she does when she gets president of the college block. This may seem silly, but with some thought you see that you find a way to get things done. To elaborate and personalize the story some, Sandford says that if he is having a hard time at any point he will go back and do some editing. Maybe he has written enough for that day and after some proofreading he will pick it back up the next day.
You need to decide what you want to do with your novel. There are two options (for the most part). Option 1 is that you write a book that allows you to show your artistic side. You are an artist and you want to share your vision with the world, well with the 20,000 people who will buy your book at least. Option 2 is that you learn the demographics of the book market. You find out that the bulk of book sales comes from women ages 35-60 who live in households with enough disposable income to buy hardcover books. If you know this and learn their wants and needs you may better cater to them. Doing this, explains the author, you may now share your vision with the 2 million people who buy your book. I do not use this as a threat. I am stating, as did Sandford, that many people choose option 1, there is nothing wrong with it. The explanation is more about option 2. If you want to sell a blockbuster, and you have never sold a novel before...be sure to understand there are certain nuances that will help and others that will deter the performance of your book.
Nothing John Sandford said came across to us as arrogant or far-fetched. I ask that you do not read it that way if my recap felt that way. The talk we had on Thursday was extremely helpful to someone like me who hopes to write a novel someday. I thanked the author that night and I thank him again for his time and guidance. It was unbelievably kind of him to take the time like that for us. Also I would like to thank Nicola's Books for hosting and keeping the store open while we chatted and the professor for asking all the right questions. This was an atypical book signing; one that will not be forgotten. What a fantastic experience.
If you have never been to a book signing it is a very interesting experience. I will admit I find that readers have more to gain from it than those who do not read, but I would never recommend someone not attend. The only time I would say it is not as exciting is when the author does not talk.
Sometimes they will read excerpts from the book(s) they are promoting with the tour, sometimes they will sit and tell stories; most of the time they will have a question and answer session. There are times, however when the appearance is only a signing and you walk into the location and get in line and wait to have your book(s) signed and then you leave.
Some authors travel alone, some with a publisher. Some are very nice, others view the line behind you as daunting and prefer to keep things moving. Some allow for pictures to be taken with them while you get your book signed, some do not. You almost always have the option to get your book personalized (though I only get mine "flat signed", signature only).
The majority of the questions center around the following examples: When is the next book coming out? What is your next one about? Will this or any be optioned for a movie? Will you ever do a cross over novel with another writer? Where do you get your inspiration for these books? Is the main character modeled after someone you know? How did you get into writing? How long does it take for you to write a book? Do you know what how each book will end the minute you start writing it?
When you are having a book signed, the page on which the author will place the signature is the actual title page of the book. You will always know the title page from the rest as on its back there is the copyright information. A trick of the trade is to fold the inside flap of the dust jacket between the pages to mark the title page, thus making it easier for the author.
If you happen to bring copies of the author's work with you, you will typically be categorized as a collector. This flag will do nothing more than cost you a little time. I have heard the rule stating if you have more than 6 books, you are a collector; other times it goes unsaid on a "you know who you are" basis. Being a collector at a signing almost always will mean they as you wait until the end. You could be the first one to show up for the event, but they will still ask you be one of the last to leave. The justification is that somehow it is worse to be behind one person with ten books than ten people with one book each. How? I am not sure. The line will form without you in it. Many people will have their book signed while you wait. Eventually you will be greenlighted to join the queue. This can work to your advantage though as you then have the author in a more intimate environment as most of the other patrons have gone. Only one time have I encountered an author who has stated they will not sign more than one book other than their current release. They will sign as many copies of the new book as you have, but only one book besides.
You can find out about author appearances from a variety of sources. The location hosting the appearance will often have a flyer listing upcoming visits and/or details on their website. There may only be signs posted stating the author, time and date of the appearance. My personal favorite method is by simply visiting the author's personal website (if it exists); they generally have a page devoted to their tour schedule. The only downfall to using this angle exclusively is that you may miss out on authors you have never seen before.
Then of course there is the rest of the internet on which you may find people who attend these appearances regularly and they can be a great resource if you are looking for information (see also: e-mail me). I will try to begin posting my favorite authors' tour schedules in case you are interested, but if you have any questions, let me know. In turn, if you have any info you think I may find interesting either leave a comment or follow the same e-mail link above.
I will also try and recap each appearance I attend and fill you in on any details you missed. I have created a new category to the Books blog for Author Appearances where I will contain all of the information discussed on this topic.
I love seeing authors speak and have the opportunity to pick their brains. To date, the furthest I have traveled for an author appearance is 2 hours, though I imagine that personal record will be broken.