Mark Terry

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Anatomy Of A Book Event

September 2, 2010
Last night I did a Meet The Authors thing at the Romeo Public Library here in Michigan. It's about a half-hour drive from the house. I left around 4:35 or so. The event started at 6:00. I thought I'd share my thoughts on this because it was a fairly typical event of the type. Setup was at 5:00. They let people come in at 5:30 (hence, why I got there so early).

5:10 PM. Got to the library with no problems. It was 92 degrees outside, so I was delighted the library was air conditioned. As I pulled up, I saw one of the authors placing a somewhat larger-than-life cardboard cutout of himself outside the front doors of the library. Gotta admit, that was a new one to me.

Ran into fellow author Karen Dionne outside. She's the author of a previous tech thriller, FREEZING POINT, and her upcoming tech thriller, BOILING POINT, comes out in January. I also know Karen through ITW because she's the editor of ITW's online newsletter. We also have discussed organizing some workshops together in hopes of both making money and promoting our books, but our schedules haven't coincided yet. I asked her if she brought her cardboard cutout.

Inside the library we were met by Kathy, who was organizing the event, a really terrific lady. There were I believe 8 authors (I think there were only 7, but 9 chairs). Three of us were "traditionally" published and the 4 or 5 others were self-published. The topics ranged all over the board, from a local history to a business book to religious thrillers to other stuff I didn't quite get (The problem with 8 authors introducing themselves and being the second-to-last is I tend to space out a bit. Also, as we all know, some people are better public speakers than others and haven't quite honed their get-to-the-pointness yet).

We each had a table with our books (we brought them), and we sat in a row of chairs and each got about 10 minutes to run our mouths, some better than others. I was aware that all of us were sort of the opening act for Susan Sey. She grew up in Romeo and her first novel, Money, Honey, just came out, and this was a sort of hometown launch party. She'd come in from St. Paul, Minnesota with her husband and two daughters and had stacked the room with a lot of family and friends. (Hey, that's what I did at my launch party). She was the last speaker, just after me, and I kept mine short and led my talk into hers. And I will say that Susan totally rocked out, and I told her so. She gave a fairly impassioned and amusing talk in favor of romance novels in general.

That went on for maybe 50 minutes or so. I felt like I was off my game a bit during my spiel, although I don't think it was obvious. I don't like to script these and my concentration was a bit off, so I didn't set THE FALLEN up the way I usually do. Whatever. It came off okay.

Then we climbed back behind our tables. I sold one book (which pretty much paid for my dinner at McDonald's on the way home). I learned long ago when I was at Magna cum Murder to take that as a success. I had done my signing at my second Magna and I was sitting next to a guy from Chicago who'd published something like 19 novels and he sold one copy and he leaned back, crossed his arms over his stomach and said, "Aaaaahhhh, I'm done. I sold my one book." In group signings, sometimes that's the best you can hope for.

I chatted with a number of people. As I explained to Kathy, there were 40+ people in the audience, most of whom had never heard of me before and now they had. That was worth the trip over.

I also decided with this book that if you're going to do these kinds of events, you either do them or you don't, but if you do them, enjoy them. So I do. Karen and I had a terrific chat. I enjoyed meeting Susan Sey (and for you romance and romantic suspense readers, her book sounds like a lot of fun), and hey, I paid for my Quarter Pounder.


Anonymous Keith Gaston said...

Those books events are worth the trouble of attending for authors. I met you once at the Canton, MI Library a few years ago. That was the first time I've heard of Mark Terry. I bought a copy of Dirty Deeds and enjoyed it. Since then, I've become a fan. One sell at an event can lead to many more.

7:33 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Wow, Keith. That was a while back, wasn't it? I remember that event mostly because I and the author I drove with got lost getting there and were late. Glad you've stuck with me.

7:39 AM  
Blogger Natasha Fondren said...

Karen is Melanie Avila's aunt, too, you know. :-)

Congrats on a successful day! :-)

9:52 AM  
Blogger Karen Dionne said...

I had a great time too, Mark! Love your recap. As I was listening to you talk about The Fallen, I was thinking, "Dang - I should have talked more like that about my book," so if you were off your game, it didn't show.

And Natasha - I look forward to the day when my GREATEST claim to fame is being Melanie's aunt! :)

11:32 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

What I neglected to mention was that once the terrorists have the resort under control they go on live TV, show 20 world leaders wearing suicide vests and inform the world that they will kill one leader every hour until their demands are met. It definitely ups the ante.

11:37 AM  
Blogger Karen Dionne said...

Whoa - that's GREAT. Can't wait to read it!

12:01 PM  

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