Tag Archive for: book signing

First Signing at Malice Domestic

by Paula Gail Benson

For many of us, a return to
an in-person Malice Domestic this year was truly a reason for celebration.
Having the opportunity to greet and spend time with folks who have become like
family was completely joyous (even though an outbreak of Covid marred the
occasion at the end).

Elizabeth Crowens, Kaye George, Marilyn Levinson, Leslie Karst, me, and Kathryn O’Sullivan

Alan Orloff, Art Taylor, and Janet Laubgross

I’ll remember this Malice for many terrific experiences: (1) a blurring
genres panel with a group of terrific authors (marvelous moderator Elizabeth
Crowens, and fellow panelists Kaye George, Leslie Karst, Marilyn Levinson, and Kathryn
O’Sullivan); (2) being at the Agatha banquet table with wonderful authors and dear
friends Alan Orloff, who won for Best Young Adult Novel for his I Play One on TV, his wife Janet Laubgross,
Art Taylor and Tara Laskowski, John Copenhaver, Julie Hastrup,
and Marco Carocari; (3) enjoying a few quick meals with excellent cozy authors Dorothy
McFalls and Victoria Gilbert; (4) having a group photo with my super blogging
partners for Writers Who Kill; (5) spending some time with Art and Tara’s talented
son Dash; and (6) getting to tour Washington with a delightful guide, Aziz
Rakla, and the charming Michael Bracken and lovely Temple Walker (who would
leave the next day to celebrate the Edgar best short story nomination for “Blindsided”
written by Michael and James A. Hearn).

Tara Laskowski and John Copenhaver

Even with all of those and many other memorable moments (like hugs
from Edith Maxwell and Dru Ann Love and great conversations with Charlaine
Harris, Toni Kelner, Terrie Farley Moran, and Jeanne Dams), this Malice will
always stand out in my mind as the one when my short story “Reputation or Soul”
was published in Malice Domestic’s 16th anthology Mystery Most Diabolical and, for the
first time, I participated in a Malice signing. Following the live charity
auction, from 9:30 until 10:30 pm on Friday, April 22, 2022, the contributors from
Malice Domestic 15: Mystery Most Theatrical and Malice
Domestic 16: Mystery Most Diabolical
who were
at the conference gathered at tables in the hallway outside the ballrooms and
became part of a conveyor style signing process.


I’m proud not only to be in a Malice Domestic anthology, but also
to have my story with the works of other authors I greatly admire. For the
signing itself, I got to meet Lori Robbins who shared a table with me. And, I’m
very grateful that a kind soul offered to take my copy of the anthology around
to get signatures while I participated in the signing.

At signing with Lori Robbins

you to all the Malice planners. You always make the event a wonderful occasion.
And, particular thanks for my signing experience, a dream come true.


An Unexpected Dream Come True–by T.K. Thorne


  Writer, humanist,
          dog-mom, horse servant and cat-slave,
       Lover of solitude
          and the company of good friends,
        New places, new ideas
           and old wisdom.

It’s not something I talk much about, but for many years I was in the closet as a writer. I collected so many rejections, I could have wallpapered my house with them, or at least, my bedroom. Everyone said short stories were the way to break in, but my stories kept getting turned down.  If I dared admit I was a writer to anyone, their next question dashed me down—”Oh, what have you published?” I could only imagine what it would be like to be a real author, signing books for my fans, having a best seller.  I felt like a failure, but I’m pretty stubborn, and I just kept writing and submitting. I wrote five novels before one was published.

When I held that first book in my hands, I cried tears of joy.
My fourth book recently came out and it was still exciting to open that box and hold it in my hand.

Then a few days later, it made its debut at an elegant downtown Victorian mansion. I signed copies read fromg the book, and shared my big night with friends. A dream come true.

While I was signing books, something else was on my mind. Earlier that day, I had taught a creative writing class (as a volunteer) at Maranathan Academy, a non-profit school that takes “critically at-risk students from a variety of challenging circumstancess—bullying and abuse victims, juvenile offenders, poor academic performers, and the health challenged/chronically ill. Students enter Maranathan wounded and looking for a place to belong.” [website] 

I started the class three months prior, nervous, afraid I’d just taken on something else to fail at, and that I had nothing to offer these kids. I’d never taught poetry, never taught youth, let alone students with the kind of challenges these faced. That first day was hell, and I almost quit. But something made me go back. The students had no idea how to express themselves or even how to sit still. Every class was a struggle, but, gradually, the students started listening and participating.  

Something amazing had happened in class the day of my signing. The students had written poems that touched on their deepest pain, something I could not have imagined them doing when I started.  Nor, I believe, could they have imagined doing so, much less sharing it with the other students and faculty. Not only had they learned to write poetry, but they felt safe enough to open the door to their true selves.
It was wonderful to be at my long-planned book launch party, don’t get me wrong, but my mind kept drifting back to the classroom and those kids.  Then I looked up and saw three members of the school faculty in line with books and one of my students!  I jumped up and hugged her.  “You’re my inspiration,” she whispered in my ear.

That gave me more joy than signing my books or making a best seller list or winning writing awards. That was a dream come true that I hadn’t even known to dream.
Chinese proverb:
“If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.”

T.K. Thorne’s childhood passion for storytelling deepened when she became a police officer in Birmingham, Alabama.  “It was a crash course in life and what motivated and mattered to people.” In her newest novel, HOUSE OF ROSE, murder and mayhem mix with a little magic when a police officer discovers she’s a witch. 

Both her award-winning debut historical novels, NOAH’S WIFE and ANGELS AT THE GATE, tell the stories of unknown women in famous biblical tales—the wife of Noah and the wife of Lot. Her first non-fiction book, LAST CHANCE FOR JUSTICE, the inside story of the investigation and trials of the 1963 Birmingham church bombing, was featured on the New York Post’s “Books You Should Be Reading” list. 

T.K. loves traveling and speaking about her books and life lessons. She writes at her mountaintop home near Birmingham, often with two dogs and a cat vying for her lap. 

 More info at TKThorne.com. Join her private newsletter email list and receive a two free short stories at “TK’s Korner.

Are Book Signings Old Hat?

By Sparkle Abbey

In a couple of weeks we will have our last book signing for
2014. We always enjoy participating in signings. It’s a great way to
connect with our readers, network with other writers, and to support local

Over the past three years, we’ve participated in local
events, regional mystery reader festivals, and larger book signing at national conferences.
Sometimes the events are planned for us, and some we’ve planned ourselves.
There are a couple of things that all the books signings have had in common: we
never know what’s going to happen or how many people, if any, will show up. That
seems to depend on the venue, the advance publicity, and often what else is
going on in the community and in people’s lives.

Our very first signing was for the launch of Desperate
Housedogs, which our local Des Moines library organized for us. We sold more
than 100 books! It felt like every person we knew had taken time to celebrate
our success. It was a night we’ll never forget. 

Since that first book launch, we’ve had numerous signings.
Every one of them we’ve enjoyed immensely. Sometimes we sell out of books, and
other times we’ll only sell a handful of books. Regardless of the number of books we sell, we always enjoy talking to the folks who have taken the time to come and see us. At one recent event, there were
five people at the signing, including the bookseller. Oh, and we can’t forget
the three cats—especially the one who decided to lay on top of our books. There was a lot of laughter that night.  

Recently we’ve talked to many of our fellow
writers who’ve decided not to participate in local or regional signings due to low turnout. A book signing can be lonely for an author. Sometimes the only conversation we’ll have with someone is to
answer the popular question, “Do you know where the bathroom is?”

As we sent our “Save the Date” email, it got us thinking. Since
readers can easily engage with their favorite authors via social media, and
with more ebooks being sold now more than ever before, are book signings a thing of the

We hope not. We enjoy getting out and talking to fellow book
lovers about great authors, and discovering what everyone is reading. We’ve found
many of our favorite writers that way. It also kicks us out of our writing caves and makes us interact with the real world.

What about you? Do you attend book signings? If so, who did
you go see?

Oh, and in case you were wondering about that last book signing, here’s the info:

Book signing
in Des Moines for our newest release! 

Friday, December
19th, 6:00 – 8:00 PM

 – 2629 Beaver Avenue, Des Moines, IA

Maybe we’ll see you there!

Crap shoot

by: Joelle Charbonneau

Skating On The Edge launches a week from today.  EEK!  A
book launch brings with it lots of excitement and nail biting.  Before I started writing, I thought book
tours sounded so glamorous.  The idea of
people standing in line for hours waiting to get a book signed by an author was
pretty cool.  Of course, that is before I
got to know the business a bit better and learned that those lines are the
exception to the rule.  More often than
not, an author on tour hopes he or she won’t be sitting alone in the bookstore
when the signing starts.  You hope
someone – anyone – will come, talk to you and hopefully buy a copy of your
book.  If not – well, that’s the way it
goes sometimes.  Even for the big
names.  Some days the line is around the block.  Other days there are crickets.
The same can be said for blog tours.  You write posts and hope that people who have
no idea who you are read them.  Sometimes
they do.  Other times it’s just your
mother and other members of your family who click on the link and comment on
what you say.
I admit that when I was just a reader, I never even
considered how difficult it was for a book to make it into the hands of a
reader.  I assumed a book was written,
bought, edited and then every store in the country carried it.
Yeah—I was silly back then.
Getting a bookseller to carry your book even if it is
published by a big publisher is a trick. 
Some bookstores or chains don’t like carrying books by authors who don’t
have a strong sales history with them. 
Well, if you are a debut, or in my case a sophomore, author you haven’t
had a lot of time to develop a sales history. 
They only have so much shelf space. 
They want it dedicated to books that will sell.  If you don’t have a sales history or you don’t
live in the region – they don’t trust it will sell.
Tricky, right? 
So paying a visit to the stores, meeting the booksellers and
letting them know you are more than a name on a page is important.  Since you can’t do this for every story in
the country you have to pick your battles and know that most of the battles
will never be fought.  You can only hope
that a reader who wants your book will go into those unknown stores, ask for your
book and order it thereby getting your name in front of the person who places
the orders for stock.  Maybe they’ll
decide to look your book up, think it sounds like something their other readers
might like and order a few extra copies. 
Or not.
E-books are just as tricky. 
There are price adjustments, free days, the hope that some miracle of
marketing will help the book land on a list that will attract new readers since
there isn’t a physical shelf to browse.
Face it—it’s all a crap shoot.  Physical touring, blog tours, advertising,
tweeting, Facebook posts and everything else done to promote books are all crap
shoots.  Some might work some of the
time.  Others might not work at all.  And no one can tell you when and where those
things will work for you.  Fun right?

That’s what’s nice about this blog where I can ask you—what
works for you?  How do you find new books
to read?  Do you pay attention to Amazon’s
suggestions?  Do you take recommendations
off of Twitter, this blog and Facebook posts? 
Do you go into bookstores and look for the cover that attracts your eye?  What works for you?  I’m dying to know