I had the great pleasure of being on a short story panel for Virginia is for Mysteries at the Virginia Festival of the Book's Crime Wave last weekend in Charlottesville.
If you have never attended, you need to mark your calendar for next March. There were so many great session in all types of genres. I love being around so many writers and readers. And of course, we left with a stack of books!
The venues were all over the Charlottesville area, and we couldn't have ordered better weather. Here are my highlights...
Book signing for Virginia is for Mysteries
Part of the VIFM Panel at the Jefferson Madison Regional Library
(l-r) Vivian Lawry, Teresa Inge, Meredith Cole, and Heather Weidner
About a month ago, I saw a post about local school that was trying to win a Scottie's contest called "Trees Rock." I tweeted their information and shared it on some posts. Yesterday, I received a thank you photo in the mail from the Growing Green Comets of Kersey Creek Elementary School in Mechanicsville, VA. They were chosen as one of 12 schools nationwide. Congratulations to everyone for all their hard work!
And next weekend, the Virginia is for Mysteries authors will be at the Virginia Festival of the Book as part of the Crime Wave panel. We'll be at the Central JMRL Library in Charlottesville, VA (201 E. Market Street) at 2:00 PM on Friday, March 21 . Stop by and see us.
I love book signings. I have also been very fortunate that my first sessions have been with an amazing group of mystery writers. For every event, there are at least six or seven us, and it's tremendous fun. Several people have likened it to speed-dating.
I enjoy meeting people and talking with readers who love mysteries. Here are some things I learned along the way...
1. Bring lots of pens. It sounds like a no brainer. But at our launch, I put my purse in the trunk, so I wouldn't have to carry it around. And I grabbed a pen that died on my second autograph. Thankfully, my mom was there with her well-stocked purse. I now have at least five pens in my bag.
2. Bring candy, bookmarks, or something to give away. People like freebies, and it breaks the ice. I had my cards done at VistaPrint and my bookmarks at Next Day Flyers.
3. Ask about the location when you schedule the event. We did one at a museum in January, and they put our table outside. We had fun, but it was bitter cold.
4. Use social media to advertise your event. Like or follow the location. Retweets and shares help get the word out.
5. Pack a book-signing kit. I have bookmarks, business cards, posters, tape, scissors, bookstand, and an extra book.
6. Confirm all arrangements and ensure that the books have been ordered before the event.
7. Paint your nails or get a manicure (Sorry, guys. This one is a little girly.) Everyone is looking at your hands when you sign.
8. My friend Mary gave me this tip. If you're alone at a table, stand. People will approach you faster. You want to look confident and inviting.
9. Bring your camera and take lots of pictures for your website and social media.
I hope you have many book signings. If you're in Virginia, stop by and see us.