I have a regular FaceTime chat with an author friend of mine. It’s meant to be a way to keep each other honest with our various projects and deadlines and to talk about highfalutin author stuff. What usually happens is our conversation devolves into gossiping, obsessing over MCU characters, and talking crap about each other’s favorite baseball team. (Go Dodgers!)
This week, the topic of book signings came up. Neither of us is big on crowds, at least not for very long, but we do miss seeing our friends at signings. I haven’t been to an event since September 2019. The other day, I got the sad news that one of my favorite book signings—which was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic—is now on hiatus and probably won’t return at all. The only signing I have on my schedule doesn’t take place until June 2022.
That breaks my heart, mostly because I fear that a lot of book signings won’t return. The smaller ones, the ones not held in large cities or organized by big name associations and publishing houses . . . they’ll never come back. Authors who might never get a spot at one of the bigger signings and readers who can’t access those same events—either due to cost or distance—won’t have alternatives. The event market has shrunk significantly.
I guess what I’m saying is, it looks like the world of book signings has been rocked and I don’t know how or even if it will recover. I hope it does. I hope I’m wrong. I want us all to have the opportunity to meet face-to-face, to share our love of reading, to find new favorite books and authors, and—most of all—to act like a bunch of dorks hopped up on sugar and caffeine while cosplaying our favorite main character.
Is that too much to ask?
In the meantime, I guess we have social media, blogs, and virtual signings. But it surprises this introvert right here to find that I miss people. I miss meeting readers. I miss my author friends. I don’t know what the answer is, or how we’ll move forward, but I continue to be amazed at the book community—both readers and authors. If their enthusiasm hasn’t dimmed in the last year, maybe I should follow their lead and be more optimistic about the future of signings.
As always, I hope you’re doing well, staying healthy, and thriving.
Now, go read a book!