Dirty Little Secrets | Author Events

Dirty Little Secrets
Dirty Little Secrets

I have a confession to make, and some of you might want to disown me after reading it. I know it’s weird, especially considering my level of excitement toward certain books. I mean have you SEEN the Twitter flailing? The furious Goodreads updates? I go nuts over some books, and want to give my favorite authors some seriously creepy internet hugs. But (here it comes) I just don’t get excited over author events.

I know at least some of you are gaping at your screen open-mouthed, trying to figure out what’s wrong with me now. Right? Right. (If you figure it out, let me know!)

Before you click away for fear of my obvious madness spreading to you, let me explain. New Orleans is a great place to live. There’s tons of great food, enthusiastic music, mixed culture, and the people are generally friendly. The heat and humidity that press on us year round is the only thing that really sucks. No wait, so does the lack of acceptable author events.

I’m on email lists for all the independent bookstores here, just so I can be informed about author events that may be going on. For the most part (something like 90%+), events here involve local authors, or at least authors writing about locally-interesting topics. Overall I think this is great. Local stores are supporting local authors, and their art, giving our community a chance to grow. But personally, I have little to no interest in the books that are being featured at these events. I don’t know if I have rotten luck, or if Louisana authors are just not for me. The few local reads I’ve tried out have been a disaster, to put it mildly. (Some took me weeks to get through, and I was only able to finish because I needed to send feedback for an ARC. >_<) Supposing I were to come across one I’d like to attend, I probably couldn’t anyway because of the scheduling issues. For some reason most author events hosted at the more active of these shops happen in the middle of the day during weekdays, or super early on weekends (when I’m at work). It really makes me wonder how good of a turnout they can be getting, at 3pm on a Thursday afternoon. Even for people on non-conventional schedules like I am, that’s a difficult time of day to get to a busy part of downtown (with super limited parking, I might add).

Since beginning my book blog last summer I may have seen two events for YA authors, and neither of them were someone I’d heard of before. One was actually an author Kelley warned me away from, since she had read her work before and was underwhelmed. There was one author event I thought I might like to go to – ONCE – and now I can’t even remember who it was. I dismissed it as even being a possibility as soon as I looked up the details. Not only was it in the busiest part of tourist headquarters downtown (odd to begin with), it was in a bar. That’s right – no books here, just booze and a mic + small stage. On top of immediately discluding anyone under legal drinking age, there was a somewhat exorbitant cover charge (something like $50). This included a pre-signed book I may or may not have even wanted, and absolutely no chance to meet with or talk to the author, or get anything else signed. There would be a short reading from his book, sitting in some dingy tourist attraction, with the smell of who even knows what floating around rather than the clean and aged smell of well-kept bookstores.

I guess if it happened to be my favorite author ever, it wouldn’t be such a bad thing. But when viewed as essentially paying for a single book and someone reading a chapter of it to me, it’s ridiculously expensive. For someone on a cook’s salary and also putting myself through college (ART college, at that. Do you know how expensive art supplies get?! Also I need my fancy cheese. And books. And and and…), I just don’t have excess funds to throw around like that, especially on something that sounds so unenjoyable. After months of looking and hoping to find some fun author event to go to, that one finally made me give up the search.

Then, a couple weeks ago during the Grand Opening of Oh, the Books! I found out about a big book con held here in New Orleans every year – RT Booklovers Convention. (Thank you, Sarah J!) I hadn’t started my book blog this time last year, so I wouldn’t have heard about it through the community grapevine yet. I began to get excited, thinking there might be at least one or two authors I’d like to meet at a huge convention. Right? Sure enough, there are eleven flippin’ pages full of authors attending this con, lots of which are YA authors, some of whom I recognize and would love to meet. Most, if not all, of them are even signing at this Giant Book Fair event. A day pass for Saturday includes the fair plus a few workshops, all for $55. Weighing that single-author don’t-talk-to-me-here’s-your-book-my-assistant-probably-forge-signed event of $50ish against a slew of amazing YA and other authors PLUS more awesome things for $55? That’s not even a fair contest. The day is a terrible time for me, since Saturdays are my busiest and we’re in the punch of spring right now… but by the time mid-May rolls around I just may be able to swing going. I think I can ration myself on fancy cheeses and new tubes of paint for a while, if it means getting to meet some amazingly creative souls that will actually be happy about me – and everyone else – being there.

Aside from the prospect of RT Booklovers Convention, I have to wonder… are author events like this everywhere? Am I just a scrooge, not wanting to spend more money on bookish things, on top of buying books? How does everyone else manage to go to all these big book events? Do I just live in a rotten city for being a book nerd?

How does your city handle author events? Is there one big convention or author gathering you plan ahead for every year?

Leanne

Read 59 comments

  1. I’ve never met a real live author! I KNOW, right?! It’s pretty shocking. My town has zero author events. The nearest place that has them is 50mins away, which isn’t that bad…unless you don’t have a car/transport. I kind of should plan for one, buuuut, once a year? ONLY once a year? What happens if you’re away/busy during that time?! So no I don’t get excited about author events at all. I’m kind of jealous… ;) Hehe… That whole $50 compared to the $55+ awesomeness was kind of mind-blowing!

    • Haha Cait, I haven’t met one either! I’m not super excited to meet “famous” people to begin with, though, so that might be why I haven’t caught the bug. Plus the author events here… well you’ve read how they are. >_> Shameful. I suppose I shouldn’t complain much since I at least have the option of having some in my city, but they are just uninteresting to me.

      I knowwww, those prices are crazy! I just keep thinking about how big an event that convention will be and how long I may have to wait in line, and how I’ve only read a few of those authors, and would only be able to say HI I LOVE YOU before being whisked off. I’m wondering if that might not be a good first event for me, and I should hold out for something much smaller.

  2. Oh wow Leanne, that festival looks AMAZING! I think it’s definitely worth sacrificing a few cheeses for ;D

    I’m quite lucky, as I live about 20 minutes drive away from Cheltenham, where there is a huge Literature Festival every year (actually there are four: science, literature, jazz and music, plus the races). I worked there in 2012 which was one of the most exciting experiences ever, and I went to a couple of events there last year (couldn’t work as I had a full time permanent job by that point). Working there was fantastic because I was quite literally getting paid to meet and talk to all these amazing people. I even spent time chatting with one philosopher (A.C. Grayling) who was genuinely interested in what I’d done at university, and my plans ahead. Then after his event, he came over and thanked me for helping out (lugging books over, controlling queues etc) which was so nice! And then last October, I met some amazing authors too =)

    And whilst London is only an hour and a half away by train, trains are probably every hour and don’t run to very late. I’m actually going to a cocktails & conversation evening (haha) in London on 30th April, with Laini Taylor (AAHH) and Lauren Owen. It ends at 8pm, and the last train back in 8.45pm so might be a bit of a rush… and actually, now I think about it, the signing will probably be FROM 8pm… oops.

    So yeah, tl; dr: I’m quite lucky where I am, we have the amazing festival once a year and it’s not too difficult to get to London. But I don’t know what it will be like from this summer, when I move to the Netherlands – although I’ll only be 30 mins from Amsterdam, which I guess is where most events will be.

    • It does look amazing, Rinn! But the more I think about the more I think I might have to set aside a lot of money to go to it, besides the ticket price. If it’s like most other events I’d have to buy any books I wanted signed there. And since it’s a big event there will be A LOT of people in lines. >_< If I could go for free and just absorb the atmosphere I totally would, at least after I get out of work. But... I dunno. I will probably hold out for a different first-time-author-experience. What if it's terrible?! I will have wasted all that time and money. Working at that festival sounds awesome! It's great seeing you had such a good experience, and got to meet so many interesting people. The trains there sound like the buses here. Between those and the streetcars you can get all over the city and downtown fairly easily, but the buses stop running after a certain time. I think the streetcars go longer just because they're a more efficient means of getting around downtown, but I'm not sure they stay in operation all night. Living in the Netherlands should be exciting! I know Amsterdam has some gorgeous libraries, and there are lots of other beautiful attractions around. I know you'll love it there. I expect to see some photos! :)

  3. We have NO author events in my town, but I think that’s pretty common in the UK. The only bookish events seem to be in London, Cambridge or Edinburgh (which is just a LITTLE too far for me :P). And, not to be a negative nancy or anything, but they’re normally authors I’ve never heard of and have no interest in.

    Plus I think they’re only once a year, so if you miss them then you miss them.

    If I was in the US and there was an author event with people like John Green etc. I’d be there like a shot! As it is, I’m not really that excited to spend a gazillion pounds getting the train into London to see an author I’ve never heard of.

    . . . I sound like such a grumpy old woman here :P

    • Aw that’s a bummer, Allie! Right, I could go to tons of author events if I was willing (or had the time) to drive 4ish hours to Houston… but who has time for that?! I do wonder why I only have seen that one big convention with YA authors, and maybe *one* event at Barnes & Noble here for a YA author. It makes me wonder if people are scared to come to New Orleans, or if they just think we don’t read! Haha goodness.

      You don’t sound grumpy at all! It’s one thing being able to go to fun events (author or otherwise) if they’re close by and you happen to have time, and aren’t being charged to go. It’s quite a different thing to have to travel for them, spending time and money to get there – or have a poor selection in your own hometown. I don’t consider myself to be too grumpy about my terrible author event situation, so I definitely don’t think you are either. ;)

  4. Author events aren’t really my thing either, but I’ve not been to many so it could just be down to me finding the one or two I’ve experienced being dull.

    I can definitely understand the not wanting to go to an event where you don’t love the author or you just don’t fancy the book.

    I think I’d rather just go to an event where I got to listen to a talk or got to chat to fellow bloggers.

    Wish these events were less costly too, as I certainly can’t afford to go to many.

    • I’m almost afraid that will be my experience too, Alice, if I ever get to an author event. It seems like it would be great if it were a small gathering in one of the local bookstore with a few interactive authors. But so far I haven’t seen anything like that offered here. I may have to travel to find something like that, which is tough with a full work/school schedule!

  5. I live in the Netherlands, so if authors come here, it will most likely be Dutch authors and they will go to Amsterdam, Rotterdam or maybe Utrecht, which is still about a 2 hour or more drive for me, and I don’t own a car to be honest. I have been to one event that was in my local book store and it was a Dutch author, it was very nice, but there wasn’t time to talk to the author. The event sounds really nice though!

    • That’s a shame all the major cities are still so far from you. But if you were to make a trip to Amsterdam for an author event, I hear they have some lovely libraries and other attractions there! I suppose it’d have to be a full day trip or even weekend trip, though, if you were relying on other transportation. It seems hard for people to find that big of a block of time free at once these days… maybe that’s just me. :)

      The event does sound nice! I’m wondering if I would really have time to talk to any of the authors, though. It’s so huge I can’t imagine I would get to do much more than stand in line for a while, get my book signed, say hi, and be moved along. I’m glad you had a good experience with your author event! Too bad you didn’t have time to speak to him/her.

  6. I have been to a couple author events and I am going to BEA in NY this spring, but they generally aren’t my thing either. I read most of my books in eformat and I don’t want to spend the money to buy a hardcopy just to have it signed. I don’t really care about getting books signed either and standing in line just to awkwardly say hello to someone is not my favorite. I would rather be able to have an informal conversation then a few moments of awkwardness. I think BEA will be awesome because there will be discussion sessions, I will be able to meet bloggers, and I will be able to have more conversations with bookish people. Great topic!

    • I saw a few people’s posts from BEA last year and it looked like fun, but probably too big for me to go to (plus way too far). I wouldn’t even know where to begin!

      I don’t much care for having things signed either, even if it does make the book 10x more special for other people. I guess if I got to sit down and have the type of informal conversation you’re talking about, it would be a nice reminder to have that author’s signature in my book. But otherwise it’s just kind of like someone wrote on one of my pages. >_> Maybe I’m just weird! I feel like that’s a big part of why people get excited about these events, though, and possibly why I don’t care much to seek them out.

      BEA does sound really great, with the discussion sessions. And getting to meet other bloggers will make it way better! That’s another thing about me going to events here – I don’t know who I could possibly meet up with, because all the bloggers I know are so far. It seems like it would be more fun if I had a blogger buddy to go with.

  7. Glad to hear I’m not the only one who doesn’t get crazy over these. I live near enough to Atlanta that I could probably attend events for authors I’ve heard of, but a lot of times these happen during the week, so it’s not easy to go.

    Plus, there’s a cost associated with going, and signing etiquette is that you buy a book if you attend the event, and I don’t buy print books much anymore.

    But all of that aside, I’m just not much of a chit-chat person. I don’t think I’d attend an event, get exciting about hearing a reading, and then a 30-second conversation while they sign something for me. Unless it’s a super-favorite author, that doesn’t sound like something I’d go out of my way to do.

    • Yeah, what is up with the events during the week? We have them on odd days here and I could understand if they were evening, well after people get out of work or school. But they’re right after lunch sometimes! I don’t understand the thinking process behind that, and wonder if that’s why we don’t get a bigger variety of people here. After having given it another look – two of the main bookstores that have events close at 6pm, and it looks like now they have events beginning then and shortly after, but not all the events they host are at their shops. I suppose that’s understandable because one of them is tiny, and they really couldn’t fit many people in there. But almost every one of them is on a weekday, or the weekend day that I work most. Boo!

      You’re right, there’s most certainly that extra “understood” cost associated. I buy print books much more than ebooks still, but to buy something just to have it signed I would have to be sure I would love that book. So it’d need to be one of my favorite authors or a book I’d already read and just want to add to my collection. And really, school costs right now are eating up all my disposable income (along with fancy cheese). Boo again!

      I get very awkward in situations where I’m supposed to talk to people I don’t know, even in an environment I’m comfortable in. You should see when I have to show new people around at work – it’s ridiculous! My brain doesn’t work properly and I forget all sorts of things I should be saying. I can’t imagine going to see an author I want to meet and being able to have a conversation with them, hah. I guess I’m not a chit-chat person either. :)

  8. It still just blow my mind that there aren’t more good author events in a city like New Orleans. It’s great to support local authors, but I have to wonder why they don’t want to bring more authors in from other places too. You might want to keep an eye on the event calendars for the local B&N shops and stuff, too. They also hold author events, and I’ve been to a couple here that were pretty great. They’re also more likely to bring in the bigger names and non-local folks.

    Also: why the HECK are all these events in the middle of the day on weekdays? Like you, I really have to wonder how many people attend them. Do you know if these also have a charge to get in the door?

    I feel REALLY lucky to live in a place that just seems to thrive on free author events. The only one I’ve ever had to PAY to get into was for Sue Monk Kidd, and I just had to purchase the book to get in, which I was planning to do anyway. All of the others? Totally free. I’ve been to three different book festivals in Texas and all of THOSE are free too. So, man. $55 to get into the RT Booklovers Convention? I mean, I do see that it has a TON of authors, but so does the Texas Book Festival and that’s free! (Although I did see that there’s a $30 Teen Day Only option…) Also, ummmm this thing is like… Tuesday through Sunday? How does that work?

    Now I’m torn, because I want to go to the RT thingy and hang out with you all day! But it’s also the same weekend as Dallas ComicCon, which I just was making plans to go to with some co-workers yesterday. >_< Hrmmmmmmmmmm... Now you've nudged me to hurry up and write the post I've been planning about author events for a while now... and to post it SOON!

    • I know! I really can’t figure out why it’s like that. The more I look, the more literary-type festivals I find, so it would make sense to see more than just local authors here more than once a year… but nope. I signed up for some more newsletters just so I can keep an eye on events, and maybe I will see something interesting (and small) but I’m still not counting on it. :/ I was subscribed to some of these before, and remember getting annoyed there was never anything I wanted to go to so I just removed myself from the lists. I check B&N from time to time as well but most of their events are things like storytime for small children, or talking about gardening books, or kids doing holiday crafts. o_o Looking just now I did see a couple bookfairs coming up but they’re held at elementary schools and for whatever reason I would feel really weird going to those.

      I dunno about if they have a cover charge for the ones I’m getting emails for (although I think a few of them do require you buy that author’s book to attend) but it does look like a lot of them are between 5pm and 7pm. The weekend ones are early, like in the middle of the day, which doesn’t work for people like me with non-traditional work weeks. I don’t think a lot of people around here actually have M-F schedules, honestly, so I’m not sure what they’re thinking with that. Since most places are open 7 days a week it’s obvious there need to be people working on those days!

      I KNOW. Houston sounds so freakin’ awesome for author events. I would probably be way more into them if I lived around there, but here it seems like such a hassle. I guess I wouldn’t really find out whether the events are something I’d actually like until I tried one out, but it also looks like that may be a while for me to figure out.

      The $30 Teen Day option for RT Booklovers is for actual teenaged people, under 20 years old. When I saw that $30 as an option I was happy because the teen people are the ones I’d want to see… then saw it was for teens (plus a chaperone). And really if it’s for teenagers now that makes me think it’s a bit much, even if they are bringing a guardian/adult along with them. Also the Tuesday-Sunday thing… see, stupid scheduling here. I guess it’s better than it just being on a weekend, but if people are paying the full convention price they’d have to take a week off work to attend, too. The one day I would have considered going is Saturday (since it’s $55 for that one day vs $90 for any other one day), but my work week starts on Saturday and is usually my heaviest workload. Maybe my schedule is just horrible for these types of things. Don’t be torn about it! I won’t be going. The more I think about it the more I can’t justify the ticket price, and I really don’t want to kill myself for several days beforehand, trying to stock the restaurant up enough to take part or all of Saturday off. Plus there are going to be gobs of people and super long lines… just euw. Go to Dallas ComicCon!

      • Wow, $30 for the TEENS to get in? That really just seems like… a bad idea. I’d much rather just make that money from actual BOOK SALES instead of cover charges, and I’m sure the teens would rather get MORE BOOKS instead of just paying to get in! I wonder how many teens will actually be there, because of this alone! (Do their chaperones have to pay the adult rate to get in along with them???? O_O) I really, REALLY do not understand why all the author events in NOLA have such outrageous cover charges!

  9. I’ve never been to an author event either Leanne. Partly because I live in a small town so all the author events closest to me are about three hours away. But for me it ultimately comes down to I get so intimidated by the thought of meeting an author I adore. I mean this is a person who writes beautiful words for a living! It makes me tongue tied at just the thought!

    • You know, Lindsey, I feel like I may as well live in a small town with all the luck I have of finding an event to go to! This place swarms with music events and all sorts of culture events but it seems so difficult to find an interesting literary one that doesn’t cost a fortune.

      The intimidation is definitely another thing. Because what would you even say to your favorite authors, “HI I LOVE YOUR BOOKS”? Haha. I wouldn’t know where to go from there. I’ve never been one of those people to fawn over someone just because they’re famous or really good at something, so I guess that’s another factor for me. It’s not that I don’t think they’re interesting people… I just don’t know anything about them, other than they write things I like. I think my buying their books to support them is really as involved as I need to get in telling them I appreciate their work.

  10. Add me to the list of folks who’ve never been to an author event (well, other than the ones that Borders hosted while I worked there, but I was always just at the register, not involved in the event itself). There are very few authors I’d actually be interested enough in to brave the crowds.

    • Sometimes I think I would love to work at a bookstore, but then I remember I’m bad at avoiding temptation. :) The easiest way for me to keep book buying under control is just to not go anywhere near them (and for some reason I don’t buy them online often). That’s pretty awesome you were able to be around for some author events, but sucks you were stuck at the register for them!

      Honestly the crowds are the single most off-putting thing to me about the events, as well. Just today I was out attempting to do my photography assignment and decided to give it up for the day and go during the week. It’s gorgeous outside and I was off work early so it seemed like a perfect opportunity. I like going somewhere naturey (parks, beach, swamp, etc) whenever possible for those assignments because there seems to always be something new to see. But it being Sunday, there were people *everywhere* and I just couldn’t deal with it. (Another reason for going out to nature for those things is there should be less people there!)

      • To be honest, it’s one of the worst jobs I’ve had… but only because I’m just not cut out for dealing with cranky customers. I had a very similar job working circulation at a library, and I had to deal with my share of cranky patrons, but it’s a whole different story when money is involved.

        The upside is that the people I worked with were great. I think I would have liked working there a lot more if I spent more time on the floor, answering questions and restocking and whatnot… instead of just being the person who takes your money and asks if you want a reward card (yes, I know we ask you that every time you come in, it’s our job).

  11. So I didn’t even really think about author events until super recently. I went to a local authors signing at Barnes and Noble last fall when I found out Kat Zhang was going to be there (I found out the day I bought What’s Left of Me for book club), and it was a simple affair, just go up to the table, chat with the author, they sign your book, you leave. Then recently I realized… oh wait… there are these author events that happen and surely some of them happen close to me… maybe I ought to research!

    So there’s an indie bookstore in Nashville that apparently does several events, so I’ve subscribed to their newsletter and I looked at their calendar on their website. I was really thinking about attending an event next week featuring 4 YA authors, and made sure to read two of the authors in preparation, but since both books underwhelmed me a little, I don’t think I’m going to go. It’s not actually all that convenient, so I’d rather wait until an author I LOVE like Marissa Meyer shows up. So I can definitely understand where you’re coming from.

    Paying $50 to see one author sounds insane to me! The convention sounds like it could be fun though!

    • I kind of gave up on them for a while, and kept seeing people talking about them (I guess it goes in waves on social media) so became interested again. Plus with Sarah mentioning the convention, of course I had to check out the info on that, and go check out other possible author events around here just in case.

      Aw man, that’s a shame you didn’t particularly like those authors’ books. If that indie store had a group of 4 YA authors once, though, surely they have some more soon. That doesn’t sound like it would be a once-in-a-long-while thing. Hopefully next time someone shows up it’s someone you love and you’ll get a fantastic experience out of it. :)

  12. Most of the events (if they even make it to my area) are at least an hour, if not two or three, away from me, in cities that I’m not comfortable driving in. I grew up in a place where we finally upgraded to a 3-lane highway only a few summers ago, going to San Diego or Los Angeles with all the traffic and their 8-lane highways is pretty overwhelming for me! Even if they’re free events, the gas money alone is pretty expensive, plus they always seem to fall on the days that I work late.

    But I’m finally going to brave LA in a few weeks and go to the LA Book Festival. It’ll be my first time, but a friend is driving us, so it should be pretty fun!

    • Oh gosh that’s terrible they’re all so far away, especially if you aren’t comfortable driving. I know just what you mean about the small town type of highways, though! I grew up in a place like that, where they still don’t have enough traffic to have a single traffic light – just tons of stop signs and *really* low speed limits. The whole town is practically a residential area with almost no businesses there. After having lived in New Orleans so long, though, I’m used to my fair share (and then some) of crazy driving. :) Although admittedly I’m sure it’s not the same as LA!

      Gas money is definitely something to take into account, since the prices are constantly fluxuating. And it seems like every time they do bounce back and forth, the lows on them get higher and higher.

      I hope you have a great time at the LA Book Festival! High five for not having to drive yourself there, too!

  13. I’m really lucky. Since 2012, there have been a lot of awesome YA authors coming through my area. This indie book store, Rainy Day Books, works really, really, really hard to get amazing authors to come. Maggie Stieverfater (that’s not how you spell her last name, I know), Marisha Pessl (adult author), Leigh Bardogh, and Ransom Reggs. A lot of other awesome authors too. Plus, RT was in my area last year :) I hope you get to go! It’s really awesome.

    • Your indie book store sounds awesome! I wish the indie stores here would get a clue and do something like booking more YA authors. I mean, especially if they’re going to be holding events in the afternoon or early evening, they may as well cater to a somewhat younger crowd. Gosh.

      Oh nice, you got to see Marisha Pessl! I’m listening to the audiobook of Night Film right now. I know you know it’s fabulous, because I saw your review on Goodreads. I wish I’d picked it up sooner, and could find time other than commuting to listen to it.

      I probably won’t be going to RT just because it’s difficult to work in with my schedule. I’m also iffy on going to something so huge as my first author event, since I don’t *really* know what to expect. But maybe afterward some smaller events will come around that I can go to!

  14. At least you have the convention…lol ;) I live in probably an even worse place for author events than you do. They have them occasionally at my local Chapters, but it’s only ever for local authors who I have no interest in. For some reason, all the local authors just like to write about ghost stories and such *yawn*.

    If someone who I’ve actually read ever decided to come here, it would be a miracle. New Brunswick just isn’t a hot spot for it.

    The convention does sound fun though! I hope you get to go and enjoy it!

    • I do, but I probably won’t be going to the convention. It’s just so HUGE and there are going to be enormous crowds there, I have to work that day (and will have finals to think about), it’s a pricey ticket for something I don’t know whether I will like or not… that’s just too iffy for me, I think.

      I don’t mind ghost stories, but I’m just not a fan of the stuff local authors here put out. Maybe because I’ve been here for most of my life and I want to hear about other things and cultures outside my own, rather than further entrenching myself in these. I’m really surprised there aren’t more ghost stories coming out of the local authors, to be honest. This city is supposed to be all kinds of haunted, yet I rarely see much said about it beyond the touristy ghost tours.

  15. I’ve only been to one author event and I had to drive 3 hours to get to it. I live in a small town and there are no major booksellers around so we don’t get any kind of authors coming here at all. Like you, I just recently found out about a book fest that is held in KY each year and I’ve decided to go. It’s a little over 4 hours from my house but there are going to bee some great authors there.

    The only thing is that you have to buy any books that you want signed there, you can’t bring any in. I’m not sure if that’s a thing with all convention type things or just something for this particular one.

    Anyways, I hope you have fun at the convention :)

    • Three hours is just way too far! I definitely know what it’s like being in a small town, though. Where I grew up, if I wanted to go to anything even close to a bookstore I had to drive almost an hour. Even then it was just a mini version of one in a mall that sold pretty much just the most popular books (not much of anything I was interested in). Now that I think about it, I think it was even sort of split with a Hallmark so only half the tiny store was books! That’s more odd than I remember it being. :)

      I’m not sure how conventions normally work with the book things either, but I do hope you find an easy way to haul around all your books! Hopefully you’ll have a room nearby or something you can dump them off in and go back for more.

  16. I am also lucky to live in Los Angeles, where it’s only a short drive to many many author events. I pick and choose very carefully, because yes, it does get expensive. We have a free event every April here, the LA Times Festival of Books, where you can wander around the booths and buy what you want, and go to FREE author panels (and I’m talking BIG authors, like Lauren Oliver and Victoria Schwab). You can then wait in line to get your books signed, but you either have to buy the book or bring your own from home.

    But my favorite event is San Diego Comic Con, which, believe it or not, is a HUGE author event. I went for the first time last year and brought home about 50 free ARCs and books, and met tons of authors. But it’s about $200 for the four day event. But if you divide that by the amount of books I got, it’s a pretty good deal. I guess it’s sort of like BEA for science fiction and fantasy geeks.

    So my thinking on author events is choose carefully. Only go to those that you really have an interest in, and support the author by purchasing their book at the event.

    • Oh how nice! It seems like Los Angeles would be full of tons of fun things, even besides author events. So do most of the ones you go to have cover charges? (I’m guessing so since you said it can get expensive, although that could just be from buying books at the events.) The LA Times Festival of Books sounds amazing! Author panels I think are what I’d be most interested in, so it’s great to hear you have some really interesting ones to go to there.

      I went to San Diego once a few years ago and had just missed going when the Comic Con was going to be there. I was bummed! I do have a friend that lives in SD and goes every year but he mostly goes for the comics/game segments, and not so much authors. BEA sounds like fun from what I’ve read on book blogs about it, but hands down if I had to choose I would go with SDCC. (*Huge* SFF fan here. :D)

  17. I can definitely understand why author events wouldn’t exactly be your thing. I think if I were in your position I wouldn’t be into them either. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to attend many author events, and I do really love them. The main reason is because it’s at these events that my whole group of IRL book friends get together. Otherwise, I only see these people individually. Plus, book events are one of the few places where I feel like I belong/fit in (the other place being at concerts). I’m a big city girl living in a not as big city so I always jump for experiences that make me feel understood by the people around me.

    • That’s great you get to go with friends! I think that would make attending any type of event even better. I’m glad to hear so many other people *do* love author events, for various reasons. I just wish New Orleans would get some better suited to my tastes passing through here.

      I completely understand the feeling-at-home aspect. I’ve always wanted to go to a big comic or gaming convention for the same reason, so I can feel at home with tons of other nerds around me. ^_^ Maybe a big book convention wouldn’t be so bad either, as long as I could meet up with book blogging friends there.

  18. Houston has many great indie bookstores and there is always an author event going on. It is just impossible to attend them all so I try to pick and choose and go to the larger ones where there is more going on at once. I think it is awesome that NOLA has the RT convention. I’d love to go to that one day. Heck, I’d love to someday make a trip and visit NOLA. Never been. Gotta fix that.

    • Kelley is forever going to author events there in Houston, it seems, so it does sound like you have some really great indie bookstores! We have some nice indie bookstores here, too, but I wish they’d get more of a clue from some other cities. ;) It’s weird in a way with as much as this city is about mixing cultures, that the book aspect focuses primarily on local and not getting more authors from out of state.

      You really should visit NOLA if you get a chance! It’s lovely here. :)

  19. I’ve never even been on an author event since the closest city to my town where something actually happens is Edmonton, the city of the big silver balls on the side of the highway, and it’s 40 minutes away. And I usually only find out about it when I go to a bookstore which is like once ever two weeks or something crazy like that.

    Fret not, in the summer, I will try to find a job in the city which will give me an excuse to be in bookstores more often and I will scour the city looking for all the exciting events I will find.

    • Oh bummer, but we’re in the same boat about not having gone to any events. I feel like I might actually have to drive all the way to another state to ever get to a fun one!

      Lol I remember you mentioning those giant silver balls in another comment. I’d still love to take a road trip and see wacky things like that someday.

      I hope your city job search goes well and you’re able to frequent bookstores! :)

  20. Wow… $55.00 is a lot of money for not even being able to have a personalized copy or meet the author! RT Booklovers Con sounds AMAZING!

    I actually live in a very good city for author events, Toronto, Ontario. There are so many authors all the time but I have an even stranger problem. I am terrified to go! For a million reasons, I am scared to meet the author, I am scared of being in line and seeing other book bloggers but being too nervous to say hello … I am just a little chicken! Once I put myself out there I really am not like that at all but I am very, very shy at first.

    We have Fan Expo here every year and I DO always go to that with my boyfriend. The first year I met several authors and was very shy but last year I was less quite and had a great time with them! We are having our very first book fair/expo this year and as much as I am nervous, I know I will have to bite the bullet and go because I will absolutely regret it!

    I hope you have so much fun at RT Booklovers <3

    • Yes, it’s definitely a lot of money! Even if I was able to meet the author and get something personalized, that would be too much for me to consider spending. It’d have to be a pretty epic, more-than-one-author event for that kind of cash. The convention does sound like it could be fun, but I probably won’t be going to it.

      Aww that’s such a shame you’re afraid to go! Although I can totally empathize. I don’t like crowds (which is funny since I live in the festival capital of the south and there are ALWAYS crowds here EVERYWHERE) so even small ones can put me off. With the way book bloggers are though, you probably wouldn’t even have to go say hello! They’d get to you first. :) They are quite the friendly bunch, you know. It may make your experience much easier making plans to meet up with someone for an event!

      Yes you should definitely go to the book fair & expo! I’m sure you’ll be nervous at first but once you’re there I bet you will forget all about it.

  21. I actually did the four hour trip from Tuscaloosa to NOLA last month for the Dark Days tour stop in NOLA. There’s almost nothing that happens in Tuscaloosa unless it has to do with an Alabama author, like the author of The Help. Apparently people don’t think we read here, save Neil Gaiman who came here before I started going to college. O_O

    • Oh gosh that drive between here and Tuscaloosa is NO FUN, is it? I had a long-distance relationship for a bit with someone in Alabama, and would drive a couple hours farther than Tuscaloosa every couple of months. There’s just not much to keep interest on that stretch of road and I get sleepy when I travel for long periods of time. o_o

      It sounds like you have the same problem there with mostly having local authors. And I can’t believe I missed the Dark Days tour stop here! I remember hearing about it before the tour started but I think I forgot, because the date and time wouldn’t have been good for me. And I didn’t know any of those authors. (I mean, I’ve heard of them but haven’t read anything by them.) February is a busy time at work so I would have just scraped by getting there on time if I wanted to come home first and get the kitchen smell off of me. :/

      Ohmygoodness did you get to see Neil Gaiman when he was there?

      • I’m glad it was my boyfriend driving, but I had to help keep him awake. It’s just trees and more trees. x___X;; He did enjoy the tour stop even though he hadn’t heard of the authors before, since they gave some background on their books and were really charismatic when answering the questions the moderator gave. It’s unfortunate you couldn’t attend, but I completely understand things being busy, at least on a university level. This month is insane. O___O

        I wish I could have but he came before I attended UA and I’m an out of state student. Apparently the tickets for the event sold out in minutes though. O_O

  22. As far as I know, the author events in my city sound a lot like the ones you describe – local authors writing about local lore, or authors from elsewhere trying to tap in to our local lore and writing from an outsiders perspective. I’ve never once heard about an author I recognize hosting an event here, and there definitely isn’t a convention I’m aware of.

    We do get our own version of ComiCon though (HalCon), which is cool if you’re in to that kind of thing!

  23. Well, I couldn’t go to these events even if I wanted to (yay for living on the other/wrong(?) side of the pond) but well even if I were like living in New York, I still wouldn’t be that interested in them. I guess, I’m fine with “just” having the books and don’t feel like I must meet their authors as well. And really those meets are like what? 30 seconds while they sign my book? No, thank you. (I wouldn’t say no if Stephen King would offer to give me a handshake and a sign though ~.~)

    Btw, I’m just starting Lake Thirteen by Greg Herren and he lives in New Orleans!!

  24. It seems like you won’t be going to the convention.:( Oh well! I’m only going Saturday and it’s $5 since that’s your busiest day I understand not going. Hopefully they start having more things in Louisiana. I sometimes fell left out of all the fun book events.

  25. I don’t think it’s at all odd that you aren’t excited for author events for authors you don’t know! So far, I haven’t chosen to make the time to go to an event for an author I didn’t know because the timing and the locations can be very inconvenient. In order to meet individual authors, I’ve driven 2 or 3 hours (Maggie Stiefvater!) and I’ve driven 2-4 hours for various big book conventions. With the exception of a recent E.O. WIlson lecture, I’ve never had an author I know come to an event any closer than that.

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