Imagine a room full of people who love books like you do. You get to effuse about books you love, meet the people who write books you love, find out how books you love come to be, and find out about more books you might love! This is what reader events are for me.
I started reading primarily romance in 2014, after I got my first Kindle. My first reader event was 2015’s North Shore Author Signing (now Talkbooks Boston). I had 3 books by 1 author. Got to the event, spoke to the author, had my books signed, walked around the room once and left. It was overwhelming for this baby romance reader. 5 years later, I’d consider myself a semi-professional book event attendee.Choosing which events to attend comes down to these factors for me. In order:
- Which authors are attending?
The more authors I’ve read & have physical books of, the more likely I am to go. If there’s a Unicorn Author (An author who doesn’t do many events), that might tip the scale.
- What kind of event is it?
- Reader Cons: includes panels or non-signing sessions. Booklovers Con, KissCon, Apollycon, GenreCon.
Time: 1-3 days
Ticket Cost: $30-$400
These are my favourite: I enjoy hearing authors talk about their craft & their experiences. This is also where I’ve made the most friendships with non-local readers and the only type of events where readers sometimes get free books, whereas most Authors signings don’t.
- Multi-Author signings: local ones for me, Talkbooks Boston, Big Apple, COPA Author Event, NECRWA Literacy Signing. You have 10-100 authors at these, mostly annual events, usually indie/hybrid authors. You can pick up all the author swag you want, definitely a good place to get more chapstick & bookmarks.
Time: ½ -1 day
Ticket Cost: Free - $40
- Author events: Authors on a book tour, often traditionally published.
Themed events, like Independent Bookstore day or Romance Bookstore Day.
Time: 1 hour.
Cost: Often free, might be ticketed. Sign up for your local indie bookstores’ newsletter!
- Do I have physical books for those authors to sign? I’m 75% an e-reader, but susceptible to a pretty cover & supporting authors with my dollars.
As an introvert, my main “reward” for attending isn’t to say I’ve met an author, I need something tangible from the encounter.
- Can I get there? I’m car-less and based in Boston so New York can be an option for a 1 day event via Amtrak, further means an overnight stay.
- Lesser criteria: Is it worth the money? Ticket, Travel costs etc.
Will I see on-line friends there; Bloggers, Social Media friends etc.
Did I enjoy it last time I went?
So for example, Sept 2018 I went to Authors in the City in NYC NYC is always a fun place to visit for a weekend even by yourself. It’s not too pricey to get there, the only downside is Hotel Prices. If I’d shared with a stranger (some cons have FB groups where you can arrange roommates) it would have cost less, but this Introvert wasn’t up for that.
Alessandra Torre was there, she doesn’t do many signings and is a Unicorn Author for me. I had 4 books of hers to sign. There were at least 5-6 other authors there whose books I wanted to get signed
Cost $20 ticket + $50 bus to NYC, $450 Hotel. Time: Fri-Sun
Pic of me & Alessandra Torre.
On the flipside I didn’t go to Talkbooks Boston 2019 which is about 15 miles away, as there wasn’t anyone new I had books I want to get signed. Time ~2hrs, Cost $20 ticket + $35 zicar So Just because its cheaper and nearer, doesn’t mean I’m more likely to attend.
In an average year I get to 5-8 events which are a mix of the above.
Don’t forget your local bookclubs: Meet your local fellow romance readers, they’re mostly awesome.
Time: 1-2 hours a month + the time to read the book if one is designated.
Cost: Can be FREE! Get the book from the Library.
My local one meets in Cambridge, MA at Porter Square books, the 2nd Sunday in each month. Find us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2164667536897974/