#REVIEW: 5 Critical Things for Successful Book Signings, by Adam Dreece

Calling this a “review” might be overstating the case a little bit, I dunno. Think of it more as a public service announcement for those of you who are authors who do book signings:

Pick this book up, and read it, (it’s only about 130 pages, so it won’t take terribly long) and internalize its teachings. The meat of the book is right there in the title, so there’s not a whole lot of need to go into details about what the book covers; just be aware that Adam is really good at this sort of thing and the advice in the book is spot-on.

Necessary disclosures: I got to see an early ARC and provided a blurb for the back cover and the Amazon description, and even before then I’d been stealing ideas from Adam since my first show at InConJunction several years ago. That said, he rejected my first blurb– which is fine, as I suspected he was going to, and provided him with the one he actually used a few minutes later. That said, since this is my blog, and not his book, here’s the first blurb I tried to get him to use:

“This book gives you all the advantages of Adam Dreece’s knowledge and experience without the mess and effort of hunting him down and consuming his brain and living soul. Highly recommended.”
—Luther M. Siler, author of THE BENEVOLENCE ARCHIVES

Can’t imagine why he didn’t use it.

Anyway, if you’re an author, this will be money well spent. And you can even write it off on your taxes! So everybody wins.

In which I have a word with all my favorite authors

Pictured: my unread shelf. Not pictured: the three more books I just ordered.

Dear authors I like: please stop writing so many books. I do not have time for all of them, and my unread shelf, which is full of riches, is starting to frighten me. There are three different authors I have more than one book from on that shelf. I just ordered another Seanan McGuire book, meaning there are about to be three by her. Kameron Hurley has a book coming out next week. And there is a third book in that order, an order I just placed perhaps an hour ago, and I don’t remember what it was.

(Oh, right! G. Willow Wilson, an author I’ve come to associate mostly with comic books, just released her second novel. That was it.)

I am currently reading The Phoenix Empress, the sequel to The Tiger’s Daughter, a book I read in January and liked a hell of a lot. For some reason it has taken several days to read, which is not a reflection on its quality, just on my lack of time to read in the last couple of days. I am about 180 pages away from the end, and as soon as I finish this post I’m going to pick it up and I’m not putting it down again until I am done with it. Because look at my damn unread shelf. It’s out of control, and more books are coming. I can’t stop buying books, because I have a sickness, and I’m pretty sure I really can’t read any faster, so the only solution is that y’all are going to have to stop writing so many books. I know y’all depend on this for your livelihood, but I’m told that things like eliminating Starbucks can lead to financial success, so maybe that will work for you. Or perhaps find a way for me to not find out about your books– which might be difficult, because I’m following all of you on Twitter.

(The Phoenix Empress is probably not going to get a full review. I am enjoying it but it’s not quite as amazing as The Tiger’s Daughter was. That said, a large part of my love for Tiger’s Daughter is related to how amazingly well it stuck the ending, so we’ll see how the last couple hundred pages go tonight.)

And then I will pick one of those books from the pile before I go to bed, and I will hope to be halfway done with it before I sleep. Because, my God, I have to winnow that mess down somehow. Tell me what I’m reading next in comments. I want to read them all next, which I’m pretty sure isn’t possible.

In which I read locally

It’s kinda always the same booth picture, at this point; only the number of books I have on display changes.  I decided not to bring Searching for Malumba with me for this one, because despite the fact that every kid mentioned in the book is college-aged now (and I don’t use anyone’s real name) I still feel like keeping it from spreading too far out in the town I live and work in isn’t necessarily a bad thing.   And I sold more than enough books to make a nice little profit on 3 hours of sitting in my free booth.

I can stand to do more free author events, frankly.

 An interesting fact: after a couple of years of doing sci-fi and comic book cons, my last two events have both been specifically author events, and at both of them I’ve had more titles available than anyone in the room.  It was especially apparent at this one– there was no one else there who I saw who had more than three, and most people there had only one or two books. The really weird part to me was the number of people who, upon being told that my first book came out in 2014, expressed surprise at how I’d been able to write so fast as to have all those books out already.

And it’s like, damn, folks, I am slow.  I regularly go weeks without writing a word of fiction, because for whatever reason shit has to be straight in my head before it gets set down on paper.  How long have I been saying that the Skylights sequel is my next book, for God’s sake?  Hell, how many entire other books have I written while telling people that the Skylights sequel was next?  And yet I’m sitting there with twice as many books in front of me as anyone in the room, and I’m visibly one of the younger authors there, too.

Things I need to do before my next show:  I need some sort of thick cardstock-printed price placards to put in each of the front-facing books, preferably with some sort of “Like Lovecraft?  You’ll love Balremesh!” or “Like Scalzi? You’ll love Skylights!” text on them.  I also need a new banner or two, preferably something that folds down into its own stand, because my Skylights banner is starting to lean in a way that I don’t understand and can’t fix.   And my front-of-table banner (not used at this show) can probably stand to be updated, too.  No one knows what Prostetnic Publications is anyway so I need something other than just the logo.  I’m gonna have a lot to do over winter break, I think.  

I’ve got some time to worry about it, because right now I’m not signed up for anything else until next summer.  I tried to get into ConFusion, which is in January in Detroit, which was a communication clusterfuck so bad that by the time they told me I hadn’t passed the jury stage of things I didn’t even want to go any longer, and I found out about the Northwest Indiana Comic-Con, which is a one-day thing in February, but they were closed by the time I got to them too.  So if you hear about anything in the next couple of months, let me know, ‘k?  I don’t wanna wait six months until my next show.  


I’ve picked up three new Patrons over the last week or so, and just added a $100 goal to the site.  I’m getting close enough to the $50/month target that I can sorta see it from where we are, so I feel like a little more pushing and we might hit that, especially since I seem to be on a bit of a roll lately.  Remember, anyone pledging more than $2/month gets a new novel immediately, and I’m adding new content all the time– I’ve been working on a new short story over there, The Caretaker, that I ought to be finishing this weekend sometime.  It’s becoming a better deal all the time!  Join us!

In which I appear

Sorry for the super last-minute notice (because I know y’all work your weekend schedules around what I’m doing), because I just found out about this event yesterday and they managed to fit me in anyway, but:  

I will be at the Read Local Author Fair at the main branch of the St. Joseph County Public Library THIS SATURDAY, from 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM.  I’ll have all of my books with me except for Searching for Malumba.  It’s a quick event, free to the public– as far as I know, you don’t even have to have a library card– and featuring a couple dozen other local authors in addition to me!  

(In fact, I got added so late, my name’s not even on the list.  I promise I’ll be there, though.)

If you are nearby you are commanded to come.  If you aren’t you are also commanded to come.  So I’ll see ALL OF YOU there, right?  

In which @amazonhelp continues to be stunningly incompetent

I know, typically three posts in a day is a bit on the excessive side.  But this is going to get worse tomorrow, and there will probably be another post about it tomorrow, so I need to get this one out of the way.

A moment to provide you with context, for those of you who aren’t obsessive readers:  I tried to order books, on October 27th, for an author event I had on November 11th.  It was initially a bit of a risk to get them here on time, so on Friday the 2nd I upgraded my shipping to two-day, which guaranteed them to arrive on the 7th, a Wednesday.  Then things began to go wrong: 

You may recall that I wrote the following, earlier today: 

Amazon update: I got a notification from them on Friday that they had shipped me … wait for it … one book out of the 28 or 29 that I ordered.  It is supposed to arrive today.  The cover will be on upside-down, inside-out, and no doubt on the wrong book altogether. 

Welp.  I got a buzz on my phone that my package had been delivered about an hour ago, and ran outside to collect it from the mailbox.  I showed the package to my wife.  “Wanna take any bets on whether this makes me happy?” I asked.

“No,” she said.

And I opened the package:

So.  This is the one mystery copy of Searching for Malumba that, for no clear reason, Amazon has sent by itself.  I am, remember, ordering these books at author cost (I charge about $15 for SfM, and the cost to me is just over $6) so that I can sell them to people at conventions.

This book is already borderline unsalable, just because of the cover.  If it were for me, I’d be kinda pissed, but I’d probably not do anything about it, because books are made of paper and shit happens.  This isn’t for me.  It’s for someone else.  So we are already sending this book back.  

(Brief sidenote: another one of the fun stupidities of the new editor?  If I try to write something in italics, it tends to erase spaces for no clear reason.)

So.  Yeah.  This is already going back.  But what the hell– let’s look through and see what else is wrong.  Because there’s no way that there’s just one thing wrong, right?  There’s gonna be a printing error or something in this motherfucker somewhere.  

And then I find out why Amazon sent me one copy by itself, before sending me the rest of my print-on-demand author copy books:

You motherfuckers.

I was wrong about one thing: there was apparently one copy of a Luther Siler book out there somewhere at a secondhand bookstore.  And, to be clear, I’m not mad at “Taelor,” whoever that is.  I vaguely remember being proud of myself that I remembered to ask how to spell his name.  I don’t remember what con or how long ago it was that I sold him this book.  Maybe he didn’t like the book, maybe he isn’t the type to hold onto books after he reads them, maybe he just moved or came up short on cash or whatever.  Taelor and I are cool.  He can do whatever he wants with my books after he buys them.

But, uh, Amazon?

I bought this book from you.  I sold it at a convention.  That person sold it to a second-hand bookstore.  I paid Amazon again, much later on, in a different transaction, for additional new copies of this book.  

And y’all thought it was okay to send me, not only a used book, not only a damaged used book, but one with my own motherfucking signature already in it?

I am an author and I literally don’t have the words for how fucking angry I am right now.   

I’m not gonna bother calling or emailing their fucking useless helpdesk motherfuckers just yet.  Because I supposedly have another box coming tomorrow, with the other goddamn 20-some-odd books, and there is absolutely no Goddamn way that I believe there’s even a single chance of them getting that order right.  The @ in the post title will ensure that someone sees this and lies to me some more.  But we are about to have a motherfucking reckoning about this shit, and when we do, I’d better be talking to a motherfucker who speaks English because they are in America and said motherfucker had better know what the fuck KDP is. 

Fucking assholes.