Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Sign My Book, Please

By Holly West

Update 4/28: The winner of the copy of BLOOD ALWAYS TELLS is Ray Garraty. Thanks for playing, everyone!

Comment on this post by Sunday, April 27, to win a copy of Hilary Davidson's new novel, BLOOD ALWAYS TELLS.

I made this video four years ago, long before I got published:

I do blather on a bit so I'll save you the trouble of watching it. Basically, it's about attending book signing events and how much meeting my favorite authors in person inspired me to start writing myself.

Last night, I was reminded how much they still inspire me.

I went out to Mysterious Galaxy Redondo Beach, to see Hilary Davidson speak about and read from her latest novel, BLOOD ALWAYS TELLS. I'm a big fan of Hilary's Lily Moore series, and as soon as I heard about BLOOD, I knew it would go to the top of my reading list as soon as it came out (that is, if I ever finish THE GOLDFINCH. I'm on month three reading that one, folks).

Since I just got it last night, I can't provide a review, but here's the book description:

"Dominique Monaghan just wanted to get even with her two-timing, married boyfriend, a washed-up boxer stuck in a toxic marriage to a dangerously spoiled socialite. However, an elaborate blackmail scheme soon lands her in the middle of an unexpected kidnapping...and attempted murder. But who is actually out to kill whom?
Desmond Edgars, Dominique’s big brother, has looked out for his wayward sister ever since their mother was convicted of murder many years ago, so when he receives a frantic phone call from Dominique in the middle of the night, he drops everything to rush to the rescue. But to find out what has really happened to his sister, the stoic ex-military man must navigate a tangled web of murder and deception, involving a family fortune, a couple of shifty lawyers, and a missing child, while wrestling with his own bloody secrets..."

Sounds good, eh? To be honest, in Hilary's deft hands, it can't help but be good.

Hilary Davidson reads from BLOOD ALWAYS TELLS at Mysterious Galaxy Redondo Beach
Photo by Holly West

Sitting in the audience, listening to Hilary discuss the origins of the book, the themes she explores in it, and how she goes about writing a book, I felt energized. It re-ignited my passion for what I do. It made me want to go straight home and finish plotting my own work-in-progress.

I make no secret of the fact that 99% of the books I read are eBooks. It's not that I prefer eBooks over paper, it's that I mostly read at night, and my eReader allows me to read in bed with out disturbing my husband. If I was single, I might very well read more paper books, who knows?

As a result of my eBook reading, I naturally buy fewer paper books and I also go to fewer book signing events. I still meet many authors at conferences, but it's just not the same as seeing them individually, talking about and reading from their books. Since MISTRESS OF FORTUNE and its sequel are both eBooks, I realize that I've missed out on having this experience myself and to tell you the truth, it makes me a little bit sad.

Hilary Davidson and Holly West
Photo by Travis Richardson
The fact is, before I was published, attending book signing events was an important part of my development as a writer. They fueled my dreams and motivated me to keep on going. Meeting people who'd done it reminded me that it could be done, even if the goal of finishing my own novel seemed very far away at the time.

Now, as a published author, they function in much the same way. The authors I respect most continue to grow as writers and don't sit back and rest once they've achieved one level of success. They push themselves and remind me that I need to push myself. It's not about competition, it's about steady improvement, figuring out where I want to go with my writing and then working to get there. It's about supporting my favorite authors and the bookstores that host them.

And most of all, it's about reading great books. Ultimately, it's always about the books, which is how it should be.

Speaking of great books, let's have a giveaway! I'll send a signed copy of BLOOD ALWAYS TELLS to one commenter selected at random on Sunday, April 27.


Kristopher said...

I completely agree Holly. There is just something so invigorating and inspiring when you are able to go hear an author speak about their work.

I do keep a more than healthy supply of signed hardcovers around me, but like you, e-books have continued to dominate my reading more and more.

And I have to say, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the original Mysterious Galaxy location (in San Diego) and can't wait to visit the new store when I am in town for Bouchercon.

Dale T. Phillips said...

Agreed- I only buy the hardcover if the author is there to sign it. Otherwise ebook, discount book, or library copy.
It is a thrill for me to sign my books for people, and make that connection. At Bouchercon, I actually signed an e-reader device!

Bryon Quertermous said...

I still think there's a place for in-person events for ebooks for all of the reasons you mentioned. It just needs a bit of rethinking.

I think events like Noir at the Bar are great for those who are digitally published. Also, when you go to Bouchercon this year you'll have a signing line like the authors you've admired. you can use the software to sign ebooks or you can sign some other physical object.

But the signature isn't what you're after, it's the author interaction and that's still possible.

Sabrina E. Ogden said...


Josh said...

The chance to hear the author's work in their own voice. It's just a small window into their interpretation of the book. Having something signed is icing on the cake. :)

I love getting insight into an author's process. (And there's always a chance there's something in there that would work for me as I go forward on my WIP.)

Kristi said...

Bryon is right. We still have that opportunity. (Honestly, during the two readings I have done so far - one was noir at the bar -- nobody really bought books anyway.) It was more about interacting with readers. Bryon, we will have a signing line at Bouchercon? Cool. I want to sit with you and Holly for sure!
Great post, Holly!

Ray Garraty said...

I've never been on a book signing, because there aren't any in the area where I live. All my signed books I got directly from the author or bought from eBay.

Kim said...

It's so true, Holly - there is something about signings and meeting readers in person and connecting in that way that is unique to the experience of publishing a novel. I treasure every interaction I've had with readers. And, like you, I am still in awe of my favorite writers - it truly was inspirational to listen to Hilary the other night.

As for the copy of her book, I already have one, so please exclude me from the drawing :)