Bookstore Signing Etiquette (U.S.)

So, you’ve never been to a book signing? What does one do at this mystical confluence of authorly awkwardness and fannish squee? Take my hand, young padawan, and I will explain the ways of the book signing to you:

Time: About 2 hours

Cost: 1 hardcover ($25 or less)

Dress: Casual, I’m from the West Coast, man.

What you get: To hear an unreleased chapter available nowhere else, to get your books signed, to see my bright happy face, and at least 87 xp toward your next Geek level.

You come in to your local bookstore as normal, and you’ll be able to find some area cleared and with chairs in front of a podium. Grab the podium and throw it to the ground, shouting, “Brent’s books are crap! Don’t buy them!” Okay, don’t do that, except maybe at the first signing. I could use the publicity. Go take a seat. I usually start right on time–okay, I start about two to five minutes late in case stragglers are wandering in, but don’t tell them that! (We all know they’ll just be five minutes later.)

Sometimes a representative from the bookstore might introduce me. Pity them. It’s their job to find nice things to say about me. Then I’ll take the podium. I’ll read a chapter–right now I plan to read a chapter from The Blood Mirror (Lightbringer 3). Don’t worry about spoilers if you haven’t read or finished Lightbringer 1 or 2, I picked a chapter that will make sense to everyone. The reading will take about 15-17 minutes. Then I’ll answer questions. This part can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 30ish minutes, depending on… well, you. I won’t give away future plots, but most other questions are cool. You just raise your hand like in class, and when I call on you, ask your question. If you aren’t loud enough for everyone to hear, I’ll try to repeat you. (So the 5 minute long question/comment/discursive essays? Not so good.)

Then we get to the signing part. Every book store does this a bit differently, which is why I have the guidelines below. However, you can know that I’ll stay until I’ve signed something for everyone. (And in most cases, everything for everyone, but that depends on place and time and crowd size.)

Because I try to chat with each fan–at least to say hi!–and personalize the experience, you can expect the total event to run around 2 hours. If it’s big, it might be 3–though I’ll try to move things along, I promise! Do chat with people in line; they can often guide you to other books that you’ll like if you like mine. My wife will also be there, and she’s far more fun to talk to than me, anyway. If you show up early and get in the front of the line, you might be out in an hour from when I first start talking. Some stores will hand out post-it notes for you to put your name on, so I don’t have to ask twelve times how to spell, “Kajol Mukherjee.”

Last, a word about where you buy my book. I know you can often save money by buying online, and for some of you, you just can’t afford the difference. I understand. Please be aware that if everyone buys the book online, these events become a horrible deal for the hosting bookstore–although they do get to see my smiling face, and that’s gotta be worth something, right? Because the practice of buying elsewhere has become such a problem, at a couple of stops, the store requires you to buy The Blinding Knife there (Check below to see if that’s the case at your store). I know other stores are close to asking the same: they have to spend money coordinating these events, ordering extra books, and keeping staff late. So even if it isn’t required, if you can, please pick up my book from these stores so the event is a success–and therefore they ask me back! You can pre-order, pick it up on release day, read the whole thing before I arrive, and just keep your receipt, and in some cases that will even put you in front of the line.

You can click the links to go to the Facebook events pages for each event, featuring maps, the bookstores’ FB pages, etc.

(Oh, and I’ll also sign ebooks through a handy new way I figured out, but that’ll be its own post.)

Powell’s at Cedar Hill Crossing, Beaverton (near Portland), OR
Tuesday, September 11 at 7pm:
Ticket required to participate in signing? No.
Must purchase a book at host bookstore to get book signed? No.
Can bring books from other stores to be signed? Yes.
Limit to books Brent will sign? No.

University Bookstore, Seattle, WA
Wednesday, September 12 at 7pm:
Ticket required to participate in signing? No.
Must purchase a book at host bookstore to get book signedNo.
Can bring books from other stores to be signed? Yes.
Limit to books Brent will sign? Yes.

Borderlands, San Francisco, CA
Thursday, September 13 at 7pm:
Ticket required to participate in signing? No.
Must purchase a book at host bookstore to get book signedNo.
Can bring books from other stores to be signed? Yes.
Limit to books Brent will sign? No.

Tattered Cover, Denver, CO
Friday, September 14 at 7:30pm:
Ticket required to participate in signing? No.
Must purchase a book at host bookstore to get book signedNo.
Can bring books from other stores to be signed? Yes.
Limit to books Brent will sign? No.

Mysterious Galaxy, San Diego, CA
Saturday, September 15 at 2pm:
Ticket required to participate in signing? No.
Must purchase a book at host bookstore to get book signedNo.
Can bring books from other stores to be signed? Yes.
Limit to books Brent will sign? No.

Barnes & Noble, Santa Monica, CA
Sunday, September 16 at 2pm:
Ticket required to participate in signing? No.
Must purchase a book at host bookstore to get book signedNo.
Can bring books from other stores to be signed? Yes.
Limit to books Brent will sign? No.
Other: If you bring a book purchased prior to the event, please bring a receipt. Santa Monica B&N requires receipts be shown to prevent theft.

BookPeople, Austin, TX
Monday, September 17 at 7pm:
Ticket required to participate in signing? No.
Must purchase a book at host bookstore to get book signedA copy of the event book must be purchased from BookPeople.
Can bring books from other stores, besides the purchased book, to be signed? Yes.
Limit to books Brent will sign? No.
Other: If you purchase your book from BookPeople in advance of the event, please save your receipt and present it at the event. You can also purchase a book over the phone, and BookPeople will get the book signed and set aside specifically for you. You can also purchase the book online and write “SIGNED BOOK” in the comments field upon checkout. This service is free of charge and available for most of their events.

A Real Bookstore, Fairview (near Dallas), TX
Tuesday, September 18 at 7pm:
Ticket required to participate in signing? No.
Must purchase a book at host bookstore to get book signedYes. A copy of the event book (The Blinding Knife) must be purchased from A Real Bookstore.
Can bring books from other stores, besides the purchased book, to be signed? Yes.
Limit to books Brent will sign? No.
Other: If you have purchased a copy of the event book at A Real Bookstore, Brent will sign any of his previous titles for you. Retain receipts for books purchased in advance of the signing. If you’d like to have a signed copy but are unable to attend a book signing, A Real Bookstore will have books signed for you. Please make online purchases of books to-be-signed at least 48 hours in advance of the event. To get a signed book 48 hours or less to the event, please call the store at 972-398-9888.

Barnes & Noble, Orlando, FL
Wednesday, September 19 at 7pm:
Ticket required to participate in signing? No, unless there are more than 200 attendees, in which case Barnes & Noble will provide wrist bands.
Must purchase a book at host bookstore to get book signedNo.
Can bring books from other stores, besides the purchased book, to be signed? Yes.
Limit to books Brent will sign? No.
Other: As they are hosting this event, Barnes & Noble encourages purchases from Barnes & Noble stores in area — they have over 7 locations in greater Orlando.

Barnes & Noble, Atlanta, GA
Thursday, September 20 at 7pm:
Ticket required to participate in signing? Yes.
Must purchase a book at host bookstore to get book signedTo obtain a pass to the event, please purchase at least one copy of The Blinding Knife from Barnes & Noble in Buckhead (where the signing is taking place).
Can bring books from other stores to be signed? Yes. Barnes & Noble will also have Brent’s previous titles available at the store for purchase.
Limit to books Brent will sign? No.
Other: Priority seating/signing will be given to customers who purchase The Blinding Knife from Barnes & Noble Buckhead. They will be handing out color coded passes. Each group is called by the pass color to the signing area. Passes to the event will be given out at the register with purchase, beginning 5:00 pm the day of the event. Customers with Brent’s previous titles may be asked to wait until the end of the signing.

Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC
Friday, September 21 at 7pm:
Ticket required to participate in signing? No.
Must purchase a book at host bookstore to get book signed? Yes.
Can bring books from other stores, besides the purchased book, to be signed? Yes.
Limit to books Brent will sign? No.
Other: To be in the signing line, you need to have purchased at least one of the books at Flyleaf. Signing is first come, first served. If someone has a lot of books not purchased with Flyleaf, they can have the Flyleaf book signed, then they need to go to the back of the line so others can get their books signed. If someone buys all the books from Flyleaf, they can have them signed all at once.
Also, if you find parking at the store limited, there is more parking across MLK Blvd in the UNC parking lot. There is a crosswalk at the light.

Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH
Saturday, September 22 at 7pm:
Ticket required to participate in signing? Yes. They are free and available with purchase of The Blinding Knife.
Must purchase a book at host bookstore to get book signedYes.
Can bring books from other stores, besides the purchased book, to be signed? Yes.
Limit to books Brent will sign? No.
Other: Gives Back Members will be first in the signing line.

44 thoughts on “Bookstore Signing Etiquette (U.S.)

  1. Steff says:

    Thanks for the information! Are there any guidelines for your UK signings? =)

    1. brent says:

      Once that list is solidified, I’ll do my best to get one up for them. 🙂

  2. Shane says:

    Ahh no Virginia again. One of these days it’ll work out and we’ll grab that beer.

  3. Andy Badeaux says:

    87 xp for two hours is a complete rip-off.

    1. brent says:

      That’s the baseline. You get extra xp for good role play, fawning over the author (Diplomacy DC 10), and acceptable personal hygiene.

    2. mundanename says:

      Just be glad he remembers to reward any at all. Some GMs can go multiple sessions any forget to hand out a single point.

  4. Adam Holliday says:

    You are going from California to Texas, how about an impromptu (yet posted in advance) pit stop in Phoenix? We would love you to stop by and sweat with us for a few!

    1. Manuel Felix says:

      I agree Adam. Mr. Weeks make a stop in Phoenix? Then you too can enjoy the heat…

  5. Troy Knutson says:

    Please come to Memphis!

    We await your positive response…

    Take care,
    Troy

  6. RuthAnn says:

    Woot! See you in Atlanta!

  7. BeccaG says:

    San Francisco attendees should get xp for braving the commute, and a bonus on top of that for finding parking.

    Though I suppose there’s always good ole BARTimus.

    1. brent says:

      I’ll give you a potion of Luck +3 for parking–or for double parking and not getting caught. 😉

  8. mat says:

    hey brent why you skipping over utah! Dont be Hate’n! i promise we dont bite!… usually.. =)

    1. Ninjes says:

      Agreed. And if any genuinely frightening folks pop out, you wave the coffee in your hand in their general direction and they just walk away! Seriously though, most everyone here is lovely and we’d love to have you.

      Cheers!
      Jess

  9. Austin Woodson says:

    On your way from Atlanta to Chapel Hill you should definitely try to stop somewhere in the region of Asheville and Hendersonville! Hopefully you can.

    1. brent says:

      I afraid my days are totally packed. Get up, pack, get on a plane, find the hotel, get checked in, get some food, go to the signing, go back to hotel, collapse, rinse and repeat. In some cities I may do drop-in signings where I go by the bookstore and sign whatever stock they have in, but we simply don’t have time for other formal signings.

  10. A-drain says:

    Do you sign babies if they are tattooed with the book cover?

    1. brent says:

      I travel with a tattoo pen for just such occasions. 😉

      1. Marcy says:

        Awesome! Then you’ll surely travel with a pen which will show up well on a faded black Kindle cover. Oddly enough, the four times I’ve had it signed, the only ink which did not do well over time was ink from an archival pen borrowed from a friend. Maybe archival on normal surfaces…

        I’ll probably buy something from the store; for your reasons above, because I used to work at one, and because Mysterious Galaxy is awesome; but I really want the Kindle copy. Because LOTS of highlighting. I don’t write in paper books.

        Plus, collecting author autographs on my Kindle cover is fun, and gives me something to talk about with said authors (except the first one) when I’m afraid I’m going to start drooling and stammering with all the “fannish squee.”

  11. Archtus says:

    Maybe I’ll be able to catch you in Denver, Dallas, or Chapel Hill. I’ll have to try for Denver. Parking lots tend to be large enough for my truck there.

  12. Tori says:

    Gah! I saw the book signing and was like, yesss, I get to meet Brent Weeks! And then I read the places. I’m in Jersey and none of those are really close to where I am. =/

  13. Isabelle says:

    Will you sign three books, two photos and a ukulele?

    1. brent says:

      Um… yes? (Though depending on bookstore and crowd, you may have to go through the line twice. Bookstores decide that, not me.) A ukulele?

  14. Navin says:

    Please Please PLEASE come to Toronto Brent! I know a lot of people who are fans of your books. I would really love the opportunity to meet the man behind my many sleepless nights reading both the Night Angel Trilogy and The Black Prism.

  15. Dan says:

    I’m not gonna beg for you to do a trip to Australia (though that would be awesome). However, thank you for your transcendent literature and I greatly anticipate this next installment. Enjoy your travels.

  16. Aurora says:

    Any way we can convince you to spend more sleepless night to come visit the Northeast more? 😀 (I go to school in NH, but do go home to RI, so anything around RI is cool for me, NH it’s a bit tougher, since I’d have to find a way to get there!) 😉

    And thanks for the amazing books! I feel like all of my questions would be about how things look, lol.

    1. brent says:

      Sadly, immediately after finishing my US leg, I get on a plane and go to the UK, so there’s literally no time for an extra stop. But thanks for wanting me to stop in!

      1. Aurora says:

        Aw, darn! Next time, then! I wish you all the best, and enjoyable flights and no obnoxious seat mates!

  17. hanna park says:

    Will you come by Illinois? I’m from UIUC and I’m a big fan but I don’t think I’ve seen you in Illinois. If you have you probably went near the border of Missouri or Wisconsin. Will you come to Illinois for a booksigning? I so want to have one!!!!

    1. brent says:

      Sorry, ditto to what I said to Aurora and Austin above. 🙁

  18. Fuu says:

    One day… you will come to New Zealand. We are a small island nation, occasionally mistaken for an outcrop of Australia – sometimes by Australians themselves – but we, like any literate nation, have a population of fans that want to meet their favourite author.

    One day….

  19. Øystein Røysland Sørlie says:

    Will you come to Norway? Now, or in the future?

  20. Cathy says:

    You’re coming to Seattle! SQUEEEEE!!! 😀 Can’t wait.

  21. Kari says:

    No New Hampshire 🙁 Or any North Eastern states… (rolls d20 for persuasion check)

    1. brent says:

      Sadly, though I can be persuaded, for this tour my bosses cannot. 🙁 Maybe next time.

  22. nrlymrtl says:

    No New Mexico stop over? Truly, you don’t need a passport or international vaccines. All we got here is bubonic plague, hanta virus, and nuclear waste. You’d be perfectly safe and cozy.

  23. Kevin says:

    Brent,
    Any chance for a signing in new England Preferable NH or Mass. If not I will deffenetly make arrangements to travel down to NC! For all my fellow NHers if he cannot come any closer I propose a road trip!!!!

    Brent you Rock btw!!!!

  24. Alex says:

    Come on man! Come out east! I’ve checked the events page every week for months hoping to meet my favorite author and he’s not even coming within like a thousand miles! I call shenanigans!

  25. Carl says:

    No NY?! 🙁 looks like I must gather my party before venturing forth to NC or OH

  26. Daniel says:

    I will be leaving Florida to come home to Tennessee on the 20th.
    With any luck i may talk the wife into stopping in Atlanta.
    Should be easy considering we will have our 2 year old Kylar with us haha.

    Thanks and i hope to see you there.

  27. Brandon says:

    Brent I know you are just going to say the same thing you’ve been saying to all us Northeast people, but i live in MA and would love it if you could come this way for a signing sometime! I’m Hopefully that the powers that be will see all of us from the Northeast on here and send you our way at some point in the near future!

    But in the meantime, is there another way to get a signed book from you, that is without having to hop a plane and track you down ( sorry not in the budget!)?

  28. Darlene says:

    One day, Mr. Weeks, can you please please PLEASE come to New York? That would be awesome.

  29. sean says:

    Will you please think about coming to new Jersey?????????

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