Vanity Event – This was a term I had not heard of or read until this year. More than one blog author had brought up the term. And as I tried to go back and find the original blogger where I read it, I could not find it. As I pondered the various times that I had observed other author’s signing events in the past, it was a reminder that many were not national celebrities. At my local Barnes and Noble there was the occasional line out the door and around the block for a crime witness’s nonfiction book. That book and author had national network interviews on the morning shows. And there were other book signing tours that were advertised by other nationally known writers. Some of those were also nonfiction political or history works from retired news anchors.
From my own experience, in 2005, I assumed it was the thing to do. I had to arrange things myself and had several signing events. The first three were all in independent bookstores. Borders would not do one because of my publisher. Barnes did, the local one and two other Barnes & Noble stores had arranged events, the furthest one ninety minutes north of our area. Another Barnes two hours to the south would not give me an event.
I had a layover in DFW airport in 2007. There was a gentleman there with a table of his books setup in front of one of the book shops. There was nobody stopping to talk with him or buy his signed book as he stood there watching travelers walk by. I knew what that felt like. At many of my events, I had set up my table and book cover posters, and my own events at air museums, Civil War reenactments, or other meetings. Some of the passersby avoided me like the plague. Once at a Barnes, across the way from my table was the island of books with the sign over the top which read “New Fiction.” There were fifty hardbound titles in neat stacks. I did not recognize any author of those books. Nobody was stopping to pick any of those books up either. It was a revelation. What was I doing there? I must have been out of my mind.
Blogger Wendy Lawton at http://www.booksandsuch.biz/blog/i-dont-get-it/ brings all this up in questioning why publishers don’t market a certain way. She compares the marketing value of “friend events” to more worthwhile marketing exposure. The blog replies and discussion that follow her original post are worth reading.
Timothy J. Desmond
Tim’s Amazon author page at: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00694KQQO
Blog at: https://timdesmondblog.wordpress.com
Writing site at: http://timsfiction-art.com
Art site at: http://artbydesmond.com