Yesterday, I had a booksigning for MR. MONK AND THE TWO ASSISTANTS and DIAGNOSIS MURDER: THE LAST WORD at Mysteries to Die For in Thousand Oaks. It was the first formal signing I have done in eight months and I had a great time. The crowd was big and enthusiastic and there was a lot of laughter. I’m looking forward to my signing next Saturday at the Mystery Book Store in Westwood. But those are the only signings I have set up and I am not rushing to schedule any more.
In a way, it was probably a good thing that I took an unintentional signing hiatus, thanks to my travel committements overseas for FAST TRACK. Since about 2003, I’ve had about four new books out a year and I was doing a LOT of booksignings. I was signing too much…the events were becoming less special for me and for readers.
I also took an unplanned year off from conventions, missing Bouchercon, Thrillerfest, Left Coast Crime and Men of Mystery (I’m also missing Bouchercon next month), even though I had new books out to promote. I think that turned out to be a good thing for me, since you can become such a familiar face and frequent participant on panels that it diminishes the impact you have…it actually becomes counter-productive. There are some authors who are at every convention and do the same panels over and over and over…to the point that most readers probably know their advice and anecdotes by heart. I don’t want to become one of those authors ("Oh God, not Lee again. Do we have to hear that Ian Ludlow story for the 112th time?"), though I fear that I already have.
For another thing, a big signing schedule and a lot of convention travel just isn’t cost-effective for me. It might be on a stand-alone original novel, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense with the lower royalty percentages I get on my tie-in work. And with all the international travel I have been doing lately for my TV work, I’m not eager to jump on a plane again to attend a convention as soon as I get home.
The next convention that I will definitely be attending, and am eagerly looking forward to, is Left Coast Crime 2009 in Hawaii…but I don’t know if I will be attending any before that. We’ll see.