Ever since I posted up the schedule for my upcoming signing tour, people have been asking a lot of questions.
View Patrick Rothfuss, Wise Man’s Fear, Book Tour in a larger map
This has been a good thing. Your questions made me think about the tour in ways I wouldn’t have considered otherwise. I’ve spent weeks figuring things out, and now I have all sorts of answers for you. Plus a few other cool things that will probably be of interest even if you’re not planning on coming to one of the signings.
Also, for those of you who RSVP’d to the San Francisco event and couldn’t get a seat, we’ve managed to arrange a second event in San Francisco. Details are below in Question #2.
Ready? Here we go.
1. This is going to be my first booksigning and I don’t know the etiquette. Do I need to buy my book at the bookstore, or can I bring a book from home?
Honestly? The polite thing to do is to buy your book at the bookstore hosting the event.
You see, the bookstores hosting me put a lot of time, energy, and money into events like these. They order a BUNCH of books. They bring in extra staff to manage the crowds, set up chairs, and sometimes reorganize parts of the store. If the signing goes late, they have to keep the store open after hours.
Also, you have to remember that while the bookstore loves you, they are also, you know, a store. A store that sells books. They need to sell books to stay in business.
But there are other reasons too. Let’s say I do a signing and the bookstore sells 500 books. That bookstore is happy. That bookstore likes me. That bookstore wants to have me back for future events. Also, my publisher is happy, and they feel like spending the money to fly me out to events like this are a worthwhile investment.
But if I do a signing and sell, say, 20 books, odds are the bookstore won’t be inviting me back in the future.
Ultimately, buying a book at the hosting store is just good manners. They’re putting a lot of work into the event, and buying a book is the best way to show that you appreciate that.
*** There is one exception to this rule. There will be no books for sale at the Library of Congress reading. I’m happy to sign your book. But you’ll have to bring them with you.
Now does that mean you MUST buy a book to attend? Well, not exactly, read on…
1b. Pat, I called the bookstore and they said if I didn’t buy a book there, I couldn’t get anything signed. But I’m planning on buying your book March 1st, then driving three hours to get to your signing on the 10th. I’m a poor college student. I really can’t afford to buy a second book…
When I got the first message like this, I was surprised.
Needless to say, this isn’t the sort of policy I feel good about. The main reason I do these readings is so I can meet up with fans. I don’t want anyone getting turned away because they can’t afford to buy a book. (Or a second book, as with the example above.)
So I called my lovely PR team. They, in turn, called all the stores.
As a result, I’ve been reassured that nobody will be turned away from any of the events simply because they aren’t buying a book at the store.
That said, you can probably expect the hosting bookstores to give some preferential treatment to the people who buy at least one copy of the book in store. For example, they’ll probably get to go through the signing lines first. If we get huge turnouts, people who buy books in store will probably get first dibs on seating. Stuff like that.
1c. Can I get more than one book signed?
The number of books you can get signed varies from store to store. Some stores will let you take three items through the line, some stores will let you bring five. If you want more books than that signed, you’ll have to get back in line.
For specifics, I’d suggest calling the store and asking them.
What if you’re picking up books for eight of your best friends? Well, odds are you’ll still be able to get them signed. The main reason I’m doing this tour is to sign books. My intention at each event is to sign books until there are no more books to sign.
I will only stop if I need to catch a plane, if the store needs to close, or if I collapse from exhaustion. That’s my plan.
2. I just found out that your reading in San Fransisco has limited seating! I e-mailed them 6 hours after you announced it, but all the seats were already taken! I was going to drive there with my girlfriend as her birthday present! Is there anything I can do to get us in? Anything?
I got a lot of messages like this. A lot.
The truth is, we were caught off-guard at how many people responded to the event. We weren’t expecting such a big turnout.
As soon as we realized the problem, we started trying to figure out some way to get more people in. The fabulous folks who run SF in SF tried to find a bigger venue, but there wasn’t anything available. We couldn’t do an afternoon event because I’m not even going to be in San Francisco until 3:30 that day.
Still, I felt really bad that so many people were going to be disappointed. So I worked with my PR team and the folks at Borderlands Books to create an overflow event. Something to give the rest of the people chance to come see me and get their books signed.
So. We are holding a second event in San Fransisco. It will be DIRECTLY AFTER the evening event on March 3rd.
It will, in fact, be my first-ever midnight signing.
The second event will be held at:Borderlands Cafe 870 Valencia St. (between 19th and 20th), San Francisco 94110.
- Books will be on sale at Borderlands Books, right next door.
- First come, first seated. There will also be standing room and, once the cafe is at capacity, there will be overflow space at the bookstore. We can’t guarantee that there will be enough space to accommodate everyone.
Edit: * The Cafe will be closed between 9:00 and 10:00. But at 10:00 they’ll be back up and running, so you can show up, grab your seat, and grab some coffee in preparation for the event.
- If you don’t have a seat at the event at SF in SF, YOU SHOULD COME TO THE MIDNIGHT EVENT INSTEAD. Only people with tickets to the SF in SF event are guaranteed to get their books signed there.
- Each person will be able to get two books signed. People wishing additional signatures will have to go to the end of the line and may or may not be able to get additional books signed, depending on how late the event continues. (I do have to catch a plane in the morning, you realize.)
- There is no need to RSVP for this event and no seats will be reserved.
It’s entirely possible that I will be wearing my footie pajamas for this event, as I’ll be giving up a couple hours sleep to make it happen. It’s also fair to say that I’ll probably look a little wild around the eyes. But that’s half the fun of a midnight signing, isn’t it?
My sincerest thanks go out to the folks at Borderlands for helping us pull this together at the last moment.
Thanks so much, guys.
3. Can I get my picture taken with you at the signing?
Normally, my answer would be an unqualified yes. Anyone who’s glanced at my facebook page, has seen ample proof of the fact that I’m not camera shy.
However, there are certain logistical problems with me taking pictures with everyone at these bigger signings. Simply said, photos make a long signing even longer. But what usually happens is that you hand your phone over to someone else to take the shot, then we pose, then the person can’t figure out how to use your camera. Then you explain to them that it’s the button on the side….
You know what I’m talking about, right? We’ve all been there.
But let’s do some simple math. Assume that 200 people show up to my signing, and I take *just one minute* with each of them to shake hands, exchange a few words, then sign a book. 200 people at a minute each means that the signing is already more than three hours long.
That’s not even counting if people have more than one book. Or if people ask me for personalizations. If we add another 50 people taking pictures on top of that, the signing will suddenly be five hours long.
So my answer to this is… Maybe. We can probably snap a quick picture. But don’t be offended if we have to skip it if the line is really long.
4. Will you sign copies of The Name of the Wind?
Hell yes. Just because I have a new baby doesn’t mean I don’t love my first baby.
5. Will there be hardcover copies of The Name of the Wind available to purchase at your signings?
Almost certainly. But if you want to make sure you get one, the smart thing to do would be to call the bookstore and reserve a copy.
6. Will there be copies of The Princess and Mr. Whiffle available at your signings?
Maybe. Very maybe. Most bookstores only know about me because of The Name of the Wind. If you want to buy a Princess book, I’d suggest you call the store and try to reserve one. If they don’t have one in stock, I’m sure they’d be happy to order one in for you. Bookstores love selling books, you know.
6b. Will I get a special promotional sticker if I buy a copy of the Princess book at the store?
Good idea. I’ll throw some of those in my luggage. So yes. You can have a sticker.
7. Can I bring you cookies or some other sort of treat?
Let’s be clear here. I’m not posting this question as a desperate attempt to cage cookies off of everyone. I’m posting this question because at least five or six different people e-mailed me on the subject. So I figure it’s a legitimate FAQ.
The short answer is that yes. You can bring me cookies. That’s very sweet of you.
The long answer is that if you do bring me cookies. Please don’t be offended if I give some of them away. This tour is going to be kinda rough on my system, so I’m going to try and eat healthy. If I eat a dozen cookies at each signing, it’s going to ruin me.
7b. Do you have a cookie preference?
Chocolate-chip cookies are the favored kind of cookie. Raisin cookies are for people who secretly hate themselves. A real cookie shouldn’t have fruit in it. A real cookie is bad for you. It is like a delicious nail driven directly into your heart.
8. Do you hug?
I have been known to hug.
That said, you might want to refer to the logistical issues I mention up in question #3. It might have to be a short hug.
And watch those hands.
9. I want to buy a Kingkiller t-shirt to wear to your signing, but I can’t find the link to your store, the Tinker’s Sack. What’s the URL?
And by the way, it’s called The Tinker’s Pack. Pack. With a “P”.
The Tinker’s Sack would be a whole different sort of website. I don’t know what they’d sell there, but I don’t think you’d want to buy any….
10. What are your signings like?
First say howdy to everyone and explain some of the ground rules of the event.
Then comes the reading. I read a little something, answer some questions from the audience, then read another little something, then more questions. I do this for about an hour.
Last comes the signing. I pretty much sign books until they make me leave the store.
11. When are you coming to Canada/Spain/Ireland/Estonia?
Rest assured than when I make plans to travel to another country, I’ll post those signings up on the blog as well.
12. I live in Mexico/Germany/Korea/Bulgaria. How can I get a copy of the English version of your book? I want to read the original language.
If none of your local bookstores carry English books, I know that some of the stores that are carrying signed versions of my book are also willing to do international shipping. You could order from them….
13. I won’t have had time to read the whole book before I attend the your event in Portland. I’m looking forward to hearing you read, but I hate spoilers. Do I need to be afraid?
I hate spoilers, too. So you don’t need to worry about me giving away big secrets like the fact that Kvothe is really Kaiser Soze.
14.You’re coming to my town, but I’m going to have to miss your signing by just a couple hours because of attend class/go to work/catch a plane/etc. Can I meet up with you a little earlier and have you sign my book?
I’m sorry. But my schedule is way too tight to do anything like that. A lot of times, I won’t even be flying into town until a couple hours before the signing.
But if it’s your hometown, you can just call the bookstore and reserve a copy. Whenever I do a signing, the bookstore has me sign a bunch of books for people that couldn’t make it to the event.
15. Will you personalize my book to me? To my dad? To my girlfriend?
Yes. Yes. And yes.
However, I probably won’t have time to write anything really lengthy in the books. (See the Answer to #3 for the reason why.)
That means personalizations will probably have to be limited to a name and just a few words. No really long quotes.
16. Will you Sign my Nook/Kindle/E-reader?
Yes. This is something that I’ve done before.
That said, you might want to check out the answer to question #1 up there. Showing up with your kindle is just the same as bringing a book from home.
17. I have an important question. About how tall are you?
I am one thousand feet tall.
18. Is it really surreal that people are taking days off of work to come see you?
Yes. It is weird as hell.
19.Will your baby be with you at any of your signings?
My accountant has informed me that if I’m going to keep writing him off as a promotional expense, I need to take him to at least one signing.
That means it’s a fairly safe bet that you’ll see Oot in Madison. You might also get to see him in DC, New York, or Boston.
Who’s daddy’s cute little deduction?
20. Mr. Rothfuss, is it better for you if I buy your book at any particular store? Or in any particular way? (Nook? Hardcover?) I love your books, and so I want to support you as much as I can.
Over the last month, I’ve had more than a dozen messages like this. It just goes to prove something I already knew, that my readers are delightfully considerate human beings.
The truth is. I make more money off the hardcover of the book. Also, the more hardcover books I sell, the better chance I have of making it onto the New York Times Bestseller list. That’s kind of a big deal.
For the most part, it doesn’t matter where you buy the book, though I do usually encourage people to shop locally. Because supporting your local economy is a good thing.
If you *really* want to help, you could make a point of buying the book close to the release date. If enough people buy the book in that first week, I might get onto the New York Times Bestseller list. That would be really good for my career.
There you are folks. All of the big questions answered.
And for those of you who actually took the time to read all the way to the end. Here’s a little something extra. Over on the Gollancz facebook page, they have a video of me reading a scene from the Wise Man’s fear. I taped it with them more than a year ago when I was in England, so it’s a little different from the finished version. But if you’re looking for a little taste of what’s coming. You can head over there.
And don’t worry, it’s only a small piece in from the second chapter. No big spoilers. It isn’t until the third chapter that we learn that Kvothe’s dad isn’t really dead, he was merely horribly wounded and now serves as the strong right hand of the empire, Darth Vader.
Share and enjoy,