Tag Archives: signing books

It is coming….

Ever since I posted up the pictures of the nunchucks someone sent me, I’ve been getting e-mail asking all sorts of questions from who want to get their books signed. Some people want to know if I’ll sign them as gifts to other people, other people want to buy copies of the college survival guide, other folks are worried that the thing they’re sending along won’t be cool enough.

I just wanted to mention that I’m planning something. Something that will involve signed books, among other things.

So if you’re thinking of sending in your book to get it signed, you might want to wait for a little bit. Very soon there will be a opportunities for people to get signed copies of all sorts of things. I just need a little more time to work out the details.

If you’ve already sent in your book, that’s fine. I’ll still sign it.

But otherwise, wait for a little bit, and stay tuned….

pat

Posted in cool things | By Pat24 Responses

How to be Cool – A Primer.

As I’ve mentioned before, due to angering some fickle deity, I only had one scheduled event at DragonCon: a reading.

When I showed up to the con, the programming staff were nice enough to schedule me a signing too. Then, using my not inconsiderable charm, I sweet-talked my way onto a couple of the writing track panels.

The panels went pretty well. Since they were already on the schedule, they had good audiences. I gave a few good pieces of advice, got a few laughs, and avoided – for the most part – making an ass of myself. If I can do all three of those things, it’s a good panel.

My signing was another matter entirely. Since it wasn’t on the schedule, nobody knew about it. You could hear crickets. Two people showed up, and I was surprised to have that many.

Rest assured that my ego did not suffer any permanent trauma due to low attendance. Why is that? Well… mostly because of the signings I used to do back when my first story appeared in an anthology….

They were brutal. Most signings are when you’re a new writer. Typically you spend two hours sitting at a card table in front of a Waldenbooks at the local mall. Then everyone ignores you. Pointedly ignores you. Ignores you as if they fear making eye contact will give them herpes.

Those early signings, while grueling, did a great job of setting my expectations low. These days, if I have a signing and two or three people talk to me, I consider it a win. Everything beyond that is gravy.

The other reason my ego wasn’t bruised by the low turn-out is that earlier this month at Worldcon, when my signing *was* on the schedule, I got a turnout that surprised so much that I took a picture of the line:

By comparison, my DragonCon signing is pretty relaxing. I talk to the two people who stop by, drink my coffee, and read the program book making plans to stalk Nathan Fillion, Morena Baccarin, and Jewel Staite.

Then I pack up and head over to my reading. My expectations understandably low.

Imagine my surprise when I see that the room is pretty much full. It’s surprising to me that all these people, in the middle of all the glamour and weird of DragonCon, have chosen to show up and listen to me read. What’s more, they all started to applaud when I came in the door.

It was a good feeling. I felt cool. Really cool. I was a hoopy frood. I was about .8 of a Gaiman on the cool-o-meter, which is pretty cool.

I briefly excused myself to use the bathroom – as I said, it was exciting – then did my reading. They laughed at my jokes, asked good questions, and didn’t hassle me too much about book two. In brief, it was a great crowd.

When my hour was up, so many people wanted me to sign that, after a half hour, I needed to move the remainder into the hallway because the next reading was scheduled to begin. Then I signed in the hallway for another half hour.

Needless to say, I was feeling pretty good about myself.

Then I realized that my zipper was down. Which means that it had been down since I used the bathroom right before the reading.

Thank you, oh universe, for reminding me of the truth. While I may be all that and a bag of chips, I’m usually all that and a bag of chips who doesn’t know his zipper is open.

I learned my lesson though. Later that night, in order to prevent any further zipper-related embarrassment, I changed into my kilt before I went out to dinner with some of the folks who had participated in the photo contest a couple months back:

And a good time was had by all….

pat

Posted in conventions, my dumbness, my rockstar life, Neil Gaiman | By Pat40 Responses

Ask the Author #5: Where can I buy the new version of the book?

Since I posted up the new cover for The Name of the Wind, folks have been asking me where they can buy a copy.

Doubtless some of you want a copy of this book because it is clearly A Novel. I also know a lot of folks want this cover because the style will more closely match the hardcover for The Wise Man’s Fear:

I understand your desire, and I feel your pain. I wanted this new cover too, and even though I’m the author, I still had a bitch of a time locating it. I had to hunt around for weeks before I managed to get my hands on one.

The truth is, I don’t know where these new copies will be showing up. These are the books that currently live in the warehouse. If a store orders a book from the warehouse, this cover will probably get delivered to them. But if the bookstore orders from a distributor, the distributor might not have this fifth printing in stock. They might still have first printings, or third printings. It’s a crap shoot.

However, since so many people were asking about it, I worked something out with a guy I met out in Seattle last year. His name is Shawn Speakman, and he runs a business that sells signed books over the magical interweb.

So, when I head out to Seattle at the end of the month for Norwescon, I’m going to swing by his place and sign a bunch of books for him. If you want one you can go order a copy at his store.

Please note that I’d be more than happy to personalize your book for you, free of charge. Just make sure you enter what you’d like me to write when you your order your book.

Now, the more astute of you that have doubtless already clicked on the link and noticed that Shawn is charging 29.95 for the books. Five bucks more than the cover price. This isn’t because he’s a greedy son of a bitch. No. Shawn is a high-class gentleman. I know this because Shawn is giving me that five bucks to help offset the cost of my plane ticket out there. If not for that, I wouldn’t have been able to justify making the trip out to the coast.

Lastly, as an added bonus for those of you who have been dying to get hold of a copy of the Illustrated, Annotated, College Survival Guide, Shawn will be selling some of those too.

Those will be signed by me, and each will have a cool doodle and a signature by my longtime friend, illustrator, and co-conspirator, Brett Hiorns.

Later all,

pat

Posted in appearances, book covers, College Survival Guide | By Pat20 Responses

Italian Style – Part Two.

Okay, before we do anything else, I feel like I should mention that I’ve updated the TOUR SCHEDULE part of the page. Over there you’ll find a list of some conventions/readings/signings/etc that I’ll be doing this year.

Of particular note are my two appearances in St. Paul this weekend. I’ll be appearing at two separate libraries, one on Saturday, the other on Sunday. It’s free for anyone to attend. I’ll sign books if you bring them, and there will be books there to buy…

More events will be posted in the weeks to come. Seattle folk – I’ll be out near y’all over Easter weekend. I’ll be posting those details soon.

Okay. On to business.

Response to the Italian cover was every bit as varied as I expected. But there was rather more of it than I’d thought there would be. Since there were a lot of good comments and questions, I decided that I’d do a follow-up post to clarify a few things.

Points of interest and/or clarification.

  • The art is done by a guy named Brom.

I didn’t know about him before someone made reference to the cover as Brom-art in the comments of the last blog, but I have seen his stuff before. Mostly on D&D books back in the day….

Side note: I am currently working on a theory that once you reach a certain degree of fame, you get bumped up to a new quantum energy state wherein you only need one name.

This is easier to achieve for artists (Donato, Brom) and musicians (Sting, Madonna).

It’s much rarer for authors. I suspect they need way more energy, like electrons in different valence shells. So for writers, only the SUPER elite have enough juice to make the jump (Cervantes, Tolkien, Shakespeare, Chaucer).

  • Brom’s website is OVER HERE if you’re interested.
  • The art wasn’t drawn for the book specifically. The Italian publisher bought the rights to a pre-existing piece of art to use as the cover for the book.

That means:

  • It’s not Kvothe or one of the Chandrian. Don’t sprain anything trying to make that fit in your head. (Though I would like to see Brom’s take on the Chandrian.)
  • You didn’t miss the part of the book where someone has an eye in his hand. Neither is the eye-hand a mistranslation issue or some strange cultural signifier.

 

  • My favorite comments on the cover:
  • Kip: “It’s obviously a picture of Kvothe LARPing his favorite Vampire: The Requiem Character.”
  • “They must have wanted to picture someone with good eye-hand coordination.”
  • “NOTW? WTF?”
  • Sarah: “Kvothe has some sort of pointy pain stick. He should be careful or it will poke him in the hand-eye.”

A few responses to questions and comments:

“Oh man Pat. As a graphic designer can I just say that that is a bad choice. There is no connection to the book that I can come up with at all. The thing on his hand is so prominent that people are going to wonder why its not in the book. It will be confusing. Then the really bad drop shadow, or black glow around the text is just bad design. The whole composition just was not meant to have text covering it.”

I think you’re right about the composition of the piece. It obviously wasn’t meant to be obscured. I got the permission to show the original artwork from Brom: So here it is…

I’m pretty sure that they used that black shadow and my name to cover up Gothy McHotBod’s nipple ring.

And yes, for those of you who are wondering, my chest looks exactly like that when I take my shirt off. By which I mean that I am pale as a bleached ghost on a moonlit night.

Christian asked: “Pat, I am very curious as to who that person is on the cover of the Italian version of your book. I’m pretty sure you would have a big say into what visually depicts your book to first time ( and in my case, long-time) readers.”

Typically, authors get little-to-no say as to the covers of their books. Part of this is because the cover is, ultimately, a marketing choice, rather than an artistic one. And truthfully, publishers know more about marketing than authors do. Also, authors are word-smart, not necessarily picture smart.

That said, in my opinion it is a shame that authors aren’t included in that process more frequently.

I did get to participate in the discussion about my US covers. But that is the exception to the rule, as my publisher, DAW, is very considerate. And my editor, Betsy, respects my opinion on these things. Still, they didn’t say, “what do you think we should do.” they said, “Here’s what we’re planning, what do you think?”

Still, it’s nice to be asked.

My French publisher asked for my thoughts in the planning stage, and my Japanese editor asked early on if I had any suggestions as to who I would like as an artist. But none of the other foreign editors have included me so far. The first time I saw the Italian cover was about a week ago…

In a few of my more recent foreign contracts, I have approval of the final covers. But that doesn’t mean that I get to design them. If the books continue to sell well, I’ll probably get even more say in the future. I’m guessing.

“Why do they keep changing the cover? What’s wrong with original Shirtless Kvothe and Green man?”

Those covers belong to the US publisher. The foreign publishers would have to buy the rights to them if they wanted to use them. They probably don’t want to do that because they’re marketing the book to an entirely different culture.

That’s all for now, folks. I’m back to work on book two…

pat

Posted in appearances, book covers, Things I didn't know about publishing | By Pat26 Responses

The long awaited address, plus webcomic coolness

Before we get to today’s main event, I have to say that when I saw THIS, I was filled with geeky delight. Something Positive is one of my favorite webcomics, and if your sense of humor tends toward the slightly deranged, odds are you will find whole days of your life destroyed by the uncontrollable urge to read every last scrap of his archive.

Share and enjoy.

Now. On to business.

A few weeks ago, somewhat overwhelmed by people asking me to sign their books, I posted THIS BLOG. I expected it to act as a slight damper to the book signing requests, but quite the opposite happened.

After hearing a few horror stories from fellow authors, I started to get a little freaked out at the thought of giving out my home address. I tried to get a PO box, but to do that I’d have to get a new driver’s licence. And to do THAT I’d have to go to the DMV.

I don’t know what your local DMV is like. But personally, I can think of better ways to spend my afternoon. For instance, I could go to the local hardware store, buy a ten-penny nail, and then hammer it directly into my eye.

So the PO box plan is temporarily out. But I found a new option. You can send your books to my office at the University where I work.

If you’re sending it through the post office, use this address:

Patrick Rothfuss
English Department
UW-Stevens Point
Stevens Point, WI 54481

If you’re sending it UPS or FED-EX, use this address:

Patrick Rothfuss
English Department
486 CCC
UW-Stevens Point
Stevens Point, WI 54481

And remember the rules. If you want me to sign your book, you need to include:

  1. The book. (duh)
  2. Seven dollars for return postage and packaging materials.
  3. A return address and instructions as to how you’d like me to sign it. (Be specific, I work well under direction.)
  4. Something cool. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about check out the blog I linked to above.)

Lastly and most importantly, I would like to encourage you to pack your books carefully. Perhaps even obsessively. Padding is important, but the true key to keeping the book safe is to make sure it can’t move around inside the package itself.

If you have any doubts about your packing job, think to yourself: “If I threw this package across the room, into the wall, would the book get hurt?” If the answer is, “yes” then you need to pack it more carefully. These things get really knocked around sometimes. And if your book shows up damaged, I’ll have no real choice but to shed a single tear, sign it, and send it back in its crippled state….

Later,

pat

P.S. Remember, I’m going to be making an appearance over near Minneapolis this Friday (the 21st) from 6-8 at a local store called Back to Books in Hudson. Festivities include signing of books, chatting, and answering of questions. For more details, check out the tour schedule page.

Posted in Alerts, appearances | By PatLeave a comment

FAQ: “If I Mail You My Book, Will You Sign it?”

Editor’s note: Pat is taking a break from this right now until he can find a better way to do it . Keep an eye out for more details…

People have been asking me this question more and more often lately, and strangely enough, the question has been getting more and more difficult to answer.

First, I should explain something. While I’ve been a writer for a long time. I’ve been a *PUBLISHED* writer for a very short time. As of right now, my novel has only been out for a little more than four months.

This means that I’m still a total geek about most things. I still get a glowy, warm feeling whenever someone likes the book enough to post up another five star review on Amazon. I keep looking back at the Amazon page to see my sales rank is. And when someone tells me they like the book, I feel like a mom must feel when someone compliments her baby.

I still read all my fanmail, and I respond to all of it, too. (Though right now I’m really behind, and I apologize to everyone who hasn’t received a response yet. Sorry.)

The other thing I did for a couple of months, was agree to sign any books that people wanted to send me. It was just cool for me that anyone would buy my book, let alone care enough to want my signature. So whenever asked me this question, I gave them my address. Then when the books showed up, I signed them and sent them back.

After a few months, a couple things started to change my feelings on the matter.

First, the number of people asking for me to sign their books has been slowly increasing. This is a problem because it probably takes me around half an hour to unwrap, sign, repackage and drop the book off at the post office. While I love the thought of making a fan happy, that’s time I could be spending working on book two, or doing the dishes, or kissing girls. There’s only so many hours in the day, and I’ve been very, VERY busy lately.

Second, I became aware that some of the people who wanted me to sign their books weren’t fans, but book collectors. Or rather, signed book re-sellers. Imagine my surprise when I found copies of my book out there selling for hundreds of dollars.

At first I was stunned. Then I was flattered. Then I started to realize that I might be getting hustled a little. I don’t mind taking twenty minutes out of my day to get someone a signed copy of my book if they’re geeking out over it. I’m less thrilled about spending that time so that someone else can make 100 bucks off the deal.

Now I’m not implying that all those people out there selling my books screwed me. Many of them approached me honestly and asked for signed copies specifically to sell. Some of them were even generous enough to cut me in on a piece of the action.

But a few people did hustle me. That and my busy schedule made me think I should give a firm, polite “NO” to this question once and for all. I even made a humorous flow chart to soften the blow of this news to hopeful folks out there:

(If you click on the picture, you’ll be able to read it.)

As you can see, the best possible result is that I end up eating tacos. And honestly, I can do that whether or not you send me a book to sign.

This was all about a month ago. I was ready to pack it all in when I got the following e-mail.

 

Pat,

I managed to pick up an Advanced Copy of NOTW at a small used

bookstore. I felt a bit guilty about buying a book that clearly states “Not for Sale” on every surface of the binding… but I’ve purchased four legit copies so far (attempt at justification), and have distributed them to those I deem worthy (coupled with altruism)… And I know that you’re a bang up guy (flattery), and would likely not hold this against me.

So the favor is this: If I pack the book up in a self addressed, postage paid box and send it to you, would you be willing to sign it and drop it in the post?

I would make sure it was carefully packed in bags of high-quality Ethiopian coffee (I assume whole bean is acceptable), and safely wrapped with other “recyclable” material. Interested? ; )

Thanks, Pat — I know you’re a busy guy, so don’t feel obligated to reply if you don’t have the time. I completely understand-

This letter was not only flattering and funny, but the guy was smart enough to realize that I didn’t make any money off of him buying an ARC of the book. What’s more, he recognized that I was a busy guy, and that signing the book would take time out of my schedule. So he agreed to send me a present to make it up to me.

So I e-mailed him back with my address and gave him the thumbs up, then forgot about it. A week or so later, I get this in the mail:

In the middle is the ARC copy of the book. The rest of the stuff is the “packing material.” Chocolatey sugar-bomb cereal, coffee, candy, and a Powell’s Bookstore T-shirt. It was like Santa wanted my autograph.

Then, again, just a few days ago I got a bottle of wine in the mail as a thank you present from someone who asked me to sign a few books a month ago.

This made me re-re-consider my position on the book signing. Not just because I was getting swag. But because it made it clear to me that for some people, getting a signed book was a really big deal. I know that feeling. I’ve had it myself in the past.

So here’s what I’ve decided. If you want me to sign your book, I will. But here’s the price:

You need to send me something cool.

It doesn’t need to be expensive, or big, or edible, or rare. (The guy who sent me the ARC clearly went overboard.) It just needs to be something that I’ll pull out of the package and think, “Hey, that’s pretty cool.”

Then I’ll play with it, wear it, show it off, or put it on a shelf. And when I’m signing your book, packing it back up, and walking to the post office, I’ll feel happy. Because the coolness of your gift will convince me that getting a signed book is kind-of important to you. Then, even if you decide to sell the book on e-bay, I won’t really mind because you took the time to send me a present as a way to say thank you.

  • The step-by-step instructions.

1. Find something cool.

2. Write me a brief note that includes:

  • Your return address.
  • Your email address in case I have to contact you.
  • An explanation of exactly what you’d like written in the book(s). If you don’t include instructions, I’ll just do a simple signature and send it back.

3. Send a check for seven bucks per book to cover postage and the cost of good packing materials to keep the book safe when I send it back to you.

3a. DO NOT send anything other than a check or money order. (or cash, if you really need to.) Don’t try to be helpful and send a pre-paid Fed-ex sticker or a postal coupon. Those things are a huge pain in the ass for us to deal with. They’re anti-helpful. They waste my time and delay your book getting back to you in a timely fashion.

3b. If you want the book sent back to you faster. Make the check out for 15 bucks and we’ll ship it using priority mail.

3c. If you need the book shipped overseas, read the instructions in Warnings and Addendums below.

4. Package everything carefully. (Details in Warnings and Addendums below.)

5. Mail the package to me at:

Patrick Rothfuss
PO Box 186
Stevens Point, WI 54481

For UPS or FED-EX, you’ll have to use this address:

Patrick Rothfuss
English Department
486 CCC
UW-Stevens Point
Stevens Point, WI 54481
 
 
  • What if I don’t want to go through all that? Can I just buy a signed book directly from you?

Sure. I do sell signed hardcover copies of The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear. All proceeds go to Worldbuilders, the charity I started a couple years ago.

This option is simpler. You can just go visit our online store. Or follow steps 2, 3 and 5 up above.

Warnings and Addendums

  • Packaging.

You really need to package your stuff up carefully.

Padding is important, but the true key is to making sure your book can’t move around inside the package itself.

I also strongly recommend you take the book jacket off the book and keep it at your house, as it’s the most easily damaged part of the book.

If you have any doubts about your packing job, think to yourself: “If I threw this package across the room, into the wall, would the book get hurt?” If the answer is, “yes” then you need to pack it more carefully. These things get really knocked around sometimes. And if your book shows up damaged, I’ll have no real choice but to shed a single tear, sign it, and send it back in its crippled state….

  • Timing.

I try to get books signed and mailed back to people as soon as possible. But sometimes I’m busy. Or I’m on vacation. Or whatever.

This means if you desperately need a book for some special event, you need to send it to me a couple weeks in advance. Ideally, you should send it to me a month in advance, just to be safe.

  • Overseas shipping.

If the book needs to be shipped overseas, it will cost me 40 dollars to get it back to you.  55 dollars if you send both Name of the Wind and Wise Man’s Fear.

Here’s the trick, you need to make the check or money order out in US Dollars or my bank won’t cash it.

  • What not to ship.

While I appreciate all gifts people send me. Some things simply don’t travel very well.

Homemade cookies, for example, don’t survive a long journey and two days in a PO box very well. Liquids are also dangerous. If they’re not packaged carefully, things can break and ruin your book.

My advice is simple. Think twice and package carefully.

There we go. All updated and shiny new as of July 2010. Hope this is helpful.

pat

Posted in fan coolness, Fanmail Q + A, FAQ, geeking out, Worldbuilders 2010 | By Pat113 Responses

My First Signing

I had my first reading and book signing last Tuesday. A cool if slightly surreal experience.

I showed up at the Barnes and Noble in Madison about ten minutes before the signing was supposed to start. There were about a half-dozen of my friends hanging around, and my grampa was sitting in the front row. That was about it. Ten people tops, and that was including me.

Honestly, I was kinda relieved. With less than ten people the potential for looking stupid is greatly reduced. And since everyone was either a friend or a relative, I could trust that they’d already seen me humiliate myself on a far grander scale than anything I was likely to achieve tonight.

But I was pretty disappointed. You want a little fanfair for your maiden voyage, and in terms of the beginning of my writing career, a turnout of less than ten people is not a good omen.

But soon the place started to fill up. We put out more chairs and they filled up too. Eventually we ended up with about two hundred people. A crowd. Perhaps even a throng.

I read some of the book out loud, which was a new experience for me. We also did some Q & A, which I very much enjoyed, as I love talking about writing. I got a few laughs and avoided walking around with my fly undone, so, as a whole, the experience was a positive one.

Then came the signing. I was a little nervous because of certain penmanship and spelling issues I posses. However, the B & N organizer had everyone sign a little post-it and put it on their book, so when they got to the front of the line, I could personalize the books without having to ask the spelling of names.

I made my way through about 40 or 50 people without any trouble. I’m chatting with people, shaking hands, having a good time. I feel just a little bit like a rockstar. And that, of course, is when I let my guard down.

A woman gets to the front of the line and hands me her book. “Could you inscribe this ‘to Helen?’ ” she asks.

“No problem,” I say. I take the post-it off the book and stick it on the table where I can look at it: H-e-l-e-n.

Because I’m feeling pretty good, I try to chat with the woman while I’m signing. As a result, I misspell the name.

I laugh it off and move her book over to the side, replacing it with the book I brought with me to read from. I stop talking and focus my considerable intellect at the task at hand. Using my full concentration, massive brain, and over eleven years of higher education, I’m able to successfully transcribe a five-letter name… the second time around.

So now I’m left with this: a memento of my first signing.

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

Yeah. That’s all me. Totally rockstar.

pat

Posted in my dumbness, my rockstar life | By Pat19 Responses
  • Our Store

  • Previous Posts

  • Archives

  • My Twitter

  • Bookmark this Blog

    (IE and Firefox users only - Safari users, click Command-D)