Tag Archives: Used Book stores

Signing in Iowa City

So a couple weeks ago, a scientist down in Iowa City asked if she could take a picture of my brain.

Apparently they’re doing research into what happens in creative people’s brains. They’re studying what goes on when we make thinkings. Or whatever. It’s science of some sort.

The important thing is that as an incentive for participating in this, they offered to give me a picture of my own brain.

So I agreed to do it. Partly because… y’know. Science. But mostly because I’m curious as to what my brain looks like. Plus, I’m hoping if something goes wrong with the MRI while they’re scanning me, I might develop superpowers.

The upshot is that I’m taking a quick trip to Iowa City next week.

Whenever I visit a city I’ve never been to before, I try to set up a reading so people in that part of the country have a chance to get their books signed.

Unfortunately, I only got the details of my Iowa City trip finalized today. (Wednesday the 13th.)  Since I’m going to be down there on the 21st, that means trying to set up a signing a week ahead of time.

As a rule, bookstores hate this. They want to set up signings months in advance. It gives them a chance to advertise, put up posters, order books. Stuff like that.

Still, I figured I’d try.

So this afternoon I did some googling. Then I called 4 different stores and talked to 10 different people. There was one store that did events, but they already had something planned Thursday night. Another store was too small. Another store only did signings for sport-related books. Another store just didn’t give a damn….

It’s hard setting these things up. When I call a bookstore to set up a signing, I’m effectively asking the manager if they’d like to do a whole lot of extra work. What’s more, even a well-advertised signing can get low attendance, and I was springing all this on them with barely a week’s notice.

What’s more, I’m a pretty new author. If you read fantasy, there’s a chance you might know who I am. But y’know…. a lot of people don’t read fantasy.

Given all this, it’s not surprising that I wasn’t having much luck finding a venue.

Still, who knows when I’m going to be in Iowa again? So I called one last bookstore: The Haunted Bookshop.

It was a shot in the dark, as I could see on their blog that they’re mostly a used bookstore.

But nobody knows the local book scene better than folks that work in a used bookstore. If they didn’t have any interest in doing a signing, I was hoping they could give me some advice as to where I might be able to find a space at short notice.

So I gave them a ring and told them pretty much what I’ve told you. I’m an author. Research. Picture of my brain. Hoping to find a place for a signing….

Them: Have you tried Prairie Lights?

Me: Yeah. They’re booked. (I was kinda proud of this pun.)

Them: If you do literary stuff there’s a local library with a meeting room you might be able to use…

Me: I’m not really literary.

Them: What did you say your name was?

The thing is, I hadn’t told them my name. I’d skipped it because nothing is more depressing to an author than calling a bookstore, giving your name, and having the person on the other end of the line have absolutely no idea who you are. This had already happened twice, at some of the other bookstores, and I wasn’t looking forward to having it happen a third time.

Me: My name’s Patrick Rothfuss. I only have two books out, and if you don’t read fantasy, there’s no reason that you’d ever have heard of me.

Them: I think you’ll have to do your signing here. Because if you don’t, one of my co-workers will cut my throat.

Me: I beg your pardon?

Them: Your first book is amazing.

Me: You know who I am? Thank god.

Them: What day are you thinking of?

Me: Thursday the 21st. I’m sorry it’s such short….

Them: We can do that. What time would you like to do it?

Me: Well, 7:00 tends to be good because then people can drive in from out of town. But I noticed your store normally closes at….

Them: We can stay open late. How much space do you need?

Me: Since we’re only setting it up a week ahead of time, I’m guessing we’ll only get 60-80…

Them: We’ll move some shit around.

Have I mentioned how much I love used book stores?

Anyway, the end of the story is that I’m going to be having a reading/signing at Haunted Bookshop in Iowa City on the 21st of April.

Here’s the facebook event, if you’re interested. Feel free to invite any of your friends you think might be interested.

I’ll do a reading mixed with some Q&A staring at 7:00. Then I’ll sign books until everyone is happy.

Seating will be limited, but you can show up early to claim a seat if you want. Plus, if you’re there early, you get to browse through the used books. If I can get there early that’s probably what I’m going to do.

In addition to copies of The Wise Man’s Fear. The store will also have hardcover copies of The Name of the Wind and The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle available.

You don’t need to buy a copy of my book to attend. (I know a lot of you already have your copies.) But I do encourage people to buy something at the hosting book store. It’s a nice way to thank them for giving me a venue to meet with y’all while I’m in town.

If you have questions, you can call the store at 319-337-2996.

We are setting this one up on terribly short notice. So if you know of anyone in the area that might be interested, I’d greatly appreciate it if you dropped them a link. It breaks my heart when I get e-mail that says, “I just missed you in [city]! When will you be back?” and I have to tell respond, “Maybe a year or two? Maybe never?”

Sorry to postpone the blog telling the story about the romance convention and my reading with Amber Benson. I needed to post this up first, given how little time we have to spread the word about the signing.

Stories soon,


Posted in appearances, cool news, day in the life | By Pat60 Responses
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