So, I used to work in a bookstore, and one of the things my manager and I used to agonize over was how many copies of a book to order for a signing. The danger is you’ll run out. The fear is you’ll order too many and have to pay to ship them back. This conundrum has serious consequences for those attending the event.

If you are coming to one of my twelve stops to see me, you face a bit of a choice. Do you order the book ahead of time and bring it with you? This guarantees you have a copy, but the bookstore loses the sale. Or do you chance them having enough in order to support the bookstore? What if they run out?

Here’s what I propose: Wait and get a copy at the bookstore (in fact, get two or three copies. They make great gifts!). If anyone is left out, I’ll do what I’ve always done with my own versions: I’ll sign and personalize the book and ship it straight to you. I’ll get Simon and Schuster to help out, or I’ll buy the books myself to make it happen.

I would much rather the bookstore sell what they have than be stuck with a ton of stock. We’ll make sure everyone gets a book — I promise. And be sure to bring any of those rare and collectible print-on-demand books you may have.

If you are going to want a hardback instead of a paperback, call the bookstore ahead of time and make sure they ordered some. See how many they are going to get or if you can pre-order a copy. There weren’t many hardbacks printed to begin with, so the first printing is definitely going to sell out. Plan ahead of time. Can’t wait to meet you all in person!

18 Responses to “The challenge of hosting a signing”

  1. Ted Lutter says:

    Have you posted a list of cities you’ll be visiting?

  2. As usual this post shows what a cool dude you are Hugh. I can understand seeing that you worked in a bookstore before, but still it’s awful kind of you to say what you said in this post. I hope your tour goes really well!

  3. margaret says:

    Are you going to have copies at your SXSWi panel or the SXSWi book signing?

  4. Jason Wilhoit says:

    I will be attending in Kansas City on 03/13/13. Rainy Day Books has a deal where you buy the book from them and then stick around for a presentation from you and then a book signing. I ordered the paperback version and will pick up that day for you to sign. I am looking forwarding to meeting you.

  5. Andrew Krohne says:

    I can’t wait for the release of the wool books, I will be getting a hardback( for myself) and a paperback for my you must read this book people. Little bummed that I can’t make the signing in Miami, but on your way back if you want to stop in Orlando and have a free bang bang shrimp at my Longwood Bonefish Grill….just a thought. Mull it over.

  6. Matt K says:

    Tell you what – I’ll buy a store copy when you come to Seattle if you’ll sign my hardback I had shipped over from England when it released there!

  7. James Zaavy says:

    Hugh,
    Thanks for responding, it looks like I’m able to pre-order the hardcover of WOOL at the Book Cellar, so I’m going to do that.

    I wish you all the best in the future, and I hope that your travels inspire you just as much as you’ve inspired so many others.

    Thanks again, and I’ll see you in Chicago.

    -James Zaavy

  8. Joe says:

    I wish I could make a signing, I have a couple arcs I’d love to get signed. I did order a copy from Murder By The Book in Houston, though.

  9. Harlow Fallon says:

    My brother lives in L.A. not too far from Vroman’s. I think I’ve got him talked into coming to see you there on the 17th. I told him you were a nice guy. :)

  10. Ruby says:

    LOVE THIS! Your support of readers and booksellers tells the tale. Well done.

  11. Dave says:

    I will be at the Seattle signing, and have already reserved two hardcover copies of Wool. See you there!

  12. Dave says:

    This might seem like a weird question, but would you also be willing to sign my Kindle while I’m there?

  13. Wendy Strand says:

    I will make a point to buy a gift copy at the store. I will be bring my UK and US hardcover copies with me so that I can get you to sign them for me.

  14. Andre says:

    Hi Hugh

    Thanks for doing the book signing in London last week. It was great to be able to say hello and get the books signed.

    Andre

    Everybody should get to one of Hugh’s signings if possible – such a nice guy.

    Check out what he did for me…
    http://andrearroyo.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/hugh-howeys-wool-book-signing-at-waterstones-piccadilly/

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