I used to be really obsessed with going to book events – signings, release parties, festivals, red carpet premieres for the movies and so on. I would take entire days off, get in line early and all of that. I loved being one of the first people in line and being in the front seat. I loved collecting signed books, taking pictures with authors, making friends with people at events. And its not that I don’t love any of those things but I do infinitely less events than I used to. Just this week alone – there was a Leigh Bardugo event in Glendale on Tuesday, a Marie Lu event on Wednesday in Los Angeles and a Jennifer L Armentrout event in San Diego tomorrow. A few years ago, I would have been at every single one, no problem. Now, I skipped every single one of them. Here’s why.
I Don’t Have The Time or Money
I make more money hands down than I’ve made at any other job in my life. I love my job. But it despite the fact that I make more money, I also have more responsibilities. I have rent payments, utilities, all of that. I spend more money than I did before and when I did events in the past – it was always an ordeal. Take a signing at the Grove in LA for example. I’d have to get there early to purchase the book so that I got a decent wristband for the event. That’s roughly about $20 for the book and if we’re parking all day at the Grove, I believe the all-day max is $25. Then you factor in food – at the very least, lunch and a snack and that’s $15. Not to mention that I drive from Orange County and there’s gas. And if its at The Grove, I can’t turn down a cupcake at Sprinkles. Add it up and its usually about a $60 day. That’s a lot of money. And sure, I could go later, sit in the back and all of that but that brings us to time.
Either I take an entire day off – I don’t have an unlimited amount of sick/vacation days and my job is important, not like taking days off at Starbucks – or I leave after work, get there late, stand in the back and be in the back of the line. Which means it takes me AGES to get through the line and then I’m home super late – long drive, remember? – and I wake up at 530 am to go to work. All of it just sounds exhausting and I just don’t have the time. It means missing an entire day of work or sitting in major traffic after work. Maybe if there were more events in Orange County…but alas, there are not. Because there are basically no bookstores out here.
Events Are Crowded
I can’t handle how crazy some events have gotten. Don’t get me wrong. I am so happy for the authors that I love becoming more popular and more successful. They deserve it! The first time I met Leigh Bardugo at the Ontario Teen Book Fest in 2013, she was relatively unknown but now, her events are sold with tickets in advance because they know how insanely popular she and with a Shadow and Bone/Six of Crows Netflix series coming and a brand new announcement about Ninth House being adapted by Amazon, shes’s super popular.
But its hard for me to make the effort that kind of thing anymore. Waiting in line, dealing with the crowds. I hate crowds, I don’t like a lot of people – it makes me feel anxious and claustrophobic. I love these authors but it just isn’t as worth it for me anymore – I can’t handle how crowded it is. Plus the rules get stricter at these events the larger they get. No posed photos. No personalization. Only a book or two can be signed and so on and so forth. Its just kind of a bummer. It seems like a lot of work – not just physically but mentally too – for very little payoff. I miss events where I could get hugs, pictures, full conversation. I don’t begrudge authors their popularity and their huge events – god, I’m so proud of them – but it is honestly just so hard for me to handle nowadays.
Its Easier to Order Signed Books
It just is. I still love owning my own copies, I love having them signed, especially personalized to me. I love completing my collections – its so irritating to me to have all the books in a series signed except one. Its such a stupid thing to be irritated about haha but I’m spoiled – I like all my books signed!
With authors offering pre-orders of signed copies, either through their local bookstore or through websites like Good Choice Reading (which I have used a fair amount of times with success), its just so much easier to get relatively the same result as going to a book event without all the extra money and hassle. Like I said, Leigh Bardugo, Marie Lu and Jennifer Armentrout all had events this week – I ordered personalized copies of Leigh and Marie’s books through GC Reading and I ordered a personalized copy of JLA’s through her local bookstore. And I’m happy with that. I’m keep my collections going and its so hassle free.
I do feel some FOMO when I see my friends going to the events but for the most part, I’m just good on missing stuff. There are certain author I still go to see, there are events where I think its worth it. If its a brand new author that I’ve never met, I definitely will make the effort. When its a friend of mine, I want to support them so I’ll make the effort. But for the most part, I enjoy my fandom from the comfort of my computer and the comfort of a brand new package sitting in my mailbox.