DIAN_08RWA-lit-picI missed it. About a month ago, I receive a Facebook notice that one of my favorite authors was doing a book signing about an hour away from my home. Problem was, she was doing it at that very moment, a moment when I was getting ready to walk into a meeting at work. There was no way I could skip out on that meeting, drive an hour, find a parking space, and get into the bookstore before the signing ending…although I did briefly consider doing just that. If only I had known several days in advance, I could have arranged to attend.

Ever since then, I’ve been trying to find the best ways to know – in advance – about book signings in my area. One of my friends suggested that I just check out my local newspaper. Well, the problem with that is that even though there are numerous bookstores within my local area, they rarely – if ever – have book signings by any romance or mystery authors, and when they do, they may or may not be covered by the local paper. Another friend suggested that I check out the Web sites of my local bookstores. However, for the right author, I’d be willing to drive up to about 1 ½ hours, which makes for literally hundreds of bookstores. I did actually start looking online, and found a few romance or mystery book signings in the coming months at a few bookstores I checked. But other bookstores didn’t list any upcoming events, and I know that I must have missed numerous bookstores.

A third friend suggested that I visit authors’ Web sites for scheduled events; again, problematic. I started looking at various authors’ sites, and did indeed find some upcoming book signings (none within even a three-hour drive of where I live). But many authors had nothing listed on their sites, even when they have a book scheduled to be released in the next month or so. I’m not sure if this means they’re not doing any book signings, or if they just don’t post such events. I started doing Google searches using such terms as “romance author book signing” and located a site – www.booktour.com – that allows you to do searches for author events by genre and zip code. It’s a bit buggy, and gave me clearly non-romance authors when I searched under romances. However, by poking around a bit more I did find a brief listing of romance authors doing book signings. But by no means is this a comprehensive listing of upcoming romance author book signings.

I also checked out a few publisher Web sites, and found a bit of information. Avon features authors on tour by location, but it’s all authors, not just romance authors. To find potential book signings in your local area, you need to scroll through weeks, and then click on states. Similarly, the Hachette Book Group has a section of their site where you can search for events (including book signings) involving all of their authors. In the eHarlequin.com forums, there’s a thread where authors can post information on upcoming book signings. However, the most recent posting was on November 24th for a book signing on December 7th.

All of this took a lot of time, and provided me with a number of events around the country, including:

Joss Ware (she has a number listed on her Web site including): January 15, 2010 Brighton, MI Borders Books & Music 7 p.m.

Tracy Anne Warren: Saturday, January 16, 2010 Sam’s Club Grand Opening Event 12:00 – 2:00 pm 901 Airport Centre Drive Allentown, PA 18109

Laura Griffin: Saturday, January 23 Katy Budget Books 1:30 PM 2450 Fry Road, Houston, TX, 77084

Susan Kearney: Tuesday, January 26 Katy’s Budget Books 7:00 PM 2450 Fry Road, Houston, TX 77084

Lauren Willig (has a number of upcoming events on her site) including: New York Reading & Signing January 26th, 7:00 Borders, 57th & Park Scottsdale, Arizona February 9th, 7:00 Reading & Signing The Poisoned Pen 4014 North Goldwater Boulevard

So how far would you travel to get to a book signing? Have you gone to many? What are your best sources for finding out about book signings? And do you wish there was one, central location where we could find out about upcoming romance author book signings?

– LinnieGayl Kimmel