Thursday, April 8, 2010

Author Etiquette

Tip of the Day: The Espressologist is available on Kindle now! Also, if you're near Bolingbrook, IL I will be at the 2010 Author Fair this Saturday, April 10th, from 11am-3pm at the Fountaindale Library. Stop by!

I was driving through Naperville with two of my kids yesterday and we passed the cute coffee shop where I had my launch party for The Espressologist. My oldest said, "Mommy, look! That's where we had your book party! Where are we having your next book party?" I immediately said, "Oh no, honey, that was a one time thing. Authors don't have big parties for every book they write." And then I thought, or do they? Huh. I think I right away equated releasing a book to having a baby and went with the oh you don't have a baby shower for any of your kids after your first thing. I know I didn't. It was a known thing (in my fam) that people just don't do that. And the occasional person who would have a baby shower for say kid number two, three or oh my god four, would be tsked tsked and talked about for weeks if not well through the next two holiday gatherings. But is this all old fashioned? And why am I comparing a book release to a baby shower anyway? Still, I can't say I recall a party party for a second or third book. A nice big launch book signing at a bookstore-- yes. I've seen lots of those. But the big hoopla invite everyone I know party? Hmm. Of course, I'm out here in Illinois and not New York where most authorly stuff goes down so maybe authors do throw big parties each time. Have you guys been to launch parties for books that weren't debuts?

This then got me thinking about the acknowledgment page that goes in the back of the book. With your first book you sorta gush and thank everyone you know and it's so cute and sweet and I know I love reading them. But then with your second book you either don't do one at all or it's shorter and more to the point thanking maybe a few individuals. Then by the time you get to book three you have people rolling their eyes and going oh please, look at so and so go on and on like she just won an Oscar. Am I wrong? What do you guys think about acknowledgment pages in that back of books? Ok, quick test-- I'm going to run to my bookshelf and get three books by authors who are not debut and see if they have acknowledgment pages. Here we go: 1) Rymes with Witches by Lauren Myracle. Nothing in the back but a short four-sentence Acknowledgments in the front. 2) How to Ruin My Teenage Life by Simone Elkeles. Again, none in the back but a slightly longer one than Lauren's in the front. Simone's is a little over half a page. Last, 3) After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick. Nothing in that back again (what is this a new trend? I thought they were always in the back.) but a one-sentence Acknowledgment in the front. So, my quick research concludes that the acknowledgment page does get shorter with subsequent books but does not altogether disappear. Unless, perhaps you are Meg Cabot. I bet she doesn't have Acknowledgment pages any more. Anyone have a Meg Cabot book and can check for me? I usually have tons but I must have loaned them all out because I couldn't find any just now.

So what do you guys feel about this author etiquette stuff? What's an author to do?

Kristina, Miss See Me on the Shelves


C.K. said...

So far I only did one for the first book (and even that was really short) because really, the next two would've been almost identical. It never occured to me that it was an etiquette issue though so who knows, maybe I'm committed a faux pas!

BookChic said...

I like reading acknowledgements pages, no matter what book it is for the author. As for the front and back thing, I think it depends on the book. Maybe it's just cuz it's an ARC, but Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey (which I'm reading now) has them in the back but it also has an Afterword and a Glossary, so maybe they just wanted to stick all the extra stuff in the back? I don't know.

Meg Cabot books do have acknowledgements, but they're pretty much copy and pasted in each book. They don't change at all really. Same with the dedication. They are in the front.

As for parties, I imagine it's up to the author. If you don't feel comfortable doing a whole shebang for each book, don't do it. Maybe just hold like a release day signing or something. But like Maggie Stiefvater has held a launch party for each of her books (and I've been to two). So it just depends.

Cynthia Leitich Smith said...

Launch parties for subsequent releases are quite popular here in Austin (maybe it varies regionally). We have a big indie bookstore. Everyone loves to celebrate, and the whole book community turns out. It's not uncommon to see teachers and librarians, for example, at such events.

As for acknowledgments, I thanked everyone, including early elementary teachers, in my first novel. But in more recent ones have restricted that to those who've helped as readers, researchers, my editorial/agent team, or offered particular moral support during the writing.

Kate Fall said...

Wait, you can't have baby showers after the first baby? Says who?! Sometimes they're appropriate. And sometimes acknowledgements are appropriate. (Who says: OMG, she's thanking people again! What's wrong with her?)

And I think you should have a book launch party for your kids where they tell you wonderful things about you. (That's what kids do before they turn 8, right? That's not false nostalgia or anything, is it?)

Kristina Springer said...

Kate, are you saying the kids are going to stop telling me wonderful stuff? Oh no! :-) They compliment me all day-- I figure they're trying to get stuff but it works.

And OMG, I've totally heard people talking badly about ack pages being too long etc. I brought this up because I was wondering if I needed to stop with the third book or if I could do it again. :-) I just love them.

Book Chic-- so you've been to two of Maggie's and none of mine??! :-) Thanks for checking the Meg Cabot ack situation for me!

CLS-- That sounds cool! Maybe if our book community was bigger here. Hmmm.

Thanks C.K.!

Lisa Schroeder said...

I do a signing for each book, but I don't do a party. For one thing, I'm cheap! For another thing, it didn't feel quite right to me, like you're saying, I think.

I think we should move to Austin!

BookChic said...

Kristina- Well, you need to have a party in the MD/DC/VA/NC area, lol. I'll totally go to it then.

Hey, maybe that's what you could do. It would be costly, but maybe have like a traveling launch party for each book. Take a vacation to some city (like DC hint hint) and have a launch party there. :)

By the way, will you be at BEA this year? Because I'm going and it would be lovely to see you. Plus, then I can grovel and get back in your good graces for not having gone to any of your launches. :P