I just wanted to say that in regards to book signings and personal appearances, that I will never sign up for an event that charges my readers a crap load of money to attend.
Any events that I have signed up for that charges readers ANY dollar amount to come, I find out why, for what, how come, etc. In doing these events, we are learning that charging a small ticket fee like $5 ensures that readers are more serious about actually attending the event and will most likely have follow through- instead of having a free sign up list where tons of people register themselves and all their friends "just in case" they can make it, but have no accountability when it comes to actually attending.
We authors (and the event coordinators) like to know how many people are REALLY planning on being at any event we attend so we can plan accordingly (how many books to bring, how much swag to order, etc). Also, it just makes good business sense to have as accurate numbers as possible when it comes to these things. :)
The small signing fee also goes to things like extra security if it's needed, insurance for when the event gets too large, and any other additional and unexpected fees that crop up. If there are other charges, the authors share that cost.
I do want readers to know that the authors signing at the event ALWAYS split the cost of the conference room where the event is being held. Whatever the total room costs, we split it per author and that's considered our "table fee." We personally pay to host the event so that we can meet all of you!
We do this because we want too. :)
What the majority of us don't want, is to make our readers fork out MORE money to attend a mutually beneficial book signing. Yes, I said mutually beneficial. You readers love getting to meet your favorite authors. And we authors LOVE getting to meet our readers! It's a win-win! :)
I am not comfortable when I hear about someone charging readers money to come to a book signing that will generate that person thousands of dollars. The fact that some chicks tried to profit over $15 grand recently OFF OF OUR READERS makes me want to put the hurt on. And until they got called out on it, they were going to absolutely try to get away with it.
I know I must be the odd one out, but I actually enjoy treating you the way I would like to be treated. And if I wouldn't be willing to pay a certain amount of $$ to attend an event, I would never in good conscious ask you to do it. We're already asking you to fly to the signing, pay for your hotel, AND actually buy our books too!
Now I'm not saying that the event coordinator shouldn't be compensated for their time because their time is valuable and these events are a ton of work (a lot of times the coordinators make nothing off the event itself), but their fee should be incorporated into the author fees, NOT reader fees.
We're getting to a point lately where it seems like any and every one is setting up book signings. Just because anyone CAN set up a signing, doesn't mean they should. And just because I CAN attend any book signing, doesn't mean I will.
I'm afraid that people are being taken advantage of. And it's all to profit... who? The only money authors make off of the signings are the books we sell. And trust me when I tell you that we never come close to breaking even. But it's not about that. We want to thank you guys for all your support. We enjoy meeting you and spending time with you. :)
So I guess all I can tell you is A- I will not attend a signing that is charging you money to attend, without knowing exactly WHY and WHAT that money is going toward and sharing that reason with you.
And B- if you are considering going to a signing that charges money for you to simply attend, you should ask WHY and WHERE that money is going. Because some of the things cropping up lately have me a little worried...
*public service announcement over*
PS- This is my personal opinion only. I know I keep saying "we" authors a lot in this post, but I only speak for myself.
PSS- I did not write this to cause a ruckus and a huge fuss. I just wanted to raise awareness to my fellow authors as well as our readers. We should always know what we're signing up for, what we are representing, and where our money is going and to whom.
PPSSSSSPPSPSPSP- This blog post obviously does NOT reflect any events that i'm actually attending. If I've chosen to attend the event and they charge a fee, I'm well aware of what the fee is being used for and have shared it on my Appearances page.