Cheryl St.John Dishes On Booksignings

Cheryl St.John and Carla Cassidy

When my first few books were released, I traveled near and far to promote them and meet the booksellers. Of course back then we had many independent stores and local distributors, and meeting them was valuable. Nowadays it seems as though most of the chain stores couldn’t care less who the local authors are unless they’re huge names. I went into a new Books-a-million in my neighborhood, and they couldn’t even look up my book on a computer or order it if they wanted to. I found it bizarre that the salespeople there have nothing to do with ordering or hand selling.


Once Upon a Romance reviewer, Robyn, and site host, Connie

Most recently Mary Connealy and I traveled to Independence, Missouri, a Kansas City suburb, where we signed at Dog-eared Books, a lovely new and used bookstore, owned by Tina.


Tina’s cohort Connie works at the store and hosts a reader website Once Upon a Romance, where you will find reviews and recipes and news about authors. Connie always bakes cookies for the authors, and we weren’t disappointed this time. How she gets them uniform and prettily perfect is beyond me. Yummy, too.


standing: Connie, Tina and Dorothy - sitting: Victoria Alexander and Cheryl St.John


Traveling with Mary and I from Nebraska was Robyn Roberts, who reviews at Once Upon a Romance, along with Connie’s sister, Trudy. Robyn and I have made the trip to Missouri more than once—more than twice—we kind of like those gals and their readers.


Signing with us was the always delightful Bobbi Smith, Queen of the Western Romance, who has of course been a guest here in the past. Her newest book is called Runaway. And joining us, another Nebraska gal, Julie Miller, who signed copies of her new Intrigue, Pulling the Trigger. Julie had her 2009 Romantic Times Career Achievement Award there for us to admire.


back l to r: Tina and Connie, front l to r: Julie Miller, Mary Connealy, Cheryl St.John, Bobbi Smith
back l to r: Connie and Tina - front l to r: Julie Miller, Mary Connealy, Cheryl St.John, Bobbi Smith

I thought you’d enjoy seeing a few pics of years past as well.

When I learn about a romance author coming to my city, I usually make it to the bookstore to support them. I’ve been to those of Susan Wiggs, Susan Crandall and Linda Lael Miller to name a few.

When LLM was here, Pam Crooks and I went to see her and booked her for a blog here. I’m sure you’ll remember that one.

dsc00002Sometimes readers are too shy to approach the author, but will come back later and pick up a signed book. Have you been to many author signings? If you went, did you enjoy talking to the author?




Pam Crooks, Linda Lael Miller, Cheryl St.John
Pam Crooks, Linda Lael Miller, Cheryl St.John




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31 thoughts on “Cheryl St.John Dishes On Booksignings”

  1. I’ve not had the privilege to go to any book signings. However, would love to. I think it would be neat to speak with the ladies I love to read. Have a great day.

  2. I’ve been hearing lately that many authors are moving away from signings because they don’t prove very profitable. I would think that doing multipe-author signings like the ones you pictured would be a step in the right direction.

    You don’t have to sit or stand alone, embarrassed and uncomfortable as people sidestep the table to avoid making eye-contact. At least with multiple authors, you can chat and have fun. Plus if you write similar genres, you might be able to pick up new readers from those who are already dedicated followers of one of your co-signers. How do you arrange these multiple author signings though? Is it all who you know in the industry and what relationships you’ve already developed?

    Thanks for sharing the pictures.

    By the way, I just finished The Preacher’s Wife and thoroughly enjoyed it. I look forward to your next Love Inspired title.

  3. The book signing was fun, Cheryl.
    I had a bookstore event manager tell me once — after a pretty demoralizing signing with people just streaming past me not buying — that she thinks people are afraid of authors. But she had me sign every book she’d ordered and promised me they’d all sell fast.

    Once my scary presence was no more.

  4. It sounds like you two had a great time at Dog Eared Books! The booksellers make a signing great or not so much fun. But meeting the readers is what it’s all about.

    Loved The Preacher’s Wife, Cheryl. Congrats!

  5. Mary, I finally figured out that if I invited passersby to browse by telling them it’s free to look, most laughed and stopped to at least read the back cover blurb. And most of them bought a book. But you’re right, we must be scary. I’ve had people sidle all the way down a wall of magazines just to keep from looking my way. 😀

  6. The only book signing event I have ever been to was Dick Clark years ago. Kind of ages me I guess. I think it would be fun to go to a book signing with multiple authors.

  7. There are not many book signings in Norfolk, NE. Mary C. has been here and I have gone to see her both times. The Abby might consider putting the guest more to the front of the store than way in the back.
    A multiple booksigning would be a lot of fun, but our town is probably not big enough to attract a big crowd.

  8. Hi Cheryl!

    You know when I first got in this business, I, too, used to do booksigning after booksigning and would travel far and wide to do them. I don’t do that as much anymore, because like you discovered, I’ve found that booksellers at places like Books-a-million and Borders and even Barnes & Noble don’t seem to care. I’ve been touring a bit here locally for my new book and I found that not only could the people at the bookstore not find my book that was in their store, they didn’t seem to care. And yet there it was on their computer that the book was in the store. It was a little maddening.

    They just go to a job like punching in a card — and you’re right, we used to have so many independent booksellers.

    Well, I think that we are now in a environment where the return of independent booksellers would be most welcome. With B & N buying up the Bookstars and B. Daltons and then closing them and Borders buying up Waldenbooks and then closing them, there are less and less bookstores out there nowadays.

    When we had B. Daltons & Bookstars and Books-a-million and B & N and Waldens and Borders and gee, what was that bookstore that starts with a C — anyway, there was so much competition, that the independents couldn’t keep up.

    But now with the people who work at these stores becoming less and less interested in the books and service is dropping off so much, I think we might start seeing once again the rise in independent bookstores.

    And this would be most very welcome, I think.

  9. Cheryl, I’m soooo jealous. I’d love to have been with you and Pam when you attended LLM’s booksigning! That would be a treat. She writes the most wonderful westerns, both contemporary and historical.

    Looks like you and Mary had a great time at the booksigning. Glad you found a warm welcome at Dog-eared Books. Like you said, not all bookstores are that open and friendly.

    I’m about halfway finished with The Preacher’s Wife and it’s driving me crazy that I don’t have time to sit down and devour it. Love the characters and the plot is unfolding like the petals of an opening rose, slow and with wonderful promise!

  10. By the way, Cheryl, I finished The Preachers Wife last night…one sitting.
    I loved it. Did you know I have a daughter named Josie? Joslyn actually but we called her Josie all her life. You named that heroine after her didn’t you?

    Just say yes.

  11. Hi Cheryl, First chance I’ve been able to read P&P for a few months. I have gone to one booksigning. That was for Rae Muir. She only wrote a few books, but she was from the Owens Valley of California and lived up Bishop Creek Canyon out of Bishop California. So the one and only book store in Bishop had a signing, (they actually gave her several) and I went to the first. I had to travel 60 miles to do it, but loved it. She also had one in Mammoth, just up the road. Our bookstore (Spellbinder) has had many booksignings for local authors and they get a fairly good crowd.

  12. hi Cheryl, your book signing picturs are wonderful. I agree, they’re more fun done in herds. I just ordered Preachers Wife and cannot wait. I love a good book.

    I would love an independent neighborhood bookstore. I far prefer doing business on the small-scale. And I used to love wandering through the mall bookstores while I shopped for other stuff…now the B and N’s and Borders around here are stand alone.

    Thanks for the peek into your booksigning adventures! oxoxox

  13. Hi there Cheryl,
    I haven’t yet had the pleasure of doing a book signing. My first will be the RWA Literacy event in DC! I’m so excited.

    I wish times were of old where there were still lots of independent book stores because I think signings would be so much fun. Still I’m looking forward to some group signings some Sacramento authors are putting together.

    Loved all your pictures. Thanks for the post.
    ~Caroline (Bowie)

  14. Karen, thank you for your compliment on The Preacher’s Wife. I just proposed Elisabeth’s story.

    If a bookseller is interested and you can develop a relationship, it’s not difficult to arrange a multi-author signing. My RWA chapter has arranged a few in the past and called upon our local authors.

    I’ve been approached many times by the bookstore and asked who else I know who would be willing to come.

    This particular bookstore has invited me several times, and they sometimes ask if someone else near me would be willing to come. It is advantageous to have several authors because each person’s following creates a crossover interest.

  15. Karen, when the big chain stores became anchors in the malls, they had contract clauses that the mall agreed not to renew leases for the independents, the Christian stores or even Waldenbooks. Sad day when we lost touch with those devoted booksellers.

  16. Cheryl, thanks for posting the pictures. It looks like it was so much fun. Now you need to come to the Atlanta area!

  17. I haven’t attended any booksignings and dearly wish I had been able to attend the one to which I was looking forward. I got a card about a visit to Houston by Debbie Macomber. A sudden illness kept me from attending. There are several authors who reside in the area, I’ll just have to watch for notices about their signings. BTW Cheryl, I just read The Preacher’s Wife and I’ve recommended it to my sister.

    Pat Cochran


  18. Hi Cher- Loved the pictures of your booksignings! I must admit, I used to enjoy doing them at local smaller bookstores, but you’re right, the biggest book stores don’t seem to care. I approached a manager and my local Barnes and Noble and the first thing out of her mouth was, “Do you have a following?”

    But our chapter meets in a beautiful Barnes and Noble and we have occasional booksignings there after the meetings. I DO think regular folk are shy about coming up to you at a booksigning.

    I signed once with Debbie Macomber in a little bookstore. Was so much fun being on her coattails. I also met LLM once and she was really nice.

    Happy Blogging!!

  19. Cheryl, thank you for the pictures and the booksigning stories. I’m thankful there are still independent booksellers out there who are so supportive. And of course all of US need to support THEM, so they’ll still be there…

  20. Sound like you all had fun I wish I could have gone but couldn’t make it. I don’t think my husband would let me go any ways I would go crazy buying books!

  21. I have been lucky enough to meet several local authors, talk with them, and have them sign my books. It is very enjoyable to have time to chat, discuss writing, genres, writing as a living, future plans, whatever. We have had a few local authors come to The small county library where I work. One of my co-workers was checking into having a “name” author come and choked. Of course she was looking at best selling novel authors. Some area libraries have had big name authors, but their budget for the visit is probably 2 or 3 times our yearly book budget. It is a hard area to judge. We publicize things well and nobody shows up. Would hate to do that to an author.

  22. I have never had the chance to go to a booksigning but have always wanted to. The town I live near does not have a bookstore anymore, it has closed. So we have to depend on Kroger, Walmart, K-mart to get books or order from Amazon.

  23. Cheryl I have been to several book signings I love seeing all the authors and getting my books signed. I waited 5 hours in line to meet Janet Evanovich I have read all her books she has written just like yours. I was only out of there in 5 hours because they found out my daughter was pregnant and it was hot in the building and didn’t want her to pass out ( that was one really good times to be pregnant LOL).
    I can’t wait to go to your next signing.

  24. Hi Cheryl! Yes, it was great seeing you up at Dog-Eared Books. What fun!I love doing signings. After sitting alone writing all the time, it’s great to get out and visit with real people! And where would we be without our booksellers? And I’m half-way through The Preacher’s Wife and it’s wonderful, just like all your books!

  25. Cheryl, Just finished Preacher’s Wife…LOVED IT!

    I love to go to book signings! Drove 2 hours to one of yours in Omaha. I first started reading your books after meeting you in nearby Norfolk.

    I have also driven to Grand Island to a book signing by Mary and one by Julie.

    You gals always make me feel so welcome!

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