Weekly Blog,  Writing & Publishing

Book Signings in the Age of Covid

Charles Oldham signing The Senator’s Son in the unlikeliest of locations.

Yesterday I was to have a book signing of Hatteras Island at a local Barnes & Noble. Late September signings are fun. They bring in a lot of people, for sales and also conversation, now that summer is winding down. Earlier this month it was canceled, though, “due to covid 19,” said the email, which added: “We are not sure when we will be able to host events again at this time.”

Join the crowd. Last month, I lost an Outer Banks bookstore signing. Then four days ago came word that the large, 4-1/2-day Bizarre Bazaar Christmas show in Richmond officially was off this year.

For the first year since 2005, I won’t have a signing.

The coronavirus has had other plans, as it has for everyone else. No doubt many of the world’s writers — I know it’s true for other Beach Glass Books authors like Charles Oldham, Roy Robbins, Anne Moss Rogers and others — have seen scheduled signings canceled, if they were even set in the first place.

Like almost everybody else on the planet, writers and bookstores have had to scurry to make other plans.

Sometimes they are in the oddest of settings.

Author Charles Oldham [pictured] this week drove hundreds of miles to sign cases of his popular 1905 true crime mystery, The Senator’s Son. The exotic location? An outdoor picnic table at a welcome center alongside North Carolina’s Interstate 95. But as a result, hundreds of signed copies are now available.

The loneliness of the long-distance signer.

Meanwhile, many bookstores are staging “virtual” signings — often including online interviews and the opportunity for readers to order signed copies. Beach Glass Books is partnering with bookstores now.

Soon they will be announcing these late-fall events. (You can sign up for emails.) We hope you’ll join in when they do.

Ray McAllister, former columnist of The Richmond Times-Dispatch and former editor of Boomer Magazine, is the award-winning author of six books, including four on North Carolina’s islands. Through Beach Glass Books, he is also the publisher of 10 books by other authors.