Our #BellesonWheels tour is going swimmingly, and of course the best part for our authors is meeting all of their fans at signings! We asked Katy Evans, author of the New Adult mega-hit REAL (and the subsequent REMY and MINE), to tell us about what things are essential to make a book signing fun for everyone, author and fans alike. Take it away, Katy!

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I still remember my very first signing. It was Book Bash, in Orlando, in 2013, and it was both scary and fantastic. I was very, very nervous for a full week before the event, but when I flew in to Orlando, I made certain that I carried everything I needed; swag, books, more swag, pens, and me.  I wasn’t even sure who would want to stop at my table or what I was supposed to do other than “sign” my books—but I learned quickly that signings aren’t just signings. They are, more importantly, a marvelous way for readers and authors to meet and to interact. I found myself meeting so many readers whom I had, through my books, made a deep connection with, and nerves quickly faded into excitement and joy. The funnest part is having the opportunity to talk about this love of books and romances with people who feel the same. The funnest parts of a signing are always the people you meet.

I know that I loved knowing where my readers were from. I loved finding out how you discovered my books, what you thought of them, what your favorite scenes were. I loved telling you all about what I was currently working on, and hearing stories about your blogs, your book boyfriends, and even how nervous you were. As nervous, apparently, as I had been. Signing your T-shirts, your books, and your bookmarks was just part of the fun, but meeting you in person always ends up being the best part of it all.

I also think that swag really make book signings stand out in the fun department, not because swag is generally free, but because each swag button, bookmark, keychain, or swag article, represents their book and author in the most different and wonderful ways. We are all so different, with different covers and marketing ideas, crazy little slogans and signatures; swag is the cutest conversation starter, like a little “party favor” that carries the message “Thank you for liking me enough to come to my party.” Swag, to me, says: “Thank you, you are very, very appreciated by me.” There is always so much love going around in book signings, the swag is just symbolic for all the appreciation and caring being exchanged from reader to author, author to reader there.

I am having a blast meeting so many of you who are taking the time to come meet all of us “Belles” –and we are definitely missing those of you who weren’t able to make it. But the great thing about signings is that there’s, hopefully, always another one on the horizon. So thank you so much, readers! For your support and the caring you give us and our work! It is meeting you that always makes me look forward to the next one.