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Nicholas Sparks: behind the scenes at book signing plus a giveaway

October 27, 2011

1300 books +

4 employees +

13 volunteers +

over 900 fans =

Nicholas Sparks book signing

Nicholas Sparks‘ newest book, The Best of Me, was released on October 11 and he came to my neck of the woods on October 12.  If you’ve never experienced one before, let me tell you, a Nicholas Sparks event is HUGE.  Fiction Addiction is a small store, so they have to hold the event off site to accommodate the crowds that will show up.  When the owner asked me if I’d be available to help out that day, I thought it would be fun to get a behind the scenes peek at an event like this.  (Click on the photos if you want to see them larger.)

The official signing was from 5:00 to 8:00 PM and I was asked to arrive at noon.  My first assignment was to work at the pre-order table.  This was where people who had already purchased a copy of the book picked it up.  I was given my instructions and people started showing up right away.  I waited on people from at least five different states – some had driven over nine hours and had come in the day before for this event.  Most people had ordered one book, but several had ordered two or three.  I think the most I saw in one order was twenty five books – she said they were Christmas gifts for her co-workers.  The picture to the left is the boxes of pre-ordered books – people asked me for the boxes when they were emptied.

Sparks arrived on site around 12:50 and was immediately taken to the room where the signing would take place.  The first thing he did was an interview with a local TV station and then he set about the task of signing all the books that people who couldn’t attend the event had pre-ordered.  Just looking at that stack of books made my hand cramp!  Signing those books took close to an hour, and then it was time to let the crowds in.

At approximately 2:00, Sparks stood up and spoke to the crowd a little bit and then he started signing books for those who had been patiently waiting in line.  Each person who came up was invited to sit in the chair next to him and chat while he signed their book.  He made sure to thank every single person who came.  He also posed for photos for everyone who wanted their picture taken with him.   At this point, I was still at the pre-order table, so I could see everyone as they were leaving.  Every single person left there with a smile, and many were giggling and checking the photo on their phone or camera.  I heard one young woman  exclaim, “I’m in love with an old man,” which made me laugh since Sparks is only 45.  At around 4:00, I was relieved at the pre-order table and was assigned the task of taking photos for anyone who wanted one and didn’t have someone with them to take it.  It was pretty challenging and fun trying to figure out all the different cameras and phones!

This event ran like clockwork thanks to the organizational skills of the owner of Fiction Addiction and I had many people thank me and tell me how pleased they were with the way thing went.  I had so much fun, I plan to work the event next year, if they’ll have me.  While I was there, I managed to snag a signed copy of the book for one lucky reader.  To enter to win an autographed copy of THE BEST OF ME by Nicholas Sparks, simply fill out the entry form.  Contest is open worldwide.  I will use random.org to determine the winner. Contest ends at midnight EST Thursday, November 10, 2011.   Winner will be announced on Friday, November 11, 2011.  Comments are welcome (and appreciated) but will not get you an entry in the contest.

43 Comments leave one →
  1. Lilly permalink
    October 27, 2011 6:12 am

    It looks like it was a fun day!
    Thanks a lot for this great giveaway.

  2. October 27, 2011 6:33 am

    I’ve never been at a book signing with so many people! Maybe 200 at a Debbie Macomber event a couple of years ago but 900? Wow. And all for “an old man” 😉

  3. October 27, 2011 6:38 am

    After all the awful things I’d heard about the man, it kinda warms the cockles of my heart that he was so patient and kind to these crazy women! They are his bread and butter, so he should be! Thank you for sharing your pictures and your experience, and promoting goodwill for Sparks. And cross your fingers we can woo him down to Orlando to our Adult LIteracy League function!

  4. October 27, 2011 7:06 am

    what fun! sounds like a great event, how wonderful to have the opportunity to be part of it. thanks for sharing the experience

  5. October 27, 2011 7:12 am

    Wowowowowow. What an event. How exciting that you got to work it. He sounds like a true gentleman.

  6. October 27, 2011 7:24 am

    Sooo exciting to be part of such a huge event!

  7. October 27, 2011 7:47 am

    I have never been to a signing event like this one, thank you so much for a glimpse behind the scenes. It’s so nice to hear that Mr. Sparks was gracious and kind – I would think so from reading his books, but it’s still good to know my assumptions are true.

  8. October 27, 2011 7:55 am

    I read this book over the weekend (will post review later today). There were a few tears shed near the end. He’s a good story teller!

    What a wonderful event, you do get to several author events… love reading about them.

  9. October 27, 2011 8:11 am

    I always look forward to a new Nicholas Sparks book when it comes out! How fun to work such a big event! All those books and people! How does one sign that many books without getting tired. My hand was cramping just reading about it! Thanks for offering a giveaway!

  10. October 27, 2011 8:24 am

    This was really interesting, thanks for sharing Kathy! That is quite a crowd.

  11. October 27, 2011 8:38 am

    What fun that you got to be a part of it!

  12. kaye permalink
    October 27, 2011 8:42 am

    45 is old? That made me chuckle. I’ll have to tell my daughter who just turned 44. What a huge turnout!

  13. October 27, 2011 8:47 am

    What an event! I loved getting an inside peek into what went into this signing, and I bet that it was a lot of work for you. Kathy, you are amazing with all that you do in the service of books and reading. I am glad to hear that Sparks was so genuinely pleasant to his fans. Great post and photos today!

  14. October 27, 2011 9:21 am

    How cool. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  15. October 27, 2011 9:53 am

    Oh, that sounds so exciting! I would love to help out at an event like that.

  16. October 27, 2011 11:02 am

    I was at one of his signings, when he first started out, it wasn’t on this scale.

  17. October 27, 2011 12:09 pm

    Oh my God! I would love to have a signed book from Nicholas Sparks! I hope I win.

  18. October 27, 2011 12:10 pm

    Oh my God! I would love to have a signed book from Nicholas Sparks! I hope I win.

  19. October 27, 2011 12:28 pm

    Souns like you had a great time at the signing! I hope that I can go to a signing very soon too. 🙂

  20. Sonia Hernandez permalink
    October 27, 2011 1:20 pm

    Love your post! It’s great to see how a book signing is organized.
    I never imagined all the logistics that must be arranged.

    Thanks for sharing! 😀

  21. Jennifer permalink
    October 27, 2011 1:39 pm

    I can’t wait to read this book! That would be awesome to win a signed copy! Great article!

  22. October 27, 2011 1:40 pm

    Wow! Thanks for sharing this event with us, Kathy! If I win, I’ll be doing the happy dance!!

  23. October 27, 2011 2:26 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this – it really gives me hope. I can’t count how many times I’ve been to a book signing and when I ask for a photo, either the author or the bookstore volunteer/employee or author representative replies with a flat-out “NO” and points to all the people in line. I never ask anymore if I get anything signed at any kind of event. I’ve never read any of Nicholas Sparks’ books, but I’m really glad to read how much time he spends with the fans!

  24. October 27, 2011 3:28 pm

    Ohhhhh…..the poor man must had had carpal tunnel by the end of the day. How lucky to be asked to help and be part of that. Had to be exciting!!!!

  25. October 27, 2011 3:28 pm

    Volunteering to help is something I would do. I always like being in the background but still there to meet the author. I’m not a fan of Nicholas Sparks but happy he was so nice to everyone.

  26. October 27, 2011 3:38 pm

    So many people at the book signing! :0 It must have been exciting!

    Thanks for the great giveaway 🙂

  27. October 27, 2011 3:58 pm

    Another fun author event for you…awesome!!!

  28. October 27, 2011 4:20 pm

    I still read most of his books,but I have spread my wings from just his books a few other authors.
    What a huge event!!

  29. October 27, 2011 5:08 pm

    What a great behind the scenes look. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I loved organizing large events like this in college for poetry, but alas, I haven’t had the opportunity to do so since then. Sounds like you had a great time and that Sparks is very gracious to his fans. I know my hand would be cramped from signing all those books.

    • October 27, 2011 5:09 pm

      BTW, I directed my mom to your giveaway online and read the post to her over the phone since she’s computer illiterate…so I helped her enter too. She’s a big fan. I thought she’d get a kick out of your post. besides I had news about Wiggles…she crawling forward!

  30. October 27, 2011 5:38 pm

    That was so much fun to hear about an event like this from a different perspective. Wish I lived near Fiction Addiction. I’d volunteer too.

  31. October 27, 2011 6:21 pm

    Kathy, what a fun post. Thanks for giving us a behind-the-scenes look at a book signing for a major author. And what a good sport you were for volunteering to lend a hand.

    I attended a Nicholas Sparks signing for “Nights in Rodanthe” when it was first released, and he was such a personable guy.

  32. October 27, 2011 8:18 pm

    What a fun day for you! He did come to Montreal last year but the line was so long we ended up leaving.

  33. October 27, 2011 8:51 pm

    That sounds like one of the best events ever (and that’s because you were behind-the-scenes). And 900 people for a book signing!

  34. October 28, 2011 1:22 am

    Wow that is a lot of people there 😀

  35. October 29, 2011 2:44 am

    Wow, that’s huge! He’s like a rock star. Hope all had fun!

  36. October 29, 2011 5:52 pm

    Hey hey HEY!
    “Old man” at 45? I agree with you, this is a prime case of Premature Adjective!
    What does this make me as I quickly approach the horrid age of 48?
    A dotard?

  37. October 29, 2011 5:56 pm

    I can’t even imagine signing that many books in one sitting. The cramps he must get in his hands!

  38. October 29, 2011 10:30 pm

    Wow! That is amazing. I have never read a Sparks novel, although I do have several on my shelf, and just knowing how well he treats his readers makes me want to read one (and hopefully like it!).
    Looks like a fun event to help with.

  39. October 30, 2011 5:49 pm

    I think that would be a blast to help out for the day! Thanks for the inside scoop!!

  40. November 1, 2011 8:44 am

    You’re a brave woman to deal with that crowd! I think it’s nice that he takes the time to sit with and thank his fans.

  41. November 2, 2011 11:25 am

    It sounds like you had a fabulous time! Thank you so much for the giveaway, too! 🙂

  42. November 2, 2011 8:49 pm

    What fun! I can just imagine the crowds that Sparks would draw. He’s certainly one of my favorites.

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