Book signing, author events, or book parties?

As long as I have been reading, I love going to author events and books signings. I used to own a bookstore and that was one of my favorite things to do...I've hosted events by tons of authors including Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Denise Swanson. I just love chatting with the authors and getting to know them and I love getting books signed. I have autographed copies from James Lee Burke, Alifair Burke, Joe Konrath, Robert Goldsborough, Jill Barnett, Tasha Alexander, Julia Buckley, David Morrell, Elaine Vietts, and so many more I can't even recall. I cherish them. But more than the books, I treasure the time I got to spend with the authors. Never a kinder man have I met than David Morrell.

But anyway, it seems that more and more the bookstores are making it next to impossible to get events scheduled. Sure it's easy with the big name authors, but as much as I like Nora Roberts, how many signed copies of her books do I really need? I want to get to know the new authors and meet some of my favorites who are working their way to the top.

What's your take on author events? Do you go to them? Do you like them? What, in your opinion makes a good author event? What can authors do to make signing events better? Do you like simple stand around and chat sessions? Readings? Presentations?

Come on, give it up...not only am I a reader, but I'm and author and a publisher and I'd really like to know the answers to these questions from the reader perspective.

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