I just got back to New York from Minneapolis, where I had my first mystery signing ever at the Sisters in Crime booth at the Public Library Association's biennial meeting. What a kick! PLA is known as the best library convention for adult fiction, and ten thousand librarians showed up to confirm that. A good number of them passed by our booth--hey, do you suppose what the Sirens really yelled out to Odysseus and his crew was, "Do you like mysteries?"--and were delighted to accept free autographed copies of books by (in no particular order), Alex Sokoloff, Sujata Massey, Libby Fischer Hellmann, William Kent Krueger, Carl Brookins, Barbara Fister, and others, including me. Some were happy to have the books personally inscribed, others asked for autograph only, not because they expect us to become as collectible as Stephen King but because they plan to read the books and then donate them to their library's collection.
"We're seeding them," someone told me, explaining why we give the books away. St. Martin's generously gave me four boxes of books and shipped them to Minneapolis for me. They were all gone long before the end of my two hour signing slot. I then gave out chapbook "sneak previews" and bookmarks until those too ran out. When I wanted to give my seatmate on the plane back to New York a bookmark, I had to take it out of my own "airplane book."