Monday, August 15, 2016

Setting up a Book Signing Table

I've only participated in two signings as an author now, so I'm by no means an expert. However, I wanted to throw out a few suggestions for folks getting ready to do a book signing, based on what I've learned in participating, volunteering with setup, attending large signings, and visiting other friends doing single author signings.

Both of my signings have been at large events, with multiple authors participating, so there's a difference between this type and a single author signing. Your table setup will be similar between the two, though.


You want your table to bring people over to speak with you. It should be highly visible and make people want to wander over and see what's going on. There are a few things you can do that will draw the eye without being tacky.

It's a good idea to invest in book stands. Instead of having your books prone on the surface of the table, have some of them sitting up in a book stand or at least stand them against the prone books. You want them visible. There are many types, from the most basic to big ones that are more racks than stands.

It's a good idea to have a banner or blown up image of your book cover. If a banner, you should be able to tape it into the front of the table. If a blown up image, it's a good idea to have an easel to put it on. If you're signing at a bookstore, they may be providing the signage. This is something you'll want to inquire about when you arrange the signing. It's probably wise to keep your own signage in the car just in case something goes wrong.

If you are one author among many, either because you co-wrote a book or wrote a shorter piece in a collection/anthology/magazine, have a name plate. You can use cardstock or a thick paper and fold it in half with your name printed on either side. Or you can have something professionally made. People want to know who they're talking to. I found it caused confusion when I didn't have a nameplate at Denver Comic Con. Since I'd previously been provided one at Pikes Peak Writers Conference, I'd made the mistake of assuming this would be a regular thing.

I didn't do this, but I'd recommend having your own tablecloth, at least if it's a solo signing. Really, it would work at a larger signing, too. It looks nicer that way, and it can be eye catching to have that splash of color. Try to make it appropriate to the type of book you're selling. This is another item I'd say may be provided for you, but keep a spare with your signing items in the trunk of your car, just in case.


It's always a good idea to have swag to hand out. This way, people who aren't buying your book may look it up later, or look up other books you've written. Of course, you want swag for those buying, too. People like free things. And if those free things happen to encourage someone to buy your books, woo-hoo!

A big item is bookmarks. Have bookmarks with your name, web page, and current book cover (or a couple of your covers) on it. If you have a series, indicate this and possibly have the other covers on there, with the most recent being dominant. Hand these out to people who stop to chat, and include one with each book you sign. Some people sign their bookmarks. I'm not sure that matters, but it's up to you. An alternative or addition to this might be to do this postcard sized instead of bookmark, but people are more likely to use a bookmark.

Business cards. You should always have business cards with your name, web page, and any other information you want to give out. This should have your book cover on it. If you're selling a book that's not just yours (an anthology or magazine), you might just want cards that are themed to your writing, but don't have the book cover on it. Up to you. Give these cards out with the bookmarks or instead of them. If you make a professional connection at your signing, you need to have a card to give to them. I recommend against putting a phone number on them. You can write it on if you want someone to have it, but do you really want to hand your phone number out to a bunch of strangers?

Pens are another possibility. I met someone who has personalized pens with their name and website on them. They give them out to each person who buys a book or chats with them. I also read about someone who makes a point of signing with that pen, then handing it to them with the book. People use pens! And they're likely to walk away with one, anyway, so why not have it branded?


Dress nicely, or however appropriate to the event. I wore business casual at the writer's conference book signing, but went casual for Comic Con, which felt more appropriate to me. Unless you're dressing up in costume, make sure your appearance is pleasant and, it should go without saying, clean. Do your hair, wear some makeup (ladies), don't have dirty ragged nails.

Stand up! I stood through one signing, sat through the other. I engaged more people by standing up. Make eye contact. Start conversations. Say hi to people. Don't be an obnoxious salesperson, but do interact with people.

Other Stuff:

I've seen recommendations for and against this, so you'll want to consider whether it works for you or not, but having candy or a baked good at the table with you can draw people over to talk to you. Plus, people like sweet stuff. This is something you need to confirm is okay with the venue you're signing at, so you don't disrespect them by violating their rules.

If you have a newsletter, have a sign up sheet on the table. Let people know they can sign up for your newsletter, and tell them how it will benefit them. Do they get a free short story when they sign up? Will they hear about releases sooner? Are there discounts?

If you have other publications you are not selling at the event, you'll want to let people know about them. You can do this by including them on swag you're giving out, brochures/flyers, or a sign that has information on where to find them. I did a simple print-up with the covers of the books I was not selling (the ones that were e-book only), and a link for where to find out how to buy them (my blog). I wanted it to be easy to remember since I only had the one sign, but if I'd had more prep time, I would have printed up more to hand out or put it in postcard format to hand to people.

I've seen all kinds of eye-catching items at book signings, including feathered pens, photos, themed candy, cakes, skeletons, stuffed toys, dolls, figures, toys, etc. Make it your own. Make it something that will start conversations and draw the eye. Be interesting. Your purpose is to get people over to look at your books and, hopefully, buy them.

What do you recommend having (or not having) at a signing table? What have you learned from book signings you've participated in? What is one of the coolest things you've seen at an author's signing table? Any other suggestions?

May you find your Muse.

*My thanks out to Michelle Baker and Patrick Hester who took the photos in this post.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Horror List Book Review: Naked Lunch

I'm reading through three lists of best horror with two friends (DeAnna Knippling and M.B. Partlow), posting reviews as we go. (For more information, including a list of the books, see this post.) To see the books I've reviewed so far, you can view the list at the end of this post where I rank them.

This week I'm reviewing Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs.

I really struggled with this one. If I had to sum up what it was about it would go something like this: This book is hallucinogenic gay snuff porn. It's Fear and Trainspotting in Space Station, Port 9.

Alright, that's incredibly simplistic. The author was an addict (recovering?) who also happened to be homosexual. The book was intentionally (I believe?) cut up into quick scenes that location hopped, and were meant (again, I think?) to represent a druggie's way of seeing the world. There are aliens. There are drugs. There is a lot of sexual violence. There is a lot of American government bashing. 

If you enjoy Hunter S. Thompson, you would probably like this. It felt quite similar to me. He's considered to be of the Beatnik group, such as Kerouac, and he got a lot of support from that quarter.

Part of my problem was that you really have no concept of who the narrator is. There's no reasoning for the travel, or for the narrator being at these places. Is it omniscient? Possibly? 

My ADHD brain just couldn't get into this book. I think it took me two weeks to read.

I assume the "horror" this was supposed to represent was government overreach and drug addiction. But it was so nonsensical, I couldn't get that sense of horror. Then again, maybe the snuff porn was the horror, but it was so ridiculous and implausible there was no way I could get into it enough to care. I certainly couldn't get into the narrator's head. There was no character to identify with or even to care about. I. just. didn't. care. And, yes, I'm clear that it was satire, as well. I enjoy a good satire. I got the points being made. I just didn't enjoy reading it.

Interesting factoid: There were obscenity charges concerning this book, and an attempt to ban it state-wide in Massachusetts. The Supreme Court cleared it, and declared it protected by the 1st Amendment. The beginning of the edition I read has transcripts from folks like Norman Mailer and Allen Ginsberg, who staunchly defended the book.

Having said all that, there was something fascinating and compelling about the book, which is the thing that allowed me to continue instead of just giving up and deciding a review wasn't worth it. I wanted to understand it better, but I didn't have the time, the energy, or the attention span to do so. I think it would take several readings of this book to understand it better, and I believe each reading would illuminate something new, if not many somethings new. I'm just not willing to put in that time. More intellectual sorts might enjoy this book as a study and commentary. I read for entertainment.

My new rankings:

1. The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood)
2. The Bottoms (Joe R. Lansdale)
3. Coraline (Neil Gaiman)
4. A Choir of Ill Children (Tom Piccirilli)
6. The Year’s Best Fantasy: First Annual Collection (Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling)
7. Those Who Hunt the Night (Barbara Hambly)
9. The Stranger (Albert Camus)
10. Dead in the Water (Nancy Holder)
11. The Damnation Game (Clive Barker)
12. The Wolf's Hour (Robert McCammon)
13. Berserk (Tim Lebbon)
14. Prime Evil (Douglas E. Winter)
15. Best New Horror, Volume 1 (edited by Stephen Jones and Ramsey Campbell)
16. Flowers in the Attic (V.C. Andrews)
17. The Tomb (F. Paul Wilson)
18. Shadowland (Peter Straub)
19. Blood Meridian (Cormac McCarthy)
20. The Imago Sequence (Laird Barron)
21. My Soul to Keep (Tananarive Due)
22. Penpal (Dathan Auerbach)
23. World War Z (Max Brooks)
24. From the Dust Returned (Ray Bradbury) 
25. The Red Tree (Caitlin R. Kiernan)
26. In Silent Graves (Gary A. Braunbeck)
27. The Cipher (Kathe Koja)
28. Drawing Blood (Poppy Z. Brite)
29. The Doll Who Ate His Mother (Ramsey Campbell) 
30. Hotel Transylvania (Chelsea Quinn Yarbro)
31. Naked Lunch (William S. Burroughs)

The next book I read will be Roald Dahl's The Witches. I need a break.

Have you read Naked Lunch or seen the movie? What did you think? Have you read any of his other works, and are they similar? Do you have an example of good satire in novel form?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Mark Noce Blog Tour - Between Two Fires

Today, I'd like to welcome Mark Noce to The Warrior Muse. His debut novel, Between Two Fires, is releasing in about two weeks. Be sure to click on the link for his Thunderclap campaign in his social media links below, so you can help him out!

Saxon barbarians threaten to destroy medieval Wales. Lady Branwen becomes Wales’ last hope to unite their divided kingdoms when her father betroths her to a powerful Welsh warlord, the Hammer King.

But this fledgling alliance is fraught with enemies from within and without as Branwen herself becomes the target of assassinations and courtly intrigue. A young woman in a world of fierce warriors, she seeks to assert her own authority and preserve Wales against the barbarians. But when she falls for a young hedge knight named Artagan her world threatens to tear itself apart. Caught between her duty to her people and her love of a man she cannot have, Branwen must choose whether to preserve her royal marriage or to follow her heart. Somehow she must save her people and remain true to herself, before Saxon invaders and a mysterious traitor try to destroy her.

Praise from Bestselling Authors for Between Two Fires

“A spirited ride through a turbulent slice of Welsh history!” – Paula Brackston, NYT Bestselling author of The Witch’s Daughter

“A fast-paced read that has a wonderfully visual style and some memorable characters. Mark Noce combines Welsh history with a touch of folkloric magic in this promising debut novel. Lady Branwen is a strong and engaging narrator and the turbulent setting of early medieval Wales makes a fine backdrop for an action-packed story.” – Juliet Marillier, Bestselling author of Daughter of the Forest and Wolfskin

Release Date: August 23, 2016

Mark Noce writes historical fiction with a passion, and eagerly reads everything from fantasy to literature. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, he’s an avid traveler and backpacker, particularly in Europe and North America. He earned his BA and MA from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where he also met his beautiful wife. By day, he works as a Technical Writer, having spent much of his career at places like Google and Facebook. In addition to writing novels, he also writes short fiction online. When not reading or writing, he’s probably listening to U2, sailing his dad’s boat, or gardening with his family.

His debut novel, Between Two Fires, is being published by Thomas Dunne Books (an imprint of St. Martin's Press and Macmillan). It is the first in a series of historical fiction novels set in medieval Wales.

Thank you for stopping by, Mark, and good luck with the book release!

What do you guys think of the cover? It sounds good, doesn't it? Is this a time period you enjoy reading about? Have you signed up for his Thunderclap campaign?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Bish Denham - The Bowl and the Stone Cover Reveal & Links

Today, I'd like to welcome Bish Denham, for the cover reveal of The Bowl and the Stone!

You ready for it?

Here it comes...

Pirates. Explorers. And spooky ghost hunters.

It’s 1962. Sam and her best friend, Nick, have the whole island of St. John, in the U. S. Virgin Islands, as their playground. They’ve got 240 year-old sugar plantation ruins to explore, beaches to swim, and trails to hike.

But when a man disappears like a vapor right in front of them, they must confront a scary new reality. They’re being haunted. By whom? And why? He’s even creeping into Nick’s dreams.

They need help, but the one who might be able to give it is Trumps, a reclusive hunchback who doesn’t like people, especially kids. Are Sam and Nick brave enough to face him? And if they do, will he listen to them? 

Their carefree summer games turn into eerie hauntings, and Sam and Nick learn more about themselves and life than they could ever have imagined.

Pre-order today and enter the ghostly tale as soon as it releases.

Bish Denham, whose mother’s side of the family has been in the Caribbean for over one hundred years, was raised in the U. S. Virgin Islands. She still has lots of family living there whom she visits regularly. 

She says, “Growing up in the islands was like living inside a history book. Columbus named the islands, Sir Francis Drake sailed through the area, and Alexander Hamilton was raised on St. Croix. The ruins of hundreds of sugar plantations, built with the sweat and blood of slave labor, litter the islands. Then there were the pirates who plied the waters. It is within this atmosphere of wonder and mystery, that I grew up. Life for me was magical, and through my writing I hope to pass on some of that magic.”

The Bowl and the Stone: A Haunting Tale from the Virgin Islands, is her third book and second novel. You can find Anansi and Company: Retold Jamaican Tales and A Lizard’s Tail, at

To learn more about Bish, you can visit her blog, Random Thoughts, at www.http:/

She can also be found on Facebook:

And Twitter @BishDenham 

Thanks for stopping by, Bish. I love your author photo!


Link time! Bear in mind that I'm not endorsing these links, merely passing along those I happen across. Always do your own due diligence before submitting to a publication.

Accepting Submissions:

Pole to Pole Publishing is taking submissions of speculative short fiction for their anthology In a Cat's Eye. 3000-5000 words. Pays $.02/word, plus possibility of royalties. Deadline August 30.

Chicken Soup for the Soul is looking for submissions for Curvy & Confident. Up to 1200 words. Pays $200. Deadline August 30.

Frith Books is seeking horror short stories for Restless, an anthology. 7000-12,000 words. Pays $25. Deadline August 31.

ELJ Publications is seeking poetry, micro and flash fiction, flash essays, and hybrid works for Come as You Are. Pays $.01/word. Deadline August 31.

Contrary is seeking commentary, fiction, and poetry. Up to 1500 words. Pays $20. Deadline September 1.

Sirens Call is open for submissions to the themed anthology Alone With Your Fear. 4000-8000 words. Pays $25. Deadline September 1.

Geometry is seeking creative nonfiction and fiction. Up to 8000 words. Pays $.01 to $.03/word. Deadline September 1.

|tap| is seeking poetry and prose. Pays $25. Deadline September 1.


The Rotting Post is holding a humor competition. Up to 1000 words. First prize is $250. No entry fee. Deadline August 31.

Poets & Patrons is holding the Helen Schaible International Sonnet Contest. First prize $50. No entry fee. Deadline September 1.

What do you think of the cover? Isn't this the kind of adventure you would have loved to go on as a kid? What is your favorite childhood adventure? Any of these links of interest to you? Anything to share?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

IWSG - The Irks of Editing, New Release, Interview, & Links

It's the first Wednesday in August, which means it's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, created by Alex J. Cavanaugh.

By the time the September IWSG post comes along, the kids will be back in school, I will have been to World Con, and I will have officially been married 20 years! And so much more. August is a busy, busy month.

Co-hosts this month are Tamara Narayan, Tonja Drecker, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor,Lauren @ Pensuasion, Stephen Tremp, and Julie Flanders! Thanks for co-hosting!

This month's question is: What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published?

The first thing I wrote upon deciding I wanted to actually write a novel was a paranormal horror story. I only got a few chapters in. I then wrote a few short stories that I submitted and got rejected, then got so busy with school, work, and health issues that I gave up for awhile. None of those things have been published, but I might revisit the short stories. The novel is a lost cause, and that's okay.


This month's insecurity is really frustration with myself. I love the writing part, but not so much the editing part. I've got two novels needing to be edited. Instead, I write. It's time I buckle down and finish those edits. Both should be on the final round. I need to finish them and start querying! But I'm plagued with insecurities once I get through that fun part, and they hold me back, because this is the analysis portion of writing, and the more I think about it, the more doubts I have. I may love my stories, but will anyone else? The technicalities start to hang me up. Is this a sufficient story arc? Do my characters arc? Is the good guy good enough? Is the villain legitimately the hero of his or her own story? Are there too many cliches? So on and so forth. What I need to do is move past those and get the stories out there. I suppose I'll get my answer if they never sell.


As part of a larger interview, which will be posted next week, AmyBeth Frederick interviewed me on video. It's less than two minutes, so check it out!


My stats for July:

12 short story submissions
1 acceptance of an already published story by Audible
8 rejections
1 publication
2 new short stories turned in to critique group


My short story Shifting Sands came out in Dark Moon Digest, #24!

It's currently for sale on Amazon in paperback. It will be available in e-book soon.


Links! I took an unintentional break for a few weeks (somehow I screwed up and posted two posts the same day that were meant to be a week apart, and then I was out of town), so now I'm way behind on links!

Bear in mind that I'm not endorsing these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

Turn to Ash is seeking short fiction for a themed anthology. The story must be in the form of a phone call to a late night paranormal talk radio show. Up to 3000 words. Pays $.01/word. Deadline August 8.

The Lorelei Signal is accepting short fantasy stories. Must involve strong/complex female characters, though they do not have to be the main character. Up to 10,000 words. Pays flat fees between $2.00 and $7.50, depending upon submission type. Current deadline August 15.

World Weaver Press wants your Krampus stories for Krampusnacht Two, an anthology. 1000-10,000 words. Pays $10, plus contributor copy. Deadline August 15.

Revolving Door Press is seeking new fairy tales or retellings for the anthology "Turn Left at Grandmother's House." 500-7000 words. Also takes poetry and artwork. Pay for short fiction is $.06/word. Deadline August 15.

Splickety Publishing Group is taking submissions for Splickety Love with the theme "All's Fair in Love and Uniforms." Needs to be romance and have something to do with uniforms. 300-1000 words. Pays $.02/word. Deadline August 26.

Wicked Tales is open for submissions to their themed anthology "A Scratch at the Door." 3000-15,000 words. Paying publication. Deadline August 26.

Vine Leaves Literary Journal is seeking vignettes and poetry. Pays $5 AUD. Deadline August 31.

Farenheit Books is seeking submissions for their Spekulative Stories Anthology Series. The current theme is Automobilia. Up to 7500 words. Pays $.05/word. Deadline August 31.

Owl Hollow Press is accepting short stories for their anthology Dark Magic: Witches, Hackers, and Robots. Up to 8500 words. Pays $50, plus there is a Readers' Choice Award with an additional cash payment. Deadline August 31.

Blog Hops:

The August Write Edit Publish (WEP) Challenge is open for signups now. Theme "Gardens." Post on August 17.

What are your insecurities? How do you feel about editing? What's your favorite part, editing or writing? Have you submitted anything this month? Have you ever read Dark Moon Digest? Any of these links of interest? Anything to share?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Let's Talk Money - Taxes, Licenses, & Square

I've posted about my experiences at Denver Comic Con (DCC) already, but something that I wanted to address separately was a first I experienced there. Some events you speak at do book consignments, where you sign your books over to those running the event, they sell them, and they pay you the book sales minus a percentage cut they keep. For this, the event planners have to have or get a sales tax license, and they are responsible for collecting sales taxes and paying them. You have no responsibility to deal with the sales tax in this case; you just collect your check.

At DCC, each author was responsible for selling their own books. I didn't learn this until close to the event, which sent me into a bit of an anxiety spiral, so I thought I'd share what I learned from this experience to help someone else who may go through it.

Special Event Sales Tax License

Because I don't have a sales tax license, not having had solo title books released yet, I had to apply for a special event sales tax license for the state of Colorado, plus one for the city of Denver. Each had a small fee associated with it. I was able to print up the forms online to fill out, then mail the check in with the application. To find those you need to fill out, just do a search on your state/city and special event sales tax.

The state did send me a copy of the license, though I didn't get it until after the event, but Denver did not, and it said online that they wouldn't. So I made copies of both license applications with the checks, and made sure to have them with me at DCC. No one checked, but it did say on the DCC website that they would, so there is always a chance that the venue will check to be sure you're legal. You should be prepared, just in case.

Moolah & Square

The next issue to address was how to take money. Square was quick and easy to sign up for. I just went to their website, filled out the necessary information, and ordered the hardware. The initial piece of Square hardware is completely free, including shipping, so you don't have to invest any money in it at all. I hooked it to my checking account so the money would automatically be moved to my account at the end of the business day. There is also a setting to do an instant deposit, but I figured it would be better to do it all in the evening instead of having a bunch of little deposits. This comes with an additional percentage cost, too. Setting the deposits up involved putting in the bank information, at which time they did a transfer into the account to confirm it, then did a withdrawal of that amount.

I went ahead and also purchased their chip reader, which did have a cost associated with it, but I figured it was an investment for future selling opportunities. Plus, I was in that mindset, because we'd just had to get them for the nonprofit I volunteer for as treasurer, so I wasn't sure if they'd be required by individual business people, as well. (They are being required for businesses.)

Square also had the option to order signs showing you take credit cards, and what credit cards are accepted. That was free, including shipping, so I ordered one of those.

Finally, there was an option to send a link to install the Square Register app, which I had texted to my cell phone. The app installed quickly with no issues, and I went in and fiddled with the settings on there and online, including things like what your receipt will read, and whether you want its appearance personalized.

The next step was to put the sales tax into the Square app. There's an easy spot in the menu to do this. Click on "settings" then "taxes. Click "create tax." Enter the tax amount and give it a name (for instance, I named mine "Denver & State Tax" since that will not be my typical tax amount, considering I reside in Colorado Springs, not Denver.) Once it's in, you can turn it on or off.

When you get the Square hardware, it consists of a white, square-shaped reader that plugs into the headphone jack of your phone or tablet. You then slide a card through the slot on it. The chip reader is a bigger, flat white square with a couple lights on it. It has to be charged, unlike the regular Square reader, so be sure you do that in advance. It comes with instructions in the box for how to use it for swipes or chips. I didn't end up needing it.

Square is super easy to use. You enter the amount of each item, and it will add it up for you. If you have sales tax turned on, it adds the tax to each item as you enter it, and tallies the total at the end, so you will not need to have a separate calculator. When you've entered everything, you select "charge." Select payment type. Then you run the card through.

The customer will have to sign on your phone. Unless you want various fingerprints/smudges on there, you might want to find a simple stylus to use. Luckily, I had one on the end of a highlighter, so I just took that with me. It worked beautifully.

Note that Square takes a percentage of each sale. It differs, depending upon whether you are sliding a card or manually entering a card number (if the reader isn't reading the stripe.)

Cash Sales

The day before the event, I went to the bank to grab some petty cash. I also spent the evening rolling coins from our coin jar so I'd have a roll of each type. You can get money bags at office places like Staples. I had a couple left over from when I did Mary Kay, so I took one of those, but it was just a basic one. There are also locking ones you can get if you want the extra security. And cash boxes. And all kinds of things. Peruse. Choose. Yay.

You can use the Square app as your POS (point-of-sale) system, meaning if you take cash instead of card, you can still enter it into the app, just as you would use a register, and then you click to charge, and select "cash." It lets you enter the money tendered and tells you the change. Woo-hoo! Your cash sales appear with your credit card sales on the reports. It's fantastic! This is also true of check purchases. I did not have one of those, so I don't know if it has you enter the check number or anything like that.

No Signal, No Problem

I had read some comments on the DCC Facebook page before the event saying there were problems with cell phone signals at this venue last year, so I did a little research (Square makes it pretty easy), and discovered that Square can be taken offline if there are issues with the signal. Sure enough, I got there and discovered I had no signal. It was as easy as going into the menu and setting it to offline. It took the credit card payments and stored them in the system, and as soon as I had a signal again, they went through. To set to offline, you go to the menu, click "settings" then "offline mode." Slide the selector so it's on, and move forward with your sales.

Deposits & Taxes

Square automatically moved the money over at the end of the day, and they sent reports each day, so it made it easy to file the sales taxes, which had to be done by the 20th of the following month. I went ahead and did it about a week after the event, just to have it done with. My Denver taxes had to be printed up, filled out, and mailed in. The state taxes were completed online. I spent forever trying to register on their system, only to discover I didn't have to register to do a special event sales tax payment the way I'd need to with regular sales taxes if I had an ongoing license with them. Point being, it was way easier than I thought it was supposed to be. Whoops! It wasn't until I picked up the actual license they'd sent to me that I saw the instructions directing me to a different spot than the regular taxes. So, yeah, totally read all those words on your special event license. Sometimes they have instructions for filing.

Both of these tax types rounded the amount of sales, so my amount was $x.90, and I had to round up to the next whole dollar amount. They each then have a percentage to multiply that amount by, and you enter the amount. That's what you pay. Easy peasy.

Book Signings at Bookstores

I was curious how all this works at a book signing a person is doing at a bookstore like Barnes and Noble, so I asked a friend who has done several signings at bookstores. She said she consigned there the first time, so didn't have to have a sales tax license or POS system, and once her books were returnable to the original order company (usually Baker & Taylor or Ingram), they just ordered them and had them stocked on their own. So once again, no sales tax license or POS system needed. They had the books there already, they handled the payments and taxes, and she did the signings.

So far, in my experience, you'll do consignment at a conference, smaller convention, and possibly at a bookstore, if your books are not returnable to a source company. If your books are returnable, a bookstore or conference will order them for you when you do a signing there, but this means you don't get money paid directly to you. You'll get your royalty check later. It should be noted that I have no idea if they will ever order your books for you at a fan con, but from what I've seen, they will not. And at certain types of fan conventions (I asked a couple friends, and they said it is usually just at the big ones), you'll have to take payments on your own, meaning you have to get a special event sales tax license. You have to take and pay these taxes, even if you paid taxes on getting those copies of the books already. So when I ordered my cheaper copies via CreateSpace, I paid sales taxes, and then when I sold them, I had to charge sales tax and pay it again. You're welcome, government.

I don't know how consistent these methods are, so be sure to always check on your own behalf. This is just intended to give you an idea of what you might be able to expect at various types of events/locations. If you can't find how they handle the books online, and they don't give you that information in advance, give them a call or send them an email and ask. And do so in advance. You don't want to be scrambling for a sales tax license two weeks before the event.


Hopefully this saves someone else some time and/or panic. Just a tip: I made myself a sheet with a place to enter the sales amounts, plus tax amounts, totals paid, and method of payment. At the bottom of that sheet, I had the price of each book written down for easy reference, and so I wouldn't have to put stickers on the books as price tags (not all my books had amounts on the back.) You can actually enter each item into the Square register so you just select that item instead of punching in the dollar amount, but I chose not to do it that way. If I were doing bigger sales, I probably would have, but it didn't seem worth the work at the time. I'll have to play with that option before next time, though. I figure I can enter each book/magazine as it comes out, so it's in the system in case I need it.

Have you worked an event where you had to sell your books yourself? Did you know you had to get a sales tax license for it? What do you think of Square? Or do you use a different type of system, like PayPal, which I believe has a reader now? Have your events worked the same as I listed above, or have you found it's different?

May you find your Muse.

*Square images from
*Uncle Sam Pointing from, OCAL