When At A Signing

A few things I thought about as I wallowed in a room full of books and writers at RWA's Literacy Night.

For the buyers:

1. Bring a set amount of money. I wanted to read almost every single book I saw and the only thing that stopped me was the cash in my purse. :-)

2. Don't be rude in your enthusiasm. I was looking forward to meeting a major bestselling author, but I was so excited that as I look back, I seriously think I may have overwhelmed or, worse, offended her with my yapping.

For the authors:

1. Postcards and bookmarks are okay. I don't really use either though.

2. Don't scowl. Seriously, it was only a few people and as a writer I realize they were probably scared and nervous in their booths, but a reader might not know that. No smiling is no-no. Fake your joy, if you have to!

But the majority of authors I saw were peppy and happy and wonderful to be around!

If you've gone to book signings, what do you think works? What doesn't? If you had a book signing, what would you do there? Would you have to fake a smile?


Melissa said…
The amount of money I have on hand seriously saves me from spending all of my money at once sometimes. I keep hearing how great RWA was, I'm glad you seemed to have fun!
Tabitha Bird said…
Yes, please fake smiles!
It does us writing folk the world of good to think that we might just be a teensy bit happy when our books are published and we are sitting at a book signing for our very own book. If arriving with your own published book at a book sighing is not the joy and smiles I am anticipating, I don't want to know. I really don't. Fake it for me. Please :)
Katie Ganshert said…
Scowling would weird me out. For sure - smiles are a must! Great tips, Jessica!
patti said…
Sigh. I've probably done over 30 signings now...and I see God working in EVERY one of them!
What people seem to love is that personal moment I take to chat one and one, to inscribe something personal in the book they've spent hard-earned $$ on.

My most-well-attended signing was over 200 folks. The B&N employees got anxious over people having to wait, yet later told me they were shocked that people didn't MIND waiting because they wanted to say hi, etc. Of course this was in my home town! So don't get the wrong idea!

Be the person God made you to be always works for me. Excited. Goofy. Spirit-led, but me.
I kinda like those bookmarks doohickies.

I'm not a scowlers, but when I'm not smiling I look sad. I get, "What's wrong?" a lot when often I'm just deep in thought or the usual...tired.

When the day comes I'll want to make sure not to look sad. ;)
~ Wendy
Kristen Painter said…
Still can't believe I didn't get to see you!
Linda Kage said…
A book signing...sigh. That sounds like heaven on earth. I wish I could go. Thanks for the tips, so I know what to do once I get my dream come true.
Jaime Wright said…
Jessica, you crack me up!! You bring nothing but joy face to face, so I'm sure your author thoroughly enjoyed your "yapping"

You comin' to ACFW?? You didn't throw me over for RWA did you?!?! :)
Faith said…
Oh, I'm sure the author didn't mind! Any decent person would be flattered by a fan's nervousness or gushing :)

Interesting that you mention some authors sitting around scowling. That's really too bad! Maybe they'd had a rough day... or something...

Glad you had such a good time at RWA! I hope I can go next year.
Diane said…
I think a lot of people get "star struck" and act out of character. I always try to think of them as just like me. :O)
Cindy R. Wilson said…
I understand bookmarks because you can reuse those, but the postcard things? I've gotten a few in books I've received and they're always so nice but I never know what to do with them.

And smiling--yes! For sure. Smiles go a long way.
Nancy said…
If I had a book signing, I don't think there would be any fake smiling going on. I'd be overjoyed and it would show, every time.
Stephanie Faris said…
In my 20s, I'd just co-founded the first ever Nashville RWA chapter and was trying to get people involved in supporting romance. It was announced Heather Graham (the author, not the actress) was coming for a booksigning at our fancy-schmancy HUGE bookstore here in Nashville. I tried to get everyone to go, but everyone had better things to do. It was a Tuesday night, so maybe that was why. Anyway, I showed up and she had a small line of three or four people. They disappeared and she signed my book...but I was the last one and she still had an hour to go. I stood there and talked to her but, seriously, NOBODY ELSE showed up. I don't know why but I think it's because that bookseller was a little snobby about romance and didn't publicize it much. I was a newbie and was able to talk for a full hour with a highly respected best-selling author. How many people get that chance? She was WONDERFUL. Then, ironically, when I worked the Southern Festival of Books, they assigned me to escort her around. She didn't seem to remember me...but it was odd that of all the people speaking that day, I was assigned as her guide!
Tamika: said…
I would have a hard time not smiling:) There are so many authors I want to meet, and as a wannabe myself I would adore anyone who took the time to read my work.
Erica Vetsch said…
A set amount of $$ makes perfect sense for a book-addict like me. :)

It would be hard to approach anyone who was scowling, but I can't imagine scowling at a book-signing.

Don't worry about the impression you made on that big-name author. I'm sure you were your own delightful, friendly self and she loved it!
Terri Tiffany said…
Smiling would be top priortiy as well as talking with the people as sincerely as possible. I used to stand in author lines at CBA for years and I love the authors best who were genuine!
Jennifer Shirk said…
Please, yes, SMILE and look happy to be there. So many authors I walked by looked like their cat had just died. Not encouraging for buyers at all.
Karen Hossink said…
Hey Jessica! How are you doing???
I have never been to a 'book signing' but I've been to event where books were signed. Is that the same? *grin*
I can't imagine approaching someone who wasn't smiling, just as much as I can't imagine scowling if someone was approaching me for a signature.
Ya just gotta smile!
Hi Jess -

I've been to book signings where the author gave out pens, bookmarks, and CHOCOLATE. You can never go wrong with chocolate. :)

At another signing, the store owner and authors donated books for drawings. Great fun!

Jessica Nelson said…
Love all your comments! It's been crazy where I'm at but hopefully I'll be visiting you all soon.
anita said…
I know for a fact that someday WHEN I have my book signings, I'm going to be smiling ear to ear. I've worked for too long and too hard not to bask in the accomplishment. Heh...

Plus, I want these readers to think of happy things each time they pick up one of my books. I want them to like me as a person, which will inspire them to be even more faithful as fans.

I could go on and on. You can see I've thought A LOT about my future book signings. ;-)
I grin like a Cheshire cat when I am nervous so smiling wouldn't be a problem.

Ah, cash in purse and a room full of books...sweet dreams.:)
Karen Lange said…
Great tips! Sounds like you had a good adventure. As an author, I would want to be upbeat and friendly, even if I were having a challenging day. This might be the only time someone has to meet me, and I would want to make a good impression.
Have a great weekend!
Angie Muresan said…
Oh, I love your new look!
I love it when authors smile and make small talk. I like to feel I've connected to them somehow.
Keli Gwyn said…
Jessie, I was glad I had a chance to meet you in person at the Literacy Autographing. I shared a picture of the two of us at my blog Romance Writers on the Journey today (August 13).

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