I love book signings... they're fun. I get to meet readers in the flesh, which is a great change from sitting in front of a laptop talking to myself. I'm an easygoing sorta gal and I'll talk about pretty much anything, but the line has to be drawn somewhere... there are certain things that you should do at signings and certain things that you definitely shouldn't. I offer the following for prospective signing attendees everywhere... in the interest of author/reader relations:
1. This one should be obvious, but I've got to mention it because there is at least one chap out there (and I've met him) who doesn't know that you shouldn't attempt a full psychological analysis of any writer whilst he or she is signing books in a bookstore (or anywhere else for that matter, just in case you're thinking of targeting supermarkets next). The cover art for most books isn't produced by the author of the book, doesn't say anything about their current state of mind, and has nothing to do with their feelings of inadequacy during childhood (or the lack of genitals that reside on the outside). Persistence, after having been given an almost fatal dose of the freezy-cold eyes and single raised eyebrow, may result in one firm clout around the noggin with a lead-lined handbag (regardless of whether we are talking author or authoress here).
2. A signing is no place to introduce an author to God. The delivery of forceful arguments, even if they are accompanied by the production of copious amounts of supporting literature, may result in a loss of consciousness (brought on by the same handbag referred to previously).
3. A signing is no place to get thee a wife (or husband)... especially if the author's spouse is also attending. Do I need to mention that handbag again?
4. Aspiring authors, once you have that finished book saved onto your hard drive, it is unwise to print off eleventy-million copies and then scour the entertainment guides for book signings in your area with a view to taking a copy to each event. If you thought that handbag sounded lethal already, imagine the damage it could do when stuffed with an unwanted manuscript that runs to 800 pages.
5. Yes, the bookmarks are free, so please do take one... or two... perhaps even three at a push. Taking five hundred from a display is a tad excessive.
6. Last, but certainly not least... authors are always distressed to hear that those who attend signings have haemorrhoids the size of grapefruits, or other serious medical anomalies in the region of their nethers, but don't really like to discuss such matters at signings as it frightens the under-tens and the faint of heart. Author... doctor... they both do end with 'or', and both sign things (generally whilst seated), so it can be confusing, I know.
Now, I will finish off by saying that authors invariably get their ideas from a secret idea farm just south of Wimbledon, the best agents all hang out at the Slug & Lettuce public house in Stratford-upon-Avon on Wednesday afternoons (but you need to know the secret handshake, which I can teach you for fifty quid), and the budget cookery books are at the back, next to car maintenance and fly fishing.
Causes Gina Collia-Suzuki Supports
The World Wildlife Fund
Cancer Research UK