It’s a massive book release summer, which means there are also a TON of author tours coming up. Events at Cons, workshops, regular signings…So here’s a bit about that.
1(these are in no particular order): Look before you ask.
Authors generally post tour info on their sites as soon as they have it confirmed. Publishers will also often put big events up on the author pages for their websites. Information is out there about the tours, signings, and other events, with where they’ll be held and what they’ll entail. Before you send an email or tweet or blog comment to the author asking- as eight hundred people in front of you have already asked- when they’re coming to your area, just check the website. THEN, if nothing’s listed anywhere that you can find, ask. But seriously, folks, they get eight million emails from people just like this, and so many of them ask the exact same things again and again. Just do a little research and save your chance for author contact for that burning question you’ve always wanted to ask.
2:When in doubt, check with the venue.
Every signing is going to have slightly different rules and restrictions. Some places you have to show up super early and get wristbands to show your general location in line. Some say you can bring your own books, some say you can bring your own books as long as you also purchase something at the store, some say that you have to purchase your books at the store but can bring them in with the receipt, some say you have to purchase them then and there. Venues will be apprised if the authors (or author handlers for the celebrities) have particular rules about whether or not you can take photos (and if so, whether or not you can get in there with them), whether or not they personalize, whether or not they’ll sign things other than books, as well as how many items people can bring to sign. There are a lot of things that suck more than showing up at a signing having spent money on a ton of books from somewhere else that the author won’t sign, but when it happens, you may or may not be able to think of anything. A simple call to the venue a few days in advance will tell you everything you need to know and save you a lot of hassle.
3: Be respectful.
Signings can vary from half a dozen to half a thousand, but every single other person is there for the exact same reason you are. Well, maybe not the one who was dragged along because he/she is the only one with a license or car but you get the drift. Everyone wants a chance to talk with the author, tell them how much they love the book(s) and gush about the characters and all that. Just be mindful of that. As you’re waiting, don’t begrudge the people in front of you, and when you actually get up to the table, don’t be an ass to the people behind you. It all balances out.
4: There’s a fine, fine line between fan and creeper.
You want to be very, very sure that you fall on the right side of this line. It can be hard to identify sometimes. The things that seem like they’ll be a really cool, funny schtick in theory may come off a little Fatal Attraction in person. Shrieking “OH MY GOD I LOVE YOU SO MUCH” can be a fairly normal reaction. Pulling down your pants to show them their name tattooed on your ass? Both illegal and terrifying. When in doubt as to where you fall on the line? Play it safe. It’s hard to get your book signed from the booking cell.
5: Be generous with the thank yous.
This seems like such a no-brainer but really, you’d be astonished at how much it gets overlooked. The author has written (an) amazing book(s) that you absolutely love, has now come (possibly) out the way to do this event, and he or she has just signed your book. Say thank you! And don’t forget the venue staff. Signings are incredibly, intensely stressful. Even when they’re fun, even if they’re small, there’s just SO much to putting them on. Hearing a thank you for a job well done? Definitely makes the event better for the staff.
6: Have fun, but pay extra attention to rule number 3.
You’re there to have fun, to see someone you admire, to get the books signed so you can pet the title page and grin like an idiot for years to come, and maybe some day down the line you can try to explain to your children exactly why they should care that this person scrawled their name in your book. Just remember rule number three.
For everyone who actually gets to attend the signings and Cons and workshops and all the fun shindigs- I’m jealous but happy for you. Go get ’em!
Until next time~