Did you hear that popping sound? That was the sound of me traveling to Boise Book Fest and popping my book signing cherry as an author! Book signings are a real thing. They happen all over the world and readers flock to them to see their favorite authors or to discover new ones. As a reader, I have been to a few (remember my meeting Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher?) and it is at these book signings that I actually met an amazing group of people, some authors and some not. It didn’t matter. They are totally my tribe. It was through the authors in this amazing group, that I found out about signing up for book signings as an author. And I was lucky enough to have the pleasure of popping my book signing cherry with a group of these authors (some of whom I had only met online and my Seester included) at Boise Book Fest.
I was so nervous. I don’t even know if the word nervous even begins to cover it to be honest. I had a lot of anxiety over the signing. What if nobody came over to my table? What if I didn’t sell any books? What if people didn’t want to read my books? It gave me such anxiety but knowing my BFF was coming with me made me feel so much better. We over packed per usual and caught a very early flight to Phoenix where we met up with Seester and BIL to catch the same flight to Boise. I am sure we were annoying to the poor lady who was stuck with us singing and poking each other through the rows in the plane and yelling “Peek-A-Boo” but we had fun.
After finally getting to our hotel in Boise, we chilled out a bit before setting up for the signing. Setting up was full of shenanigans as most of my author friends were there and we all helped each other in setting tables, putting up banners and table displays. I was super excited to see Teagan Hunter there as that girl is my #soulmate and I might have tackled her and her Marine hubby in the hallway pretty hard. BFF proceeded to start biting people as is her way and lots of laughter ensued at dinner later.
Then the day of the signing was upon us. I woke up super nervous with all those doubts floating around in my head. BFF told me it was going to be just fine and also bit me (she bites pretty hard) I think for good luck or just because she could. Either way it hurt and might have left a bruise. We put on our sweet new Fat Girl Running T-shirts and headed down into the room. Thank goodness I had BFF with me for this first signing as we all know I do not like to people. But people I did! Who knew doing a book signing would be so tiring and energizing at the same time? I met so many readers and guess what? I SOLD BOOKS! Yup, dear fans, there are now new readers with copies of my books in their hands and wearing my shirts! Can you believe it? I actually sold quite half the shirts I brought with me so I call that a success. Boom! First large book signing in the bag! I loved networking with other authors and hanging out with my favorite book people of all times. Poor BFF was stuck putting up with us for the weekend but luckily she loved most of them (as witnessed by the bite marks. Is she part vampire?).
I flew home satisfied that I had not only a fun weekend with other authors, but I sold books! I wasn’t sitting by myself at a table waiting for people to come by. I actually talked with readers, engaged them and got them to take a chance on me. Score! Also, now I have that ABBA song in my head….my head is a weird place.
Oh yeah. I didn’t die today. I was so anxious I thought I might die, but I didn’t. I am Fat Girl who popped her first book signing cherry Running. The experiment continues…
I am sitting here right now avoiding packing. I absolutely hate packing. I love to travel, but packing? Nope. Don’t love it even a little bit. I am not so sure which is even worse…the actual packing or the unpacking and all the laundry that comes with it. You should see me when I pack for one of our Disney trips. You would think by now that packing for a trip like that is easy. Yeah…no. I am a notorious over-packer. Half the stuff I pack I never use, but what if you might need it? Do you want to be caught without band aids and safety pins? No. You never know when you are going to need things. I take twice as much stuff as I probably need. I could never be one of those people who backpack through Europe with a pair of jeans and a toothbrush. Nope. First off that requires lots of outside time and I am such an indoor girl. But for traveling? Such an over-packer.
Take for example our recent four-day trip to Disneyland. I need five shirts right? No I need like ten. Yup. Ten. I might wanna change or if I spill on one and don’t want to walk around with Dole Whip on my boob all day so this requires twice the amount of shirts. Pants? Now pants can be worn for days, especially jeans or jean capris. Yeah so maybe three. Then since I never know the weather, this will require two hoodies and a rain jacket (none of which I will use of course). Double the unders and socks just in case and the unders need to match the bras which need to match the shirt choices. Jammies. You can’t forget jammies (well I have before but let’s not get into that). An extra pair of shoes in case you get wet on a ride and need to change shoes. Unless you are into walking around with squishy shoes. I am not. Oh we haven’t even gotten to the toiletries and makeup. Ugh. I fill a huge suitcase on my own. Now let’s remember that BFF and I drive to Disneyland. This now requires 2 coolers full of water and other drinks since we are driving across the desert and you never want to be without water doing that. It is an 8 hour trip so this will require lots of snacks (most of which we wont eat because we know where to stop and get different crap). I also need a smaller bag for the first night so I don’t have to take the bigger bag into that hotel. OH! Let’s not forget hair bows and headbands, watches and jewelry and all the things you need when you are old (like bengay, heat patches and pain meds). Lastly, there needs to be a bag full of electronics for the car. Things like the portable blu-ray player and movies, kindle, chargers, ipod, and whatever else is needed to keep BFF occupied while she is the passenger. This is how we ended up with eleven bags for bell services to hold when we checked in. Eleven bags between the two of us. Sigh. So ridiculous.
This trip I am currently packing for is different. It is a book signing so this require so much more than just the basics. Luckily, I don’t have to pack books to take to the signing as one of my friends lives there and I shipped them to her. Whew. That would be a whole extra bag. And a heavy one at that. Ugh. But my big suitcase is already mostly full and I haven’t even put in clothes yet. I have to pack my banner, bookmarks and candy, trays and markers, cash and money bag and cups/water bottles and t-shirts (YES!! I got t-shirts!). Speaking of t-shirts, I did a thing and had custom Fat Girl Running shirts made. If you are in my fan group on Facebook (and why aren’t you?) then you already have the opportunity to order shirts at special prices. Fat Girl Nation is the place to be I tell you so get in there! Shirts will be up here on the blog on the merchandise form! How cute are these shirts? Made by Mockingbird Apparel, these shirts say “I didn’t die today” on the front and my branding on the back. Her shop is awesome and full of nerdy shirts galore. I can’t wait to see pics of you guys wearing your shirts! But first, I must go finish packing. I shall fill you all in on the signing when I get back.
Oh yeah. I didn’t die today. I did however procrastinate packing and wish I could pack lighter but I didn’t die. I am Fat Girl over-packer now with custom t-shirts Running. The experiment continues…
All this writing about Austin Book Fest makes me remember that I am about to be an author at the Boise Book Fest in October! What? I really hope that some of you readers come find me and Seester there and buy some books. I would love to meet some of you! That being said, let’s talk about going to a book signing and what you should expect or basically book signing etiquette 101. I mean, we all know I have told you the etiquette for comicon and really a book signing also has some etiquette rules. Not every one will be as courteous as you, but at least you won’t be THAT person at some event. Main rule is this: Don’t be a dick.
First off, look at the rules set by the book signing. If it says you can only bring in a certain number of books by an author, then try to stay at that number. If you have more than the allowed number, be courteous and get out of line and get back in. Seester and I stood behind a lady who not only pulled out about 20 books, but also had bags and bookmarks and all sorts of stuff for the author to sign. I understand that bloggers might want a lot of stuff signed to give away, (I mean I am a blogger too remember? Plus, I have a book blog on Facebook called Devouring Pages) but at least try to notice that there are others behind you. It was super frustrating to us as we had other authors to see at ABF, and this bonehead had to take up our time as well as that author’s time. It had to have been overwhelming to the author to watch her pull out that much stuff out of her bag like it was Mary Poppin’s bag. Where did she keep it all? At most signings, authors have their books for sale anyways so you can always buy them there, providing they don’t run out. But really, be considerate of the other fans in line behind you. Now is not the time to start an hour-long conversation about a plot point in a book or about why the author killed off your favorite character. That is what email is for. On the other hand, if you have something you want to gift your favorite author, then bring it. I watched a friend of mine bring Rachel Hollis a framed scripture quote for her baby nursery and Rachel was super excited and grateful for the thought she put into the gift. (A side note….I once sent Rachel Hollis a shit ton of Tootsie Rolls because she told me how much she loved them….no joke. I am kind weird like that.) Authors love meeting their fans, taking pics and just getting to know some of them that they have met online. Just don’t be that weird creepy stalker book person who tries to clip a lock of their hair or something (SOTL Man I am looking at you). In other words…Don’t be a dick.
Now that we have talked about bringing in books to a signing, let me tell you something…put them in something you can carry. A lot of people I know bring those rolling crates to put their books in as they walk around. Those are great, till it gets super crowded in the venue and you start running over everyone’s toes and slamming them into people’s calves. This might have happened to me a few times, just saying. Seester had one to start at the beginning of ABF, but as it got crowded, she opted to go leave it in the hotel room and use a bag. I have even seen people with wagons. Yes….WAGONS full of books. Can you imagine the amount of money that is in that one wagon? I mean for reals….a wagon? To me that is a little crazy. I realize that this might be the only time you might see the authors, but a wagon? I was just happy to talk a little with some of them and take a pic even if I didn’t have a book for them to sign. But bring a wagon? Hard pass. Don’t be that dick.
Don’t be afraid to tell an author how much you loved their book, how much their writing means to you or even be afraid to speak to them like I am. I admit that I am not the best at doing this part because I get overwhelmed and nervous, but look at what happened when I picked up Party Girl by Rachel Hollis! I became her newest stalker! I mean newest fan…yeah that is what I meant. BFFE actually made it a goal of hers to read one book by every author at ABF so she could see if they would be ones she would want to get a signing from while she was there. It was an amazing goal and I think she accomplished reading at least one book by every author. Who knows….you might find a new favorite author to binge read. Soon, you are reading everything they read, following them on social media, setting up secret shrines and sending them a shit ton of Tootsie Rolls in the mail. Not that I have done any of that besides binge reading….yeah not me. Excuse me while I go shut the door on the closet to my Colleen shrine. Don’t go all Anne Wilkes from Misery on them and kidnap them and make them write you a book (hmmmmm…..this is a new thought to do with Colleen), but by all means tell them what their writing mean to you. I saw a girl get overwhelmed by meeting Amy Harmon at ABF and she started crying because Amy’s books meant so much to her. As an author, this is the highest form of compliments…we all hope to actually touch just one person. I mean if it ends up with someone so obsessed with you that people end of creeping in your bushes and taking pictures to sell to People magazine, then that might be a problem. Or is it? I love a good stalker as much as the next person. I might even encourage them….if you stalk me, it’s ok to tell me. If you get served a restraining order, then you will know it is time to back off. Rachel Hollis (I swear I am not a stalker) made this fantastic video about the types of people you meet at a book signing and it is spot on so I am going to share it with you here.
Get to your signing early. This is a great piece of advice I learned from experience. Especially if there is going to be 1200 people at the signing. You might think that getting there at 7 am for a noon signing sounds insane, but I wanted as much tie as possible in the signing. I wanted to make sure I had the full four hours to meet people. Talk to people in line. You ill find people who like the same authors you do and might be crazier than you over them, discover new bloggers to follow, and maybe even meet some new best friends. Book signings are a fantastic way to network if you are an author and even if you are attending as a reader. You can meet people in PR, advertising, editing, bloggers…you name it and they are at a book signing. It can be a great way to jump-start a book blog or get advice on getting started as an author.
I am going to encourage every one of you to join me at a book signing or find one of authors you like…it really is an experience that you will never forget. Authors are people too, as I realized when I watched Colleen Hoover go into the bathroom last year and thought “OMG! Colleen pees too!” Don’t be surprised if they know you after talking with you online or seeing you at a couple of signings. I am lucky that my name is so unconventional (Thanks Mom!) that a lot of authors remember it. It creates a great conversation starter sometimes. But find one near you, go by yourself or with friends and fangirl out. Just remember the key piece of advice: Don’t be a dick and have fun.
Oh yeah. I didn’t die today. I did decide to share with you book signing etiquette and maybe encourage your stalking a bit because who doesn’t love a good stalker but I didn’t die. I am Fat Girl who sometimes stalk authors but is NEVER a dick Running. The experiment continues….
In March, I went to Austin for a second year to attend Austin Book Fest and had some fun adventures that I need to share with you! You might recall that last year this is where I met Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher for the first time, forgot how to speak English, and met some of the bestest group of friends ever. I got to meet up with my book friends again and meet some more amazing authors, as well as spend time with Colleen which is like a dream come true. Have you ever been to a book signing? Well, I am here to tell you that it can be the craziest thing you will ever experience. There were 1200 bookworms at this signing and at times it felt like it. Yes, that is right….you saw that number correct. 1200. Book signings can be so much fun. First off, you meet other people who like the same authors that you do and this creates instant friends, no matter where you all live. Plus, if you are an author, like me, you get to meet other authors, talk with them and get some fantastic connections in this weird world of publishing. It was quite the adventure, let me tell you. And I had the best group of friends around to traverse it with as you will find out.
Now, at ABF this year, I had the pleasure of sharing a room with four other book nerds: my Seester, BFFE, Calliebear (who went with us last year) and my #soulmate. This is a new person I need to introduce you guys too, actually. She is one of my book friends who I swear we were meant to be friends. We have so much in common it is scary, hence the name #soulmate. Four of us met up at Dallas airport and then picked up Seester to drive up to Sulpher Springs to the Bookworm Box that night to hang out with Colleen Hoover. How has this become my life? This is something I frequently thought throughout the weekend as lots of things happened to me that I have no idea how they actually occurred. I was going to get to see the Bookworm Box in person which was something I was looking forward to so much. I even got to see my books on the shelves in the store, which was amazing. Completely beyond words. The first night involved squees of joy, hugs, laughter, pizza, dancing around the store, interrupting Colleen’s live broadcast and cramming 5 girls into a tiny hotel room. I might have almost killed my #soulmate as I tried to go to the bathroom and almost fell on top of her on the roll away bed. But luckily, we all survived. There was hotel hallway shenanigans and we might have been those loud obnoxious people in a hotel room at 11pm and for that we apologize but really we could not control our laughter as BFFE and I looked so gorgeous for bed complete with Breathe Right strips and my hair rolled up in socks to curl.
Seester and I found our books!
Book Worm Box!
Colleen makes me want to be a better writer
Pizza with Colleen. No biggie
Friday, the five of us traveled to Austin. Let me say that was a fun road trip filled with singing, eating everything we could find, laughter and reading. It got a little weird when #soulmate turned to ask me what I was reading. I looked at her and said “A sex scene from your book.” #awkward. We laughed a good deal over it though. We checked into our bigger room in Austin that also included a roll away bed but one I would not kill #soulmate in when I went to the bathroom. We met up with all the rest of our book friends and so much laughter and fun occurred. We even threw a surprise baby shower for one of them that night. This group of girls are some of the best people I have ever met. I even ended up in author Mia Sheridan’s suite drinking wine with her and her husband and wondering again how this was my life. There was a lot of shenanigans I can assure you.
Saturday came the signing and believe it or not, book nerds started lining up at 5:30 am for a signing that started at noon. And we thought our group getting down there at 7 am was early!! Knowing there were 1200 people in line made us all get up early and be obnoxious together for hours. Seester and I even took the opportunity to walk through the line and handed out our bookmarks to people. Hey! Free advertising!! Finally, we got to go inside and the chaos of a book signing ensued. We had studied the floor plan earlier so we could make a game plan but that soon all went to shit as the room became over crowded and Seester and I couldn’t people much longer. A group of our book friends and us decided to take a break and ate lunch for an hour because it was insane and then headed back in once the crowd had thinned. The authors even offered to stay longer than the signing lasted which says something about them. I can’t even imagine how bad their hands had to hurt and their smiles must have felt plastered on as they had to take picture after picture and sign a million books. I met some amazing authors and met some more book friends this year. And my group….well….let’s just say I found my pack of weirdos. BS girls…we are totally a gang.
If you ever get a chance to go to a book signing, then do it. Even if you only know one author…do it. You will discover new authors for you to read, make new friends and hopefully find your clan of weirdos like I have. It will be an experience you will never forget. You might even get to hang out with one of your idols like I did with Colleen Hoover. Now excuse me while I go add more pictures to my secret shrine of her in my closet.
Oh yeah. I didn’t die today. I did get to experience a book signing with the best group of friends I have ever met on the internet and discovered that I want to be a better writer but I didn’t die. I am Fat Girl missing Austin Book Fest and my BS girls Running. The experiment continues….