Book Signing Etiquette 101 Or Don’t Be A Dick

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.

Stalking author Sara Ney…don’t be fooled.  She likes it.

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….


Authors Fangirl Too

I know I have talked about fangirling over other authors before, and this year I thought I was totally cool at Austin Book Fest.  I mean, I had met Colleen Hoover and managed to remember how to speak English and have conversations with her this year.  I was pretty sure that I would not freak out over an author this year.  Wrong.  So very wrong.  At ABF last year, I was standing in front of this author’s table waiting to get up to another author to get my book signed.  This author was so freaking cute and her table was covered in my favorite color…pink.  I kept looking at her book and casually picked it up to read the back.  It actually sounded super cute and fun…my type of romance.  I love sweet romances that are not heavy on the sex.  I can do without all the heaving and thrusting and weird body part names that authors give them (like flower, flesh tower, love muscle….you get the idea) sometimes.  Don’t get me wrong, when done well, a good sex scene is just that…good!  But anyways, I decided to take a chance on this author and buy her book as when I started talking to her, she was just as sweet as her book looked.  When I got home, I immediately read the book and fell in love.  This started my obsession with all things Rachel Hollis.

Rachel Hollis is genuine and sweet, just like the characters in her Girls series.  I started following her on social media, reading all of her books, trying her recipes on The Chic Site and then got invited to be in her street team.  It was here that I found other fans of Rachel and got to know her better.  She really is a wonderful beautiful soul.  When I found out she was going to be at ABF again this year, I got super excited.  She was the one, besides Colleen Hoover, that I wanted to meet the most. I really do want to be just like her…I am pretty sure we were friends or sisters in a past life because she reminds me so much of myself. But I did not expect what happened when I did meet her.  I did not expect to be sitting on a sofa, laughing so hard tears were running down my face as she sat next to me.  Nor did I expect to freak out and forget how to speak English again.

The night before the signing, our group of friends went down to the lobby to hang out and hopefully meet some other book nerds or authors there.  We were standing there talking when BFFE pointed out that Rachel Hollis had come over to where we were and sat at a couch near us.  I couldn’t even speak.  BFFE grabbed my hand and told me to go talk to her to which I shook my head.  Nope.  I couldn’t do it.  I admire her so much that even though I had met her before, I was afraid word vomit or actual vomit would come up and I would make a complete fool of myself.  It is one thing to talk to someone you admire online and another to talk to them in person.  Even Colleen makes me nervous still and I get super shy around her.  Luckily, my BFFE is super outgoing and she took my hand and pulled me in Rachel’s direction.  Rachel looked up from her drink as we approached, said my name and waved.  I about died.  Literally died.  She immediately got up and enveloped me in a hug and I just didn’t know what to say.  BFFE told her how nervous I was coming up to her and she laughed and said that I shouldn’t be.  Then she told me to sit by her like we were the best of friends.  I had to figure out how to form words so that I didn’t end up doing an interpretive dance in front of Rachel Hollis.  Although she might have joined me.  A few of my friends are also just as obsessed with her as I am and BFFE went over to tell them she was hanging out with us.  We decided to take pictures, of course, and this is how we ended up in hysterics.

OMG my face.  I might be a tad excited to meet Rachel Hollis
Selfie time!  How freaking adorable is she?

As we were gathering for what I would call a photo-op with Rachel Hollis, one of our friends, S.G., saw us all sitting together and jumped in for the photo.  Being it is our group of weirdos, she started posing all crazy and being her normal self.  We all started to giggle because she is so outrageous and she turned around and said “What?” and then it happened.  She saw Rachel Hollis sitting in between two of us.  She did a double take and the words “Oh My God it’s Rachel Hollis!  Rachel Hollis guys!  Are we taking a picture with Rachel Hollis?  Hey girl hey!”   And then, being who she is, S.G. turned around and once again posed for a photo.  Meanwhile, we are all in hysterics, tears running down both mine and Rachel’s faces over S.G.’s comments.  We laughed forever over this moment and we still all talk about it.  At least I am not the only one to fangirl like that over an author.  I am glad that Rachel Hollis is such a good sport and loved hanging out with us weirdos….at least I hope she did. Also, “Hey girl hey!”  Might be my new favorite phrase.

The before shot.  We all look so normal here.  Photo credit:  Cecile Bonzo
The best photo ever.  Hey girl hey! Photo credit:  Cecile Bonzo

Oh yeah.  I didn’t die today.  I did meet Rachel Hollis and almost die of laughter but I didn’t die.  I am Fat Girl who still fangirls over other authors and forgets to speak English Running.  The experiment continues…