I promised revision insights on my next post, but that was because I normally only post every couple of weeks. Sometime next week, I will deliver.
For now, I’m feeling inspired/troubled by the idea of book signings. Reading this started it. It made me reflect on the one and only book signing I’ve had. I brought candy. Candy made it worse. People tried to sneak pieces of chocolate without looking at me. If they noticed that I’d caught them, they smiled, all apologetic like, and walked away faster.
I did sell a few books. They were the ones my dad’s employee came to buy, and she had to go ask the booksellers where they were because they hadn’t given me any to put on my table.
While I was at this book signing, I was wishing I’d brought something to read. Or a notebook. Or a laptop. Something to make me not look bored or desperate for someone to come talk to me, even if they didn’t want to buy a book. Why is it that people are fascinated when they see artists in the wild, creating a painting before their very eyes, but if a writer brings her laptop she looks like a snob?
Readers who have attended book signings—would you be turned off by an author who seemed to be pretending she wasn’t there? I usually prefer to shop where the salesperson isn’t looking over my shoulder, but when it comes to book signings, it seems to be frowned upon for the authors to mind their own business. My morals lead me to believe it’s even more frowned upon to try hawking your book to anyone who walks by. “Hey, you! Do you like to read? I have a book you can read.” Where is the happy medium?
Authors who’ve had less-than-successful book signings—any insights on how to make them better?
I know, this is the kind of problem most writers want to have. But thinking of how to deal with some level of fame—enough that you’re expected to show up but not enough that you can be sure anyone else will—scares me enough to go shred my manuscript right now. Maybe when my novel is published I’ll hire a body double for all those awkward occasions. Most body doubles are professional actors, right?