Thursday, May 06, 2010

Tips - When Meeting an Author…

This is for readers and writers, but I’d love my author friends to add their two cents as well. Even after 300 signings, I’m sure I’ve not encountered every situation possible.

When meeting an author at a book signing:


Speak to us!
We enjoy interaction.
Ask about our books.
Tell us what you enjoy about our books.
Ask for an autograph.
Ask for a bookmark or two.
Consider our books for someone else if they don’t appeal to you.
Ask if we can speak to your school or organization.

Monopolize our time.
Be conscious of our time - we are there to work.
We have a short span of time to expose our books to as many people as possible.
Others may be waiting to speak to us.
Be courteous and purchase a book if you do spend time talking with us.

Pump us for information.
We can’t give you our publisher or agent’s name or recommend you.
We don’t have twenty minutes to tell you how to get your book published.
We can’t read, critique, or pass on your manuscript.
We don’t have time for a twenty-minute description of the book you are writing.
Asking how many books we’ve sold or how much money we’ve made is not polite.

Ask in depth questions about other authors or books.
We are there to promote our book, not someone else’s.
We are not store staff, either.

And don’t eat all of our candy or grab and handful and run without purchasing a book - the store did not supply that candy, we paid for it.

While the don’ts might sound harsh, remember - the author who’s done multiple signings has heard it multiple times. It’s cute the first time. By the 50th time, it’s lost its charm. We are there to work. We depend on book sales and impressing the bookstore staff so they will invite us to return. Please help us to continue doing what we love.

We want to connect with our readers and enjoy the opportunity to do so at signings and appearances. Just remember common courtesy and the experience will be wonderful for both of us!

Authors, any other Dos or DON’Ts?


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Yes, I was nodding while reading this! I frequently end up with a time monopolizer (not buying my book or talking about my book, but talking about THEIR unpubbed book) and feel really stuck...especially if a reader comes up who IS interested in my book. Hard to gracefully get untangled.

Am tweeting!

Mystery Writing is Murder

Natasha said...

And all of it sounds so obvious! I mean, the same people, how would they feel if you did to them what they do to you?

And there is something for you on my blog.

Julie@My5monkeys said...

thanks for the reminder but haven't been able to make to any signing yet. Totally understand that you people too.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Thanks! I was worried they sounded too mean. But I've been caught in every one of these scenarios and more than once.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

These are great!! I hope I get to meet you someday at your signing table!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

They'll be disappointed if they pump me for information! Thanks for the tips.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I can't think of anything you missed. I would love to frame this blog and place it on my signing table!)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Karen, I hope to meet you as well!

Jane, that is awesome! I laughed out loud. Might seem a bit... obnoxious? But I'd love to do that as well.

Arlee Bird said...

This is such sensible advice that would seem so obvious to me, but it's amazing how some people don't seem to be very sensible. It could apply to other situations as well. It used to amaze me (annoy me?) at trade shows I would work and people would come to my booth and corner me with really annoying things for lengths of time until I would have to just break away to tend to other customers.


Jo-Jo said...

These are such great reminders for everyone. I've only been to a couple of book signings myself, but I'm happy to say that it appears that I have followed proper protocol! These don't seem harsh at all, but just good manners.

Jai Joshi said...

You've pretty much covered most scenarios here. Except: DON'T ask where the restroom is!

And DON'T talk about politics unless the book is political.


L. Diane Wolfe said...

Arlee and Jo-Jo, yes they do seem like just good manners, don't they?

LOL Jai - I've been asked for the bathroom's locations many times!

Donna McDine said...

Fantastic tips. Thanks for getting right to the point!

Jemi Fraser said...

Great tips! I'm bookmarking this for future reference - thanks :)

notesfromnadir said...

This list is based on common sense. Of course, we all encounter people both in & out of book stores, that can lack such a valuable trait!

I have 1 question: Have you had aspiring authors actually hand you a manuscript?

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Michelle, now you have one!

Motes - yes, I've had writers hand me a manuscript at a signing!

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

Right on, sista! I've been in every situation you've mentioned. Oh, and there was the guy who insisted fiction was a waste of time. Hello...this is my work, have a nice day, but go away. ;)

Susan Fields said...

Thanks for sharing the tips. I don't have any of my own to add...yet! :)

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Diane, I don't mind when fellow authors ask for information at all. I think the secret is in your "monopolize" statement. If they use good sense about that--meaning be observantt about the needs of the signing author and the readers in the store--many of us don't mind sharing a secret or two.

It's nice to see this. I know many readers have no idea of what it's like to be in our shoes. They've never been there. A little help can't hurt. (-:

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Blogging writer's resources at Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites pick,

Debbie's World of Books said...

What a great post! Hope you have a signing out in our leg of the woods :)

Kim Wolterman said...

Great tips, and I'd like to add one. Please don't tell me you think my book looks like it has a lot of great information, but is too expensive!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Kathi, that is just so rude!

Carolyn, of course you have a book geared toward the topic of publishing & promoting, so it's a little different.

Debbie, I would love to!

Kim, I love that! Or how about don't feign interest if you're really not interested?

Barbara Techel said...

Very good advice, Diane. I've had a few time suckers too and it is difficult to bow out and be polite without sounding or looking like you don't care- but you are right, we are working and doing a job.

One problem I encounter because I have a dog is parents controlling their kids around her. I always ask that they approach my dog one at a time, but never fails they all end up around her, with 30 tiny hands wanting to pet all at the same time. And then I look like the meanie when I have to tell them to get in line. It is for the protection of all and I wish parents understood that.

This was all great advice and I'm going to share on FB and Twitter. Thanks so much!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Barbara, I've always joked that I need to write about an animal so I can bring one to signings to attract attention, but maybe not!

Thanks for sharing this!