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ASK THE AUTHORGUY brings you BOOKSIGNING FAQS

March 22nd, 2012 · 8 Comments · Uncategorized

            Since I announced my 2012 book tour, a lot of people have been asking, “What goes on at a book-signing?”  The following answers apply only to MY events, book-signings by other authors are different. For instance, while there is no real “appropriate” attire for one of my events, if you’re at a Chuck Palahniuk event, you’ll want to wear your best bondage-wear (leather or PVC), and carry plastic sheeting. Chuck’s events are very much like a Gallagher comedy act, except in place of watermelons, human body parts are splattered on the audience, which is why Chuck is America’s most beloved author. That said, while you may have to stand in line unattended at one of my signings, at Neil Gaiman events there are “line monitors,” burly security guys who are there to catch Goth girls (and boys) who faint over Neil’s dreaminess.  At a Lemony Snicket event, you might be entertained by Toccata and Fugue played on an accordion and encouraged to murder your parents (or at least frame them for embezzlement, ) while at one of my events, the closest you’ll come to being entertained is watching me swig Nyquil while spooging hand-sand on myself and others in a series of anti-viral “money-shots”.

So, to your questions:

 

1)What is the most important thing to consider in coming to one of your events?

1)ans: Parking. This is doubly important if you are driving.

 

2)Do I have to buy a book to attend?

2)ans: Most stores, now, require you buy at least one book per group, or a ticket, which usually includes a book. This varies from store to store and you should call the store and ask before betting your whole afternoon or evening on it. I’ve listed all of their contact information on Google.

 

3)Can I get your other books signed, my older books?

3)Yes, but often I have to limit how many I can personalize, especially if there’s a big crowd. The store my require that you buy the new one there, but most are okay if you bring your old books, and I’ll sign all that you bring. It helps if you have them turned to the “title page”, which is the first page on which my name appears. Collectors and dealers who have a bunch of books are asked to wait until the end and — access to the author for dealers is up to the discretion of the event store. (If you’re a dealer or a collector, you probably know this.)

 

4)I don’t know what to say. It’s my big moment, I’ve been waiting in line, and I don’t know what to say…

4) Most authors have been on your side of the table and know what that is like.  I remember being terrified to speak to Ray Bradbury, and later Harlan Ellison. Hell, even now I get nervous when I meet authors. We get it. We also have all done events where no one but the bookstore staff was there, so we’re grateful you’re there. No author doesn’t like to hear that you love his or her books, that you share them with friends. It doesn’t get old, and it’s exactly the thing to say. I appreciate it. On the other hand, don’t pitch your idea for a screenplay or novel. I am powerless to help you and there are people waiting.

 

5)You like pie. Can I bring you pie? Or, you know, a meerkat?

5)Presents are very sweet, but an author on tour usually has one carry-on bag and his or her version of a computer bag – for the whole month, which means things are packed to the max. We just don’t have room to take along gifts, nor the time to send them on or even eat snacks.  (I’ve even run out of room to carry my receipts and had to ship them home mid-way through the tour.) I’ve left a multitude of thoughtful gifts in hotel rooms because I couldn’t get them into my bag. That goes double for books and regional delicacies like bar-b-que sauce or maple syrup. (We’re getting on a plane in the morning, remember?)  We just don’t have room for them. I have had many dinners consisting entirely of goldfish crackers brought to me by readers, and I really thank you for that, but it’s probably not the best policy. CDs and Manuscripts are out of the question. First, I can’t read manuscripts even if I want to, agents orders, and I don’t travel with a CD player, not even in my computer, so the discs often have to be left behind a stop or two down the road, anyway.

 

6)What can we expect? Do you read your work? Give back-rubs? What’s up?

6) The main thing to remember is, LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS. I’m a writer, if I was a people person they wouldn’t lock me in a room by myself to do my job. I don’t read my stuff. I suck at it. That said, there’s some variation in how events proceed– especially this tour, since some events are in theaters, but usually a bunch of you sit down, someone introduces me, I talk about writing books and stuff for about 20-40 minutes, take some questions, and then I sign books. Each book store has a different way of managing the line. Some have tickets, or bookmarks, or wrist-bands, other’s go by the “dog-pile” approach. At some events, I will have signed all of the books in advance so you’ll get a signed book even if you don’t have time to stand in line. We started doing this a couple of books ago when I’d get letters from people who had come but had to leave because of a baby-sitter or something before they got to meet me and get their book signed. You can still stand in line and I’ll personalize your book, but usually in these cases, the line is shorter because those people who just wanted to hear me talk or get a signed book can bolt.

 

7)What sort of questions should we ask?

7)Not “Where do you get your ideas?”  (Now that I’ve told you that, I know that the first question will always be, “Where do you get your ideas?” because, let’s face it, my work appeals to the smart-ass demographic, but I’m going to just tell you “From Jules Verne”, or “from Bazooka Joe Comics” or something equally absurd, so whatever…) The one thing I ask is that as the tour proceeds, and you’ve had time to read the book, is you not ask something that’s a “spoiler” for those who haven’t had a chance to read it yet. Oh, no movies are being made of my books. If that changes, I’ll let you know.

 

8)What else do we need to know?

8)Most anything else should be addressed to the specific book store, because they really dictate the policy for events. Call them. They’ll know about parking, places to eat near-by, stuff like that.  My advice, on meals, by the way, is on an evening event, eat before you come to the book store. I do. Sometimes these things can run late.

 

9)Will you sign other stuff?

9)I will, but it’s limited. It takes quite a while to sign fabric items, I have to go slow, so be considerate of your line homeys when you ask. Fucksox are nearly impossible, so let’s not go there.  Body parts are also really tough. (I can’t believe I’m actually typing this.) I know you’d love to have a tattoo on your uvula of my signature, but as I cherish the fun of poking you in the uvula with a Sharpie, may I suggest getting something else signed, like tracing paper or clear plastic, and taking that to your tattoo artist. That way, too, you can sober up and think it through.

 

10)What about pictures?

10) I’m fine with you taking pictures with me. Sometimes the store will have someone who will help – take your phone or camera so you can get in the picture—but sometimes, not, so you’ll want to have stuff ready. If the store doesn’t have someone, then make friends with the person in line behind you to take the shot – show them how to use your phone, get it all set up. The we’ll all dogpile into the photo and it will be tons of fun.

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8 Comments so far ↓

  • Carol

    I was reading from your archives and came across an entry in which you mentioned a few readers who disliked your use of profanity. As someone who is profoundly inhibited when it comes to swearing but wishes she could cuss well when appropriate, I deeply admire your humorous use of colorful language. The expletives fly from your fingertips like bullets! It’s wonderful. So, thank you! Thank you! and thank you!

  • Leah Potter

    It was recently told to me by my son that you wrote
    Fool for your Masters in writing. Is that really true, or was I just wasting my time trying to start that rumor?

  • Yoga Gal

    Enjoyed your talk at the book signing at Vroman”s bookstore in Pasadena. But may I made one correction in your declaration, it was not Impressionism that painted the common man butit started in the Renaissance. Yes, the church commissioned most the work, for they had the most money but there were a lot painting commission of the time of the rich. Example. the painting Lady with an Ermine by Leonardo Di Vinic was commissioned by Lodovico Sforza , to capture the beauty of his then 18 year old mistress Cecilia Gallerni. Not a woman of noble birth but a remarkable young woman. Lodovico “the Moor” Sforza, had her around, to keep him compaany until his bride to be Beatrice d’Este grew up. When the lady became of age to marry, (about 15) Lodovico, married off Cecilia (so not to put her back into circulation) to a noble man with the understanding that whenever he visited, he could had carnal privileges with his ex-mistress. Then there are a lot more examples, I have a Masters in Art, But Rubens for example modles was his wife and her sisters, Goya painted people of high birth but also people of the street. (The first artist I loved was Goya for his women had the full features of me, a woman of Spanish & French blood) what shock people of the Impressionist, they painted the everyday lower class, working class. The painting in the park with the nude was done in a period when a woman getting naked wasn’t an easy task! Today a girl can remove her sundress and thong and be naked, but then she had to remove a corset, a chemise, bloomers, under skirts , shockings , the list goes on, I remember reading Zola;’s Nana , when one character admits he never saw his wife naked! it was a different age. But where the subjects of these paintings look beautiful and exotic to us, they looked common place. It would be like me, painting a picture of girls at a Mall , not many people would see it as art. But I’m looking forward to reading your book, you have a great wit and I enjoy your humor and will delight in seeing your insight in a wonderful age in art! Namaste- Yoga Gal aka on Twitter Yoga Ger

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  • Jim Picard

    A couple of years ago, I asked you what your thoughts on the muse were. (It was on your BSFiends e-mail). You replied, “Yes I should write about the muse..thanks for the idea..” Next thing I know I’m reading Sacre Bleu…An interesting response I must say! Thanks!…(Look, I know you were well into the book by then, but it does make your answer kinda cryptic..) Anyway, thanks for the book, it’s beautiful. I’ve always thought of the Impressionists as the hinge between all painting that came before and that which came after. The book came at me right down Michigan Avenue. Thanks…

  • Brian Britton

    Actually Chuck Palahniuk used to come to the book store I hung out in all the time, he is very cool and mellow, and his mom was usually with him. I think she drove him,,,, anywho he was very very diferent then what you would expect from his books.

  • Martha

    Hi Chris,
    When you were in San Diego to sign Sacre Bleu, I was recovering from hip replacement surgery. Before you went in to speak, you passed where I was camped out like a giddy teenage fan to wave at you. I had my cane, ugh! And my bedroom slippers on my swollen feet and I felt like such a dork! And you were so nice!! You reached in your pocket, grabbed your blue pen, and signed my book right there so I wouldn’t have to stand in line after your talk. I will never forget your kindness! I’m a long time fan of your writing, but also now I just plain like and admire you as a person and a gentleman. Thanks for many hours of entertainment. Keep up the good work! Enjoy your tour.
    Your retired to Whidbey Island, Washington friend,
    Martha

  • Chris Waters

    Ok Author Guy….Where’s Las Vegas on your tour list!!! I know “Sin City” doesn’t scream LITERACY, but we still LOVE us some POCKET!!! HAHA….We would love to have you come here and sign some books for us as well…If you’re worried about loosing all your book money while staying in one of our FABULOUS resort/casinos, I personally would let you crash on my sofa.

    Huge Fan,
    Chris

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