I remember once upon a time Anne Rice came to town and the line-up snaked through the local mall and out the doors. I had two thoughts. First, I wanted to write books that people loved that much. Second, I was glad I’d phoned ahead and my signed copy would be waiting for me at the cash desk the next day and I could buy it sans line-up. Yes, I’m bad for not sticking it out for hours to meet Anne Rice, but patience never has been one of my virtues. I think I collected some bad signing karma that day.
Signings are odd events. From the author’s perspective, they’re fabulous, exhilarating, glorious romps when people show up. When they don’t, it’s mortifying. As far as I can tell, there’s little rhyme or reason as to whether it will be busy or dead, which makes every occasion a nail-biter.
How do “live” signings happen? Often the stores arrange them, or sometimes the authors do it themselves. When I was first published, I organized some events locally and then some a plane ride away in my “home” town. Setting up the events at a distance was an eye-opener. Out of about 5 stores, one actually remembered I was coming AND had the books available for sale. Another time, I drove all over Seattle looking for a store I never did find. I think it had disappeared into the gray, just like in Kat Richardson’s books. In other words, the logistics can be frustrating–and I’ve worked off every bit of that bad signing karma!
However, when the right magic strikes, a signing is a high-energy live performance. One or two of those events is all it takes to create an addiction. It’s wonderful to get an email from someone saying they like my work. It’s way, way better to have them tell that to my face. I love readers, I love meeting them, and I love that connection that comes from sharing the same imaginary world.
And fortunately, there are many people much more patient than I am about meeting authors!
Do you collect autographs? Is there a story about how you gone one?