The Book Signing Monologues

Re-posting this blog for the new followers and those who have not read this post before. I hope you enjoy it. 🙂

The Year I Popped my Book Signing Cherry

This was it—the print run of my first novel was hot off the press and it was time for some old-fashioned promotion. I headed for a vacation and a book signing in the state that gave us Mickey Mouse, the Golden Girls and hopefully the breaking story on the ten o’clock news of a Canadian author needing assistance for crowd control for the hundreds of romance readers, clamoring to get their own autographed copy of my book.

The latter did actually happen—in my dreams.

During the flight I had envisioned line-ups of avid and excited readers, chants and a harried book store manager in a panic, because we’d run out of books—all 1,000 of them. I had rehearsed my smile, my version of the royal wave and witty answers to the myriad of questions the readers were dying to ask.

Turns out the book store was a literary boutique located near a university and filled with sleek, stylish furniture, complete with a wine bar.

And NO romance section.

After a few anxiety induced minutes, I managed to crush the urge to run away and instead decided to make the most of the situation. I put on my game-face and mentally prepared to pave the way to lure literazzi type readers, Deepak Chopra and Anthony Robbins fans into the romance genre.

I know what you’re thinking—that I was in total denial to the realities of this competitive business. Denial gets a really bad rap by self-help gurus, but personally, I’ve found it helpful at times.

This was definitely one of those times.

I sat at a table near the wine bar and managed to sell four books to one customer—said customer happened to be an acquaintance of mine, but she did buy three extra copies.

Jacked up on a few ounces of confidence (and red wine) I submerged myself into the power of positive thinking and eyed my next challenge—a couple of women perusing the classic literature section, while sipping sinfully expensive bottled water.

I smiled.

They smiled back.

They approached my table. Both of them had a glimmer of excitement, sparkling in their eyes.

Ah ha. I knew it. I know that look. They had all the makings and glow of die-hard romance readers.

That look of high anticipation, salivating for something romantic to read. The feeling they had discovered a new romance author and couldn’t wait to talk to her, and flip through her book, perhaps read the first chapter and then buy a book for themselves and (fantasy still in full force) a few copies for friends and family.

Oh, yes, all the markings of readers, hankering for something to sink their teeth in…


They had been ogling the gigantic bowl of Godiva sitting on my table.

I pushed the bowl toward them and told them to knock themselves out.

Since then I have armed myself with a more realistic approach to book signings. (I still have that crowd control fantasy going on from time to time, but hey, a gal has to dream, right?)

Fortunately, being better prepared and having learned through that first signing, I’ve had tremendous success in book stores—having done my research and homework, I made sure the stores had a romance section and I still do bring goodies to hand out.

During my later book signing adventures, I’ve met many men who’ve purchased an autographed book, claiming it was for their wives, moms, sisters, aunts—a lot of women out there named Tom, Dick and Harry.

I’ve met the dynamic duo. (not Batman and Robin) Buffy and Muffy who announced with pride that they could write a romance novel in a weekend…giggle giggle, as they sipped their double latte concoctions, flipping through tabloid magazines. I gave them my best smile and wished them luck with their writing and even volunteered to edit it after their weekend of just churning one out, because as we all know it’s just that easy. Of course I also told them, they probably wouldn’t need an editor, I mean writing a book in a weekend must be an amazing talent, and I’m thinking it would be ready for publication. Or so they made it seem when they giggled-talked about it.

One of my favorite encounters was a Masters graduate, (I know this, because that was the first thing out of her mouth after she asked me where the ladies room was located) who perused the cover of my book and said that she would wait until the movie came out, as reading wasn’t  really “her thing.”

At one signing, I overhead a conversation between two women who were browsing the store for a birthday gift. Multi-tattooed woman suggested to her equally tattooed friend: “Why don’t you get your old man a book?”

Response: “Nah, he’s already got a book.”

I also attended Word on The Street one year, an outside event in Toronto, where hundreds of authors line up and sign books. My table was next to another author who complained from the time we arrived 7:00 a.m. until the time we closed shop 6:00 p.m. For every negative comment, I came back with three positive ones and made light of things so she’d hopefully relax and have fun.

No smile. More complaining, grumbling and negativity spewing.

Another author on the other side had brought her dog. She had written a book on dogs, so bringing her beautiful Golden Retriever was a clever prop, in my opinion. The dog was well behaved, but at times, he got restless and would wonder to our area.

I would pet him.

Cranky author next to me said: “Don’t encourage that flea bag mutt, send him back over there.”

I ignored.

Dog lay down near our booth.

Cranky author said, and I quote: “If I had a pair of steel toed boots, I’d kick that bitch back to its owner.”

I smiled at her and said, “If I had a pair of steel toed boots, the puppy wouldn’t be the bitch I’d love to kick back to where she came from.”

Went right over her head of course. It takes all kinds to make this world a diverse and interesting place, so they say. (During yoga I often wonder who “they” are that say these things, but I digress…)

All in all, ninety percent of the people I’ve met at book signings are courteous, pleasant, fun to talk to and have a passion for not only reading, but for the romance genre. The above mentioned characters stand out, because they are the exception.

My favorite encounter at a book signing was when I asked a woman walking by my table, “Do you like romantic comedy?”

Flushed and weighed down with a briefcase and diaper bag she said, “I don’t have time to laugh!”

While chewing the inside of my cheek like a chipmunk on steroids to keep from laughing at her serious expression, I thought to myself, that this stressed out woman could be immortalized in a poster with the caption:

“I am woman. I am invincible. I am pooped!”

What do you think? Could you relate? I know there are days when I certainly could be the poster child for that caption.

10 responses to “The Book Signing Monologues”

  1. Funny, funny, funny. Book signings are tough. It helps to have a good sense of humor. I was fortunate to be at the RWA Literary Signing one year where Meg Cabot and Nora Roberts had reader lines snaking around my little table and out the door. I had such the urge to tackle some of those readers and drag them over to my books. LOL. It was awesome, though, just to be in the same breathing space as those two.


    1. Hi, Kimberley thanks for stopping by.

      Yes, my sense of humor has always helped with so many things in my life and these experiences I pull it out all the time.

      I know what you mean though. I was at Book Expo one year and beside me was Gloria Estefan and Henry Winkler, they had line ups going out the building and I had about 10 people standing in line. LOL But I was so excited and grateful for my line up and also it was such a pleasure being around successful people like those two who were humble and didn’t put on any airs.

      Nora Roberts is such a class act, I bet she wouldn’t have minded you tackling one of her readers. LOL


  2. I would love to go to a book signing of your I bet it would be fun. Lol my dad was the most crabby person I know. I did a play once where the husband dies and the wife wants to put on his tombstone “He was mean and serley” so when I run across people like that I laugh because that pops in my head. I have only been lucky enough to go to one Romace righter signing Diana Galbeldon, she was great I hope to go to more sometime. I think romance righter are smart and funny and you are one of my favorites and I love that your my friend to. You and RM make my days brighter.


    1. Hi, Kelly, thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

      What a sweet to say, thank you, and I’m only to happy to bring some laughter and brightness into someone’s day, if I can make one person smile after a bad day, then I am grateful as I feel it’s more of a gift for me.

      “He was mean and surly.” LOL That would be hysterical to read on someone’s tombstone, that person would have to be a professional crank.

      Have a great day and weekend ahead.


  3. Hi Selena! You have had some adventures at your book signings!! I would love to go to one, but I live kind of far away. 😦
    I would even bring some snacks!
    I think your banner idea is great! Women all over the country will take it up!! LOL
    Well, if you ever head down to the South *winking* you know you have friends!


    1. Hi, Pat, thanks for stopping by.

      I hope I can head down your way some day, because I’d love to meet you southern gals, and now that I can speak like y’all, bless your hearts, I wouldn’t be so addled when someone talks to me.

      We can sit on the porch and have some mint julips, and do declare about all those people at booksignings.

      Pretty sure nobody knows what I’m saying, cept for you and the other Misses down yonder. 🙂


  4. I want to come to one of your book signings! Thank you so much for posting this – it made me smile!


    1. Hi, Kame, thanks for dropping by and for the kind comment. You’re welcome any time at any of my signings. 🙂 Glad I brought a smile to your face.


  5. Great post, as always, Selena, LOL. The crazies always manage to crawl out of the woodwork, but you handle them with your usual panache!


    1. Hey, Nancy, thanks for popping in.

      I’m gifted that way. LOL


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