Monday, May 24, 2010

I have a confession to make

This is a biggie!

I don`t like book signings. Yes - me, who goes to the big Literacy signing at RWA and the most recent one at RT would be just as happy to skip that part of the conference and or convention. It has nothing to do with not wanting the books, but rather other factors

  • The line-ups. It seems they are getting longer and longer and starting earlier and earlier. When I went to the one at RT in Columbus, we must have stood there for half an hour or more. It was horrid. I know a lot of people take the time to chat with other readers around them, and that`s always fun, but I just get tired of the standing. I hate standing in line for movies too.
  • Once you get in, it`s so damn crowded. For those who suffer from claustrophobia, it can be almost a nightmare trying to manoeuvre around. I can only last a certain amount of time, then I can`t get out quick enough.
  • Carrying all the books around. They get heavy after a while!
  • Feeling bad for authors who don`t have a line up. You see this all the time and I always feel bad for the authors sitting next to more popular authors. I`d strike up a conversation, but then I`d feel obliged to get their books and see reason above for why that can be a problem.
  • I`m uncomfortable with the height differential. I know that`s an odd one considering I`m vertically challenged and look up to most people. Maybe that`s why, but I just feel odd talking to someone I`m looking down at.
  • I can never think of anything to say!! I hate that. I usually stumble along, mumbling something and then wishing I hadn`t or I said something more. I`m naturally shy and it kicks in big time when standing in front of, yet looking down at an author.
  • I`m not an autograph collector. Even if I were to come face to face with Richard Armitage it wouldn`t occur to me to ask for his autograph. I`d have to bite my tongue to keep from asking if he would kiss me the way he did Margaret at the train station in North and South - but I wouldn`t ask for his autograph.
  • I loathe having my picture taken - by anyone, at anytime. So the last thing I would want is to have a picture of me standing next to an author.
  • I don`t mean this in the least bit offensive way - and this is just me - but I don`t see the point in having a picture of just the author. I`d much rather talk to them - not at an author signing where I can never think of anything to say - but at a food court, or hanging around in a bar, or after a workshop - anywhere other than at an author signing where claustrophobia can hit any time and they are distracted by numerous things. That way I can really talk and the shyness takes a back seat. But if I wanted to see what an author looks like, I could just go to their web site. Many of them have pictures there.
  • The line ups to pay for the books. I`m always in full blown `have to get out of here`mode and to have to stand in line yet again, to pay for the books is very draining.
  • The confusion of what books I want to get. Last year at the book signing in Washington, I thought I`d be smart and make a list out ahead of time. Then I left it at the second author table I went to and for the life of me couldn`t remember which ones I wanted. The same thing happened again in Columbus. I made a list but forgot it and when I got into the signing and saw the huge number of people, I panicked slightly and forgot many of the books I`d planned on getting!

So now I`m not sure what to do at the next one I go to. I`m so tempted to pass on it, but then that just seems so wrong!


Lori said...

It might be better to go with a friend and approach it more military operation.

Of course I'm guessing because I've never gone to one.

Kerry said...

I can totally see where you're coming from.

My CFS tends to introduce a kind of brain freeze from information overload and all those people all all those choices would bring it on I think.

Plus the physical side of standing and carrying would probably be more than I could manage.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you Kristie and feel the same way.
I love to quietly browse the shelves and take my time. During a signing it's chaos. Too crowded and being on the short side like you, seeing around me isn't easy in a crowd.
I hate standing in lines- especially with my arms full of heavy books.
While I'd love to say hello to authors and tell them how much I appreciate their work, I just can't stand the rest of the experience.

Great post and topic for discussion.


Kara said...

I have a confession to make...I have never been to an author signing!! However, for the reasons you listed above...I don't think I would enjoy them either. I know that my extreme shyness would kick in and I would say something really stupid or nothing at all. I would rather meet them in a non-threatening atmosphere like those that you suggested.

Glad to see that I am not the only one with issues with author signings!!! LOL

nath said...

LOL, you need a keeper, Kristie!! Next time, I'm sticking to you :D

You know, if what you like is to talk to the author, you can probably go to the signing later... I think it was a lot less crowded after 2 hours.

and LOL, it is heavy to lug all the books around, but please, do not go in with suitcases!!!

Blodeuedd said...

Lol, good points, espeically with Armitage :) I think I would loose my ability to even speak English if I met him

limecello said...

*clings* I don't like signings either! Well, the first one I ever went to was the one at RT and once people started filing in I basically sat in the corners. And then "behind" Sabrina Jeffries who had no idea who I am.
I hate crowds. I equate the RT signing to Times Square, which I also cannot stand. Blech.

Anonymous said...

The less I know about author, but better. I don't want autographs, don't want to talk to authors, don't really like knowing as much about them as those little bios at the end of some books provide. It humanizes them. I prefer to like, dislike, or be disinterested in their products without thinking of them as real people at all.


Wendy said...

I lurve booksignings. Lurve them! That being said, I don't attach any special meaning to an autographed book, unless the book in question hits me the right way. I treasure my signed copy of Courting Miss Hattie by Pamela Morsi (for example) - but if I get a signed book at RWA, read the book, and don't lurve it - it's going to hit the "get rid of it somewhere" bag just like any other "non-autographed" book.

You know what you should do Kristie? Just sneak into the Literacy Signing "later." Don't stand in line prior to the doors opening. Give it, like an hour, and then stoll in. You can take a quick look around, and then skedaddle :) Oooh, and if there's like one or two authors you just have to have books from? Let me know, and I can always get them for you.

One thing I do every year at the Literacy Signing? Buy one book by an author I've never read before, and who doesn't have a huge line of readers waiting for them. It's an little added extra bit of good karma. Plus, even if the book is a total dud, at least my dollars went to charity :)

Bev(QB) said...

I agree with you, Kristie. I really don't see a use for autographs either, but I guess I'd feel like a dork if I waited in line just to walk up, shake an author's hand, then tell them how much I love their work. And I really LOATHE pics of myself, but, again, it seems weird to wait in line just to snap a pic of the author.

BTW, when it comes to those big signings, think anthologies. The authors don't usually sell them at their tables, but if you can bring books in with you, then anthologies are the way to go.

It becomes kind of fun mission to collect signatures for all the authors in an anthology. As an added bonus, usually at least 1 or 2 of the authors in it are new or less well known, so they'll appreciate you dropping by their table.

My first signing was Rt 2006, aka Signapalooza! Ironically, I only got a few autographs because Laurell Hamilton's staff bailed on coming to the con at the last minute and she needed people to work her line. And by line, I mean a line down one entire side of the ballroom and looped back up and around itself. Last one through wasn't until (IIRC) 5 PM!

But like you, I felt sorry for the authors who were blocked by the other lines or who just kind of sat there with no one to talk to. I did make a point of buying a few books from new authors that I had met and spent time with during the con. Some I've read, some I probably never will, but I feel like I did a little something for that small handful of authors that I got to know a little bit.

Kim in Baltimore said...

I agree with all you points about book fairs, especially the sympathy for the less popular authors next to the NYT best sellers. But I have heard many authors say they would rather have the readers talk to them while standing in line. Trying to avoid eye contact becomes awkward for everyone.

Now I just attend panel discussions with my favorite authors at RT or RWA. I find I learn more about the author and even meet her! Most authors are delighted that readers attend their panels, so they frequently give away books. They will also sign books at the end of the panel if readers are not too pushy.

Heather said...

I am going to a smaller convention this year the RomCon Readers Convention. It is specifically for readers. There will be about 63 different authors there.

orannia said...

I am like Kara - I've never been to an author signing. Then again, not many authors in my neck of the woods :) But, even if they were, I think the sheer number of people would put me off. I say, do what feels comfortable :)

Kaetrin said...

I've never been to a mass book signing - Diana Gabaldon signed An Echo in the Bone for me an an author event but that's it. Your reasons sound (mostly!) close to what I think I wouldn't like about it either but I'd like to go to at least one... Australia have just started having a romance convention but they are usually in one of the eastern states. One of these days I hope to get over to one but I need to meet a few more Aussie romance lovers on line first - I don't think I'd like to go to a convention on my own where I don't know anyone - I'm just not that brave!

Anonymous said...

woman, your confession hath given me courage to share my own! i have ZERO interest in book signings also! people in DC invite me to go to author signings with them all the time and i always say no and they don't get it.

i don't like the large ones with the crowds for many of the same reasons as you, and don't like the individual ones either, i have negative 0 interest in author autographs, a pic with them, or talking awkwardly to them for the 30 seconds it takes for them to write my name. plus it's a little like losing the magic, like revealing the wizard of oz, they are a VIP Author in my eyes, sometimes it's hard for me to see them as real people!

Kristie (J) said...

Lori: *g* that still doesn't help with the claustraphobia - that's the big killer. And I never know when it will hit.

MsM: It's comforting to know I'm not the only one with these kinds of issues!!

Kara: If you go to one and there is just one or two authors - things are good, but at these conference/convention ones, not only do you have those attending, but they also open it up to the general public!! It's a mad house I tell - a total MAD HOUSE.

Nath - I think going a bit later is the answer - it does avoid a lot of the line standing. And carrying a bag to put books in saves the arms.

Blodeuedd: *laughing* Me too!! And English is the only language that I do speak.

Limecello - well if we ever go to one together - we can keep each other company - trying to find a corner and then taking turns darting quickly out into the crowd and then going back. And water - one needs to take lots and lots of water I've discovered.

Dick: *laughing!!* That's a cold, cold attitude there *g*. I will admit, I probably want to know as much about authors as they want to know about me - mainly whether do I like their books *g* but it is nice getting to know them in a less shall we say 'frantic' environment. And I'm not an autograph seeker - of anyone, not just authors. Though if I were, it would be author autographs I would seek. And I do have a few "special" few that I treasure.

Wendy: *big grin* One of those reasons is you're much taller than me and not swamped by feelings of shrinking in the crowds.

Kristie (J) said...

Bev: *chuckle* I've done that before - gone up and just told them I loved their books without getting an autograph - but then they ask me if I want one and at all times wanting to be polite, I say yes.
They had a couple of 'autograph hunts' at RT - you get a list of authors and try and get all the autographs on the list and then you're eligible for a prize. I didn't participate.

Kim: I went to a lot of author panels in Columbus and I really enjoyed them! Less frenzied and crowded. I plan to attend more next time I go to anything :)

Heather: *big wink* see next post!!

Orannia: I think I'm going to do what Nath and Wendy suggested - show up later when there isn't that HUGE RUSH to get in the door! That alone terrifies me!

Kaetrin: It's my goal to make the one next year in Australia!! Whether I make it or not - I don't know - but one needs a goal don't they :-)

Lusty Reader: I'm glad I gave you courage *g*. That's one of the things about putting it out there. There's always someone who feels the same :-)
There is the opposite though. When I went to DC, one of the best times was just sitting around with a few authors just talking 'stuff'. I discovered for example that Julie James is also a fan of SYTYCD!! That was fun - comparing notes.