Here's Meg: I did my first book signing this summer at RomCon (it was also the first RomCon so we stumbled along together). It was one of those mass signing set-ups so beloved of RT and RWA—fifty or sixty authors ranged around a large room, organized alphabetically. Normally, this might be a minor detail, but RomCon had managed to bring in some Very Big Names. Thus, going alphabetically, I was seated between Jo Beverley and Leanne Banks. Elizabeth Boyd was just down the table. Julia Quinn, Carly Phillips, and Brenda Novak were across from us. Gulp.
It’s one thing to be shy around readers. I think that’s sort of a given. But having been placed in the Living Legends group, I found myself totally tongue-tied. I wanted to crawl underneath the table and hide. Instead, I sat and stuttered.
It was fairly easy to figure out who was famous and who wasn’t among the authors scattered around the room. The Famous Authors all had long lines of readers wanting autographs. The not-so-famous had, well, nothing much. By now you may have seen Parnell Hall’s hilarious video about his book signing next to Mary Higgins Clark. That was sort of my experience, only I had the equivalent of Mary Higgins Clark on either side of me and across the room as well. I had a lot of time to arrange my pens, my bookmarks, and my book copies since nobody much wanted to talk to me.
Now it should be said that both Jo Beverley and Leanne Banks were friendly and very nice about the fact that they’d never heard of me. I also saw one or two readers come up to Jo Beverley and ask her what exactly she wrote. Beverley cheerfully explained that she wrote historicals and handed out cover flats of her latest. So even the famous haven’t reached everybody.
But still, by the end of the day my ego was the size of a Tic-Tac. So what advice can I give to those who are heading out to a mass book signing where you will be plopped down with the well-known and beloved? Maybe just to hang in there. Fans in the long lines are bored too, and sometimes they actually look at the books stacked in front of other authors. I had a few Leanne Banks fans take my excerpt booklets—I guess it gave them something to read while they waited in line for Christine Feehan. Practice smiling. Develop your inner Zen so that you can meditate on something restful while watching everybody else’s line. And most of all, don’t let it get you down. Once upon a time, nobody had heard of Jo Beverley either.
Meg Benjamin is the author of the Konigsburg series for Samhain Publishing. Book #4, Long Time Gone, was a Romantic Times Top Pick for Contemporary, and book #5, Brand New Me, will be released by Samhain on December 7. Meg lives in Colorado with her DH and two rather large Maine coon kitties (well, partly Maine coon anyway). You can find out more about Meg on her website , Facebook, MySpace , and Twitter . Meg loves to hear from readers—contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.