Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Oh, I'm Sorry. I Thought You Were Someone Else

Ah, author signings. A favorite pastime of book lovers everywhere. If you're lucky enough to live somewhere frequented by authors, that is. Lucky for me, I am. I live in Utah (Utah gets a lot of author signings?) I know, right? But for some strange reason we do. A lot of these signings are by local authors. We Utahns have a lot of authors in state but we've had visits from people like Kathryn Stockett, Markus Zusak, Sarah J Maas, Lois Lowry and Ruta Sepetys. Maybe it's because we Utahns like to read and buy books? I'm really not sure of the reason but I'm sure happy to be a part of it.

Now, I usually don't post about the author signings I go to. Besides the fact that I don't go to as many anymore, I also just get happy to be at the event and forget to take pictures. I Want to live in the moment I guess. But I think the other reason is because of repeated awkwardness at book signings.

So, you go to the event. You're excited!  If it's an author you love you've been eagerly awaiting this day. You sit amongst other book lovers who are excitedly chattering and then the event begins. Someone announces the author and there they are! They look so human and normal but not all at once. They start to talk and you listen enraptured. Sometimes not so enraptured. I'll admit some authors are sadly not the greatest of speakers and are rather boring. But, hey, who cares? Your fan-girling something awful over here! Then comes the signing. You wait in line...sometimes a VERY LONG line and as you get closer to the author you sneak peeks at them; start panicking about what you're going to say to them. Then the big moment comes. You either smile stupidly as they sign your book and squeak out a, "thanks for coming" or you have enough guts to actually tell them how much you loved their book or books and how excited you  are to finally meet them. And then they look up at you...or not and smile and say thanks. Hand your books back to you and look over your shoulder at the next person in line. Hinting that you, crazy fan girl, need to move on.

I could go into a myriad of reasons this is the response one might get but rather than blame the author, I've decided to blame myself. I think what really bothers me, aka, lets me down is I was expecting someone else. I wanted to meet the character from the author's book I loved so much. Not the author.  So I'm left feeling disappointed and sad.

Sigh! I'm going to meet Cassandra Clare and Holly Black tonight. I'm most excited about Holly Black. Her Curse Workers Series is in my top 5 favorite books! But...maybe it's not Holly I want to meet. Maybe It's Cassel. But since I can't meet him, I'll awkwardly smile at his maker and try not to gush too much!

What about you? Do you feel let down after meeting an author? Do you think it's because we actually wanted to meet their characters?


  1. I don't ever feel let down after I meet an author, except when the author doesn't seem to be excited to be there. For example, Lois Lowry is one of my heroes. I remember reading Number the Stars when I was in middle school. I didn't read back then, so it was a big deal for me. But, she was so abrupt and non-personable that the event wasn't all that fun to me. She reminded me of how I picture LMA to be after reading about her issues with Jo and Laurie. If that makes any sense... So, she's the only one I've ever been disappointed in meeting.

    Every other author has been really nice, especially Markus Zusak! Loved him! And, so I'm always really excited to meet these people, not their characters. I feel awkward with some of them because of my personality, but that's me, not them.

    I hope I've made sense.

    1. Makes perfect sense! And you're right. Markus was awesome.

  2. I think this is the biggest reason that I’m always talking myself out of going to author signings. Well, this and not having enough time. I’m afraid either they won’t live up to what I imagined or they do and I totally embarrass myself in front of them. I guess I’ll have to go to a signing one day and see what happens. I mean they are just regular people after all. But anyways, I hope you have fun at the Cassandra Clare and Holly Black signing.

  3. I've never been to an author signing. I feel like it's weird to stand in line just to get someone's signature. That's basically what you're doing and why does that even matter? I'm not trying to be negative, but I would rather sit and listen to them talk than meet them for two seconds. If meeting them could last long enough to be meaningful, then maybe that would be okay, too, but that quick glance at the face and squick of a pen just doesn't do it for me. I end up feeling bad for them that they have to handle so many people like being in the receiving line at a wedding reception. -_-

  4. Huh. I never thought about it before, but you're right -- many times I would rather meet the characters in a book I love than the person who created them. Interesting.

  5. Interesting take on the author signing thing! I'm not sure I'd ever thought about wanting to meet the characters instead, but wouldn't that be AWESOME?!! I do feel disappointed sometimes though, not often thankfully. And mostly it has to do with how lines, crowds and people are handled, not necessarily the author. Anyway. We should rate our favorite author signings and see what the list looks like. Yes?

  6. Working at I have had many opportunities to meet the authors but I have been by no means disappointed! I do not know why it happens to you. Maybe, your expectations are too high?

  7. I've only met a few authors in my life, and I wouldn't say exactly that I felt let down by them. It was more that I just didn't need to have met them. The power imbalance between me and an author I love is so steep, especially if I meet them at an event, that it makes it feel impossible to have any kind of normal interaction with them. So it's just not something I seek out anymore.

  8. I've been pretty lucky with the author signings I've gone to. Even at BEA I can only think of one author that I felt was rude or wasn't interested in signing books and chatting (he was definitely of the "Next fan" type). I hope Holly Black brings her best Cassel impersonation to the signing! ;)

  9. This is a lovely post. I want to meet Murakami, Gaiman, Rowling, and SO many of them. But, India barely receives authors.

    Your post also reminded me of this beautiful passage from Alan Bennett's 'The Uncommon Reader'.

    "“Authors, she soon decided, were probably best met within the pages of their novels, and were as much creatures of the reader's imagination as the characters in their books. Nor did they seem to think one had done them a kindness by reading their writings. Rather they had done one the kindness by writing them.”

  10. Holly is the best. I hope you love her!!!!

  11. I haven't met all that many but it's been about 50/50 for me. Those I've met because I already spoke to them via Twitter or was there to interview for the ezine I used to write for have become friends, some closer than others (we're talking maybe 3) but those whose books I read but whom I had no prior relationship with? Those were almost all let-downs. Occasionally, a particularly personable author will really take time to talk to individuals but they're rare, especially when there are a lot of people in line. Could just be they're introverted and signings are overwhelming. I know the idea of doing a reading or signing if I were to ever write a selling novel fills me with unspeakable dread. Hope you had a great time!

  12. I've only met a couple authors because I am not from the awesome state of Utah. ;) But I can completely agree about the awkwardness that can happen! I was absolutely the fan who smiled dumbly at Ree Drummund, aka Pioneer Woman, posed for a photo and never even said hello. I didn't even have to tell her my name because one of the store employees came around me stuck a post-it-note on my book with my name on it! (But I still had a good time. :)

    I have, however, had the privilege to meet Diana Peterfreund and she was so nice and engaging. She took a good 5-10 minutes chatting with me and got me to actually speak to her. She signed my books, posed for pictures, and was just overall pretty awesome! I met Natalie Lloyd once as well and she was all kinds of awesome. She made me immediately feel comfortable and as we'd chatted via twitter before that day, she was expecting me and actually figured out who I was before we met! Which just made my day, of course. :)

    But yes, I know what you mean about the awkwardness. And I think you might have it exactly right, maybe what I'm expecting to meet is the characters I love. Because that's who I've really fallen in love with. I know it's the author's words, but it's the story and the character I know so well, not the author themselves.