Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How Not to Host a Book Signing

I went to a booksigning with a friend last night (at a bookstore I won't name) and walked away with some clear guidelines as to how not to host a booksigning:
  1. Don't provide refreshments.  It's hot and crowded and if there's one thing people may want (like a bottle of water), you should definitely make sure they don't get it.  It's not like your customer can go find a 7-11, since she showed up early to claim a seat and there are hipsters hovering in the doorway waiting to swoop in on it as soon as she stands up.
  2. Walk around and remind everyone that they must buy a book from the store in order to get something signed by the author... regardless of whether or not you have the author's book in stock.  Which you don't.  Which brings me to...
  3. Don't order enough books.  Over three hundred people RSVP'ed for the event on Facebook, and over a hundred people showed up for the event.  How were you supposed to know you needed more than 25 copies?
  4. Talk a lot before you introduce the writer.  This is the perfect opportunity to hear the sound of your own voice falling on two hundred ears that don't care.
  5. Emphasize that your email distribution list is free and act like it's a service for the community rather than shameless self-promotion.
  6. Make sure you mention you hadn't heard of the writer until he started his tour.
  7. Wander around and make noise while the author is talking.  Turn the building lights on and off repeatedly and look concerned, distracting both the audience and the speaker.
  8. Ask your customers to put their chairs away before they leave. It's not like you want to pick up your own store.
Um.... yeah.


Patricia said...

Well, now you know how not to host a book signing. Dang!

Enbrethiliel said...


I suppose one might honestly forget about refreshments . . . but yeah, the rest of the list is pretty bad.

Have you ever read Mansfield Park? There's a character in it who thinks the world could never run properly without her and is always fussing about because of that delusion. And of course, she's always the one making everything worse. The store manager, as described here, totally reminds me of her.

Bethany said...

Hahaha! That is brilliant.

Lindsay-with-an-A said...

It was pretty bad, and I unfortunately have the kind of personality that makes me want to take over when I see someone messing something up. It would have been a favor, but I doubt she would have thanked me.

Travis said...

9. Make political statements involving Glenn Beck.

10. Make sure you kill any hope of people be comfortable by turning off the A/C and fans...

Lindsay-with-an-A said...

Oh yeah! How could I have forgotten about the stifling heat and shameless pandering to the Indie crowd?

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