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Writing a book can often be solitary, discouraging, and tedious, but then falls the golden light of publishing. When it happens and you hold that paper and ink baby in your arms, it’s magic. For an author like me, who is new to this magic, this brings all sorts of firsts. My first cover reveal, my first release, and of course my first book signing. Now, I want you to know that there is really no etiquette book that teaches any of these things. I delicately stumbled upon this event the same way I do everything—with the enthusiasm of a Chihuahua on linoleum, and not much else. So I bet you can almost smell the success right?
Here are my tips of what not to do at a book signing.
1) When signing your first copy—ever, don’t forget that the odds of you becoming the next J.K. Rowling are rather slim. Therefore you don’t have to make sure that this book will be worth millions to the owner when you make it big. They may not even really be in the right line, just sign the book before they change their mind
2) If you do suddenly decide that you are destine for greatness because of all the endorphins you are experiencing, you may write some crazy message to the poor person who happens to be at the front of the line. Stop telling them about it. They will read it and realized you are crazy in the safety of their own home.
3) When that person has to come back to the table because you forgot to simply sign your name after six paragraphs about this being your first signing ever, just sign it and stop talking— there really is no making this better.
4) Have three or four small phrases thought up that you can lovingly place in your book with your signature. Don’t try to be clever when you have so much going on around you. You will forget how to spell, and punctuate, and quite possibly which end of the pen to use.
5) No matter how blank your brain goes after three of four messages, don’t write have a great summer, we should hang out. This is just fallback from high school survival.
6) If you want to buy a special pen to sign with, remember to bring it with you and don’t make everyone wait while you run out to your car to get your special pen. You’re not famous enough for this to be eccentric, it’s just weird.
7) When you return with your special pen and realize that gel pens become a smeary, horrible mess, which takes forever to dry, stop trying to make it work. Move on with dignity.- And no, trying to absorb the excess ink in your armpit is not dignified.
8) Don’t skip breakfast. With all the excitement and fear you will get goofy when your blood sugar drops. It’s hard to make intelligent conversation with a cookie in your mouth.
9) Hug everyone- it throws people off and they won’t realize you have no idea what you’re doing.
10) Most importantly, no matter how crazy, embarrassing, or hectic it gets—DON’T FORGET TO ENJOY THE MOMENT! Amazing firsts come so seldom in life, drink them in and savor them.