Signs of the Times

It’s Sunday.
It’s me, Edith.

Signing And it will be the best of times or the worst of times today. At least, for me. I’m going to a book signing at a huge Barnes & Noble Superstore here on Long Island today.

Are you an egotist? A bad signing will cure you forever. People shopping for books, passing you and avoiding your eye for fear you’ll try to sell them something, or stopping to ask you where the lady’s room is. A bad signing can make you think of abandoning writing and taking up clamming for a living.

Are you feeling low? A good signing will make you feel like Queen of the World! So many people who love your books! (note: good signings are rare.)

I love to get together with other authors and compare signing stories.

Do any other authors have one? Do any readers have any?

The best I ever heard was one my son-in-law, a Brit, told me. It’s a little Monty Python, but it’s true. When he was a student he got a job in a bookstore. They had an author in to do a signing, and as often happens, nobody came. The author was downcast, the manager of the bookshop, upset.

So he hit upon a plan. He had all his salespersons leave their posts, and one by one go to the author and ask for an autograph. Then the manager had his workers come back to the author after exchanging hats and coats, as well as altering their postures so as to appear taller or shorter. The overwhelmed author was frabjous, and hardly had time to look up from his signing as he was besieged by all these avid fans.

My son-in-law wore three different outfits that day. But that was one happy author!

Hoorah for understanding booksellers!

Well, here I go…. Wish me a good bookstore.

(Uh, and to cover my ego, I’m signing with Barbara Metzger and Joan Wolf. We can blame each other if no one shows.) 

27 thoughts on “Signs of the Times”

  1. Hooray for understanding booksellers, indeed!
    Signings are the ultimate crap shoot. I’ve been to signings with NYT authors, sitting by their lonesome behind a pile of unsold books, and others where a local author, self-publishing on dog training, has managed to draw the entire county, and sells books by the dozens. The biggest signing I’ve ever seen wasn’t even at a bookstore: it was in a Williams-Sonoma, for cookbook author Giada de Laurentis. There were so many people buying books that the line snaked far, far into the mall; I heard afterwards she sold out, nearly 400 books!
    So I’m sending a bushel of good-signing kharma your way, Edith. I hope you’re surrounded by hoards of appreciative, adoring readers, and that you sell the proverbial boat-load. 🙂
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  2. Hooray for understanding booksellers, indeed!
    Signings are the ultimate crap shoot. I’ve been to signings with NYT authors, sitting by their lonesome behind a pile of unsold books, and others where a local author, self-publishing on dog training, has managed to draw the entire county, and sells books by the dozens. The biggest signing I’ve ever seen wasn’t even at a bookstore: it was in a Williams-Sonoma, for cookbook author Giada de Laurentis. There were so many people buying books that the line snaked far, far into the mall; I heard afterwards she sold out, nearly 400 books!
    So I’m sending a bushel of good-signing kharma your way, Edith. I hope you’re surrounded by hoards of appreciative, adoring readers, and that you sell the proverbial boat-load. 🙂
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  3. Hooray for understanding booksellers, indeed!
    Signings are the ultimate crap shoot. I’ve been to signings with NYT authors, sitting by their lonesome behind a pile of unsold books, and others where a local author, self-publishing on dog training, has managed to draw the entire county, and sells books by the dozens. The biggest signing I’ve ever seen wasn’t even at a bookstore: it was in a Williams-Sonoma, for cookbook author Giada de Laurentis. There were so many people buying books that the line snaked far, far into the mall; I heard afterwards she sold out, nearly 400 books!
    So I’m sending a bushel of good-signing kharma your way, Edith. I hope you’re surrounded by hoards of appreciative, adoring readers, and that you sell the proverbial boat-load. 🙂
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  4. I hope the signing went well, Edith! At the least, you have most excellent company. I’m always happier to sign with a couple of friends. Since I keep my expectations low, I’m not disappointed if I sell only one book, and I have a chance to catch up with my buddies.
    Where can I find a bookseller like that British one? 🙂
    Mary Jo, who likes the free book giveaway signings that publisher do at RWA because it makes a writer feel so WANTED!

    Reply
  5. I hope the signing went well, Edith! At the least, you have most excellent company. I’m always happier to sign with a couple of friends. Since I keep my expectations low, I’m not disappointed if I sell only one book, and I have a chance to catch up with my buddies.
    Where can I find a bookseller like that British one? 🙂
    Mary Jo, who likes the free book giveaway signings that publisher do at RWA because it makes a writer feel so WANTED!

    Reply
  6. I hope the signing went well, Edith! At the least, you have most excellent company. I’m always happier to sign with a couple of friends. Since I keep my expectations low, I’m not disappointed if I sell only one book, and I have a chance to catch up with my buddies.
    Where can I find a bookseller like that British one? 🙂
    Mary Jo, who likes the free book giveaway signings that publisher do at RWA because it makes a writer feel so WANTED!

    Reply
  7. I’d have loved to be there–three of my favorite authors (of whom you, of course are Number One!)–I’d have bought everything in sight and gushed gooily.
    You wrote: “A bad signing can make you think of abandoning writing and taking up clamming for a living.”
    Is that what is known as “clamming up”?

    Reply
  8. I’d have loved to be there–three of my favorite authors (of whom you, of course are Number One!)–I’d have bought everything in sight and gushed gooily.
    You wrote: “A bad signing can make you think of abandoning writing and taking up clamming for a living.”
    Is that what is known as “clamming up”?

    Reply
  9. I’d have loved to be there–three of my favorite authors (of whom you, of course are Number One!)–I’d have bought everything in sight and gushed gooily.
    You wrote: “A bad signing can make you think of abandoning writing and taking up clamming for a living.”
    Is that what is known as “clamming up”?

    Reply
  10. wow – I would have been there to support you, Edith, if I still lived in NYC / Connecticut! It doesn’t hurt that I also adore Joan Wolf! I bought a signed copy of “No Dark Place” from Ebay to support a charity … and I own her whole back list even those crazy hard to find contemporaries she wrote in the mid-80’s. Sorry – I digress in to my Joan Wolf fan-girl mode 🙂
    I’ve never been to a signing – no authors I care for seem to make it to Tampa that I hear about. But what should one say? “I love your work,” seems so trite, yet “I stalk bookstores at midnight waiting for your new release to hit the shelf!” seems, well, frightening.

    Reply
  11. wow – I would have been there to support you, Edith, if I still lived in NYC / Connecticut! It doesn’t hurt that I also adore Joan Wolf! I bought a signed copy of “No Dark Place” from Ebay to support a charity … and I own her whole back list even those crazy hard to find contemporaries she wrote in the mid-80’s. Sorry – I digress in to my Joan Wolf fan-girl mode 🙂
    I’ve never been to a signing – no authors I care for seem to make it to Tampa that I hear about. But what should one say? “I love your work,” seems so trite, yet “I stalk bookstores at midnight waiting for your new release to hit the shelf!” seems, well, frightening.

    Reply
  12. wow – I would have been there to support you, Edith, if I still lived in NYC / Connecticut! It doesn’t hurt that I also adore Joan Wolf! I bought a signed copy of “No Dark Place” from Ebay to support a charity … and I own her whole back list even those crazy hard to find contemporaries she wrote in the mid-80’s. Sorry – I digress in to my Joan Wolf fan-girl mode 🙂
    I’ve never been to a signing – no authors I care for seem to make it to Tampa that I hear about. But what should one say? “I love your work,” seems so trite, yet “I stalk bookstores at midnight waiting for your new release to hit the shelf!” seems, well, frightening.

    Reply
  13. Believe us, “I stalk bookstores waiting for your new release” would excite us beyond all imagination! Writing is a miserably lonely business and our hard work falls into this great vacuum from which it never returns. We seldom hear reports since most readers aren’t as verbal as we are , and signings are our only test of love. And they’re pure torture. How did it go, Edith? You’re braver than I am, these days. I haven’t even had the nerve to pick up the phone and offer to sign copies in the store lately, not since the last store manager asked to see my ID.

    Reply
  14. Believe us, “I stalk bookstores waiting for your new release” would excite us beyond all imagination! Writing is a miserably lonely business and our hard work falls into this great vacuum from which it never returns. We seldom hear reports since most readers aren’t as verbal as we are , and signings are our only test of love. And they’re pure torture. How did it go, Edith? You’re braver than I am, these days. I haven’t even had the nerve to pick up the phone and offer to sign copies in the store lately, not since the last store manager asked to see my ID.

    Reply
  15. Believe us, “I stalk bookstores waiting for your new release” would excite us beyond all imagination! Writing is a miserably lonely business and our hard work falls into this great vacuum from which it never returns. We seldom hear reports since most readers aren’t as verbal as we are , and signings are our only test of love. And they’re pure torture. How did it go, Edith? You’re braver than I am, these days. I haven’t even had the nerve to pick up the phone and offer to sign copies in the store lately, not since the last store manager asked to see my ID.

    Reply
  16. The signing was loverly! The Barnes & Noble Publicity person Kathy, was gracious and a good moderator. Pat, who stocks Romance, was there too. It was a gorgeous mega-store.
    We had a nice audience (it was a hot day.)
    We actually signed some books!
    There was a question & answer hour.
    We got water, and flowers, and applause.
    Our one time editor from Signet, Hilary Ross, was there too.
    But the best part is that we had each other, and Joan and Bobbie and I are old buddies. So we had a grand time.
    And that’s how I spent my summer vacation.
    Back to Work!

    Reply
  17. The signing was loverly! The Barnes & Noble Publicity person Kathy, was gracious and a good moderator. Pat, who stocks Romance, was there too. It was a gorgeous mega-store.
    We had a nice audience (it was a hot day.)
    We actually signed some books!
    There was a question & answer hour.
    We got water, and flowers, and applause.
    Our one time editor from Signet, Hilary Ross, was there too.
    But the best part is that we had each other, and Joan and Bobbie and I are old buddies. So we had a grand time.
    And that’s how I spent my summer vacation.
    Back to Work!

    Reply
  18. The signing was loverly! The Barnes & Noble Publicity person Kathy, was gracious and a good moderator. Pat, who stocks Romance, was there too. It was a gorgeous mega-store.
    We had a nice audience (it was a hot day.)
    We actually signed some books!
    There was a question & answer hour.
    We got water, and flowers, and applause.
    Our one time editor from Signet, Hilary Ross, was there too.
    But the best part is that we had each other, and Joan and Bobbie and I are old buddies. So we had a grand time.
    And that’s how I spent my summer vacation.
    Back to Work!

    Reply
  19. Wow! I’m going to stop being so shy (be quiet Sherrie) and take pity on the poor authors I see manning their tables sometimes at stores. You mean it’s not all glamour, Edith?

    Reply
  20. Wow! I’m going to stop being so shy (be quiet Sherrie) and take pity on the poor authors I see manning their tables sometimes at stores. You mean it’s not all glamour, Edith?

    Reply
  21. Wow! I’m going to stop being so shy (be quiet Sherrie) and take pity on the poor authors I see manning their tables sometimes at stores. You mean it’s not all glamour, Edith?

    Reply

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