Saturday, July 12, 2014


by Mary Kennedy                           

As promised here are some more "book signing horror stories." The response to last week's post
was so great, I thought you might enjoy a few more.

1. Tantric Sex Guy approached me and cut right to the chase. He didn't even bother looking at the neat pyramid of my books and said bluntly, "Are you into tantric sex?"
Answer: (after taking a deep, calming breath). "No, afraid not. I'm here to sign books." (hoping to redirect him).
"Is your husband around?" He looks nervously from side to side.
"Yes" I say brightly. (improvising madly). "He's two aisles over, checking out the military history books. He's an ex-Navy Seal."
"You're married to a Navy Seal?"
"I sure am!" (I give a big fake smile. Actually I'm married to a British scientist, but that didn't sound deadly enough). "And he's wildly jealous. He nearly killed a man in Dallas, just for looking at me."
"Maybe I better come back later."
"Good idea! Bye, now!" I give a cheery little wave as he lopes off. He has a strange gait, like a feral dog or a wolf and I remember to make a note of that detail for a future book. (Luckily, for writers, everything is material.)
2. The Guy with His Grandmother's Memoirs. He plunked down an enormous manuscript on the signing desk--it was the size of three Manhattan phone books.             
"My grandmother in Iran wrote her memoirs," he begins, "and her English isn't so good. I'm having trouble finding an agent." (what a surprise.)
"Yes?" I say, trying not to show too much enthusiasm.
"I thought maybe you could read her book and recommend it to your agent."
"Well, I'm afraid I really couldn't do that--"
"You'll need a Farsi dictionary," he says, cutting me off, "so I brought you one." (what a thoughtful guy!)
Sure enough, he plunks a Farsi-English dictionary on top of the ginormous manuscript. "Some chapters are written entirely in Farsi, I tried to write some notes in the margins, but I gave up after the first 300 pages."
"I'm not surprised."
Memoir guy leaves, looks disappointed.
3. Mr. 007 "You really should write my life story," he tells me, "we could make millions." He vaguely looks like a guy who knocked on my door last week, trying to sell me magazine subscriptions.
"We could?"
"Sure! With your looks and my brains, we could clean up."
"Hmmm..."(pretending to consider). "You said, 'with my looks and your brains,' why couldn't I be the one with the brains?"
"Well, it just doesn't work that way," he says irritably. "Now here's the thing, I'll give you the ideas and you just write them up. You have the easy part," he adds generously. "We'll split the profits 50-50. Are you with me, so far?"
"I think so." (wow, he really knows how to tempt a girl.)
"My life is so exciting, my friends call me 007."

"They do?" 
"Yes, and I'll tell you why. I love excitement and danger, I love to explore new places and I'm the man of a million faces. Women throw themselves at me everywhere I go."
"Really? That's fascinating. Are you a spy or something?"
"Not quite." For the first time, a note of doubt creeps into his voice.
"But what do you do?" I persist. "Do you have a business card?"
"Sure." He pulls out a card and hands to me.
I read the card. 007--the man of a million faces--sells Venetian blinds.
I hastily get rid of him.
4. ZZ Top walks up to the table. Okay, it's not really ZZ Top. but he has a long white beard.                             
"Hi there! We went to high school together."
"I don't think so," I say politely.
"We did, we did!! I sat right behind you in algebra."
I smile. "I went to a Catholic girls' school, a boarding school, actually."
"Oh." He looks crushed and I feel vaguely sorry for him. "Maybe I got it wrong, I'm getting sort of forgetful."
"That's okay. Have a nice day." He looks at least 120 years old and thinks we went to school together. (Note to self: look into Botox immediately and get the name of a good plastic surgeon.)
So "another day, another dollar," as they say. Except this time, I didn't make a dollar, I didn't sell a single book. But in the end, it all paid off.  Book sales? Zero. Weird characters? Priceless!
Mary Kennedy
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