Saturday, July 5, 2014

THE TOP TEN THINGS PEOPLE HAVE SAID TO ME AT BOOK SIGNINGS

by Mary Kennedy
 
Like most authors, I do the occasional book signings, sometimes at book stores and sometimes at conferences. At the moment, I'm looking forward to signing copies of my first book in the Dream Club Mysteries, NIGHTMARES CAN BE MURDER. (Warning, shameless plug below.)
                                                              
 
Here's my list of the top ten things people have said to me.
 

1. Where's the ladies' room? (this is by far the number one comment.)
     Answer: "I think it's in the back, towards the left."
                                                        
 
 
2. "Did you write this?"
   Answer: "Yes, see there's my name, right on the cover."
 
3. "Are these free?"
   Answer: "I'm afraid they're for sale, just like every other book in the store."
                                                          
4. Are you Nora Roberts?
    "No, I'm Mary Kennedy."
. "Then why are you sitting next to a big display of Nora Roberts' books?"
     Answer. (it was actually a good question. There was a ginormous end cap filled with Nora's books, right next to me.). "I don't know."
 
5. "Did Nora send you in her place?"
     Answer: "No, she didn't."
     "You look better on your cover photo." (customer looks at author photo in back of my book.)                          
                                                        
 
Answer: "I was having a good hair day, that day." (and also good lighting and good make-up but there's no sense in giving away all my secrets)
 
6.  "Could you recommend me to your agent?"
    Answer: "No, I'm afraid she isn't taking on any new clients."
     
7.  "Well, then, could you recommend me to your editor?"
     Answer: "No, I'm afraid she's quite busy and has her own authors to worry about."
    "What good are you then?"
     Answer: "I have no idea, I've often wondered the same thing."
 
8. "Is there a staff restroom I could use?"
      Answer: "The public restroom is in the back of the store."
     "Yes, but it's out of toilet paper."
 
9. "Does your husband know you're doing this?"
      Answer: "Doing? what?" Customer points to large banner above me. It says, "Hot sizzling romance is just an arm's length away." He reaches his arm out playfully, as if to grab me and I shrink back in my chair.
 
10.  End of signing.  Bookstore owner looking at towering pile of unsold books. "Is this all you've sold?"
    Answer, (brave smile,). "I'm afraid so, but I had ever such a nice time!Thank you so much for inviting me."
      "Well, maybe we can do it again," he says doubtfully.
 
Not all signings are like this, of course, usually I meet fantastic people and form wonderful new friendships but these are a few that just stick in my mind.
 
Mary Kennedy
 
 
 







60 comments:

Lynda Turpin said...

Oh dear...Maybe "clueless" people don't read mysteries because they wouldn't recognize a clue if it was standing in front of them waving a sign that says "I'm a clue". For me I think the hardest part of having to deal with people like that would be staying pleasant and not sounding sarcastic when I responded to them.

When I was working in computer support, I had an employee call to say his computer wouldn't turn on. I went to his work area, checked his connections, and crawled under the desk to make sure everything was plugged in. While I was under the desk, he finally thinks to tell me that the power is out in his entire "cubicle" and asks if that would make a difference. Duh! I mean, I'm pretty good at fixing computers, but even I can't make a computer work without power. I was actually proud of myself for not calling him an idiot to his face (However, once I was back in my office I think may have mentioned that he was dumber than dirt).

At least clueless people are good for a chuckle (later on) :-)

Marina Sofia said...

Well done for turning this frustration in to humour!

Mark Baker said...

I've heard some other authors give a few of those examples before. However, I am laughing at the "Does Your husband know you're doing this" question since it is exactly my sense of humor. In fact, I could easily see myself pulling that on an unsuspecting author.

Melanie Backus said...

Oh Mary, Thank goodness not all book signings are like these. What questions! I have been to several signings and I am always thrilled to meet the author and gratefully ask for an autograph of his or her book I have purchased. Signings are very special to some of us so thank you for doing them.

Lorraine Bartlett said...

One zinger I remember well was at a library signing. I asked a woman "Do you read mysteries?" She glared at me and said, "I only ready QUALITY books." I wanted to haul off and slug her. Instead, I just smiled (through gritted teeth).

mary kennedy said...

Hi Lorraine, that is hysterical, she only reads *quality* books--OMG, truly you showed amazing restraint! Thanks for stopping by.

mary kennedy said...

Hi Melanie, thank you for the kind words--you are a gem!

mary kennedy said...

Mark, if you said it, I would chuckle along with you! This guy was a groper--ewww! Luckily, I didn't give him a chance! Thanks for stopping by.

mary kennedy said...

Hi Marina, thanks for stopping by, it was one of those "you've gotta laugh, or you've gotta cry" moments.!

mary kennedy said...

OMG< Lynda, that is a great story. And I love the expression "dumber than dirt," they used it down South all the time! Thanks for stopping by...

Diane LaBrie Leverson said...

People can be so rude and unthinking at times. Lorraine, I think people who read mysteries are people who are also good an problem solving. Those are the quality people.

mary kennedy said...

Hi Diane, you're right on both counts! Thanks so much for stopping by.

TM said...

Way good post, Mary. I guess people are the same all over, since I recognized all the comments.

Anonymous said...

How about---"You should write the story of my life!" (And then she sits down and talks for the next hour.) Yikes!
NancyM

mary kennedy said...

Hi TM, it's amazing but I think these things have happened to all of us!

mary kennedy said...

Nancy, I forgot that one!! That is absolutely true. One guy told me he had an amazing life story and that it was like something out of a James Bond movie. I asked him what he did for a living and he said, "I sell venetian blinds." Oh, okay...

Mary Jane Maffini said...

What a hoot, Mary! It's learn to laugh or you have to cry in this biz, for sure. I loved your post!

Can't wait for your new series.

XO

Dru said...

I'm just amazed at people.

mary kennedy said...

Hi Dru, it really is pretty remarkable!! Thanks for stopping by, hoping you are having a great holiday!

mary kennedy said...

Thanks so much, MJ. I hope I didn't come off as too snarky... thanks for stopping by!

Duffy Brown said...

Hi, Mary. What a great post. I always get what a nice hobby. Then there’s... I got a great idea, you write the book and we’ll split the profits. Or…Guess you write this in a weekend.
This is why writers drink. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the fabulous morning laugh! As a reader (of QUALITY mysteries), I love meeting authors whose books I enjoy, but this gives a new perspective to their side of the experience. Looking forward to reading "Nightmares Can Be Murder." Nancy R

mary kennedy said...

Exactly, Duffy! A good stiff drink would come in handy . And I'd totally forgotten about the "I'll give you the ideas you write the book and we'll split the profits." I can't BELIEVE how many people make me this "offer." Gee, all I have to do is write an 80,000 word book based on their idea. I think I need to do a follow up on this piece. I forgot some of the best ones!! Thanks for stopping by.

mary kennedy said...

Hi Nancy, thank you so much!! It's good to know readers really *like* to see us at book signings. People avoided me at the last one, like I was the Angel of Death. (unless they needed directions to the ladies' room, of course )

Lisa Ks Book Reviews said...

Wow, I had no idea signings could be so rough, and I managed a bookstore. I hope you don't let those pass idio...ummm...people stop you from doing a signing with your new book. Hugs.

Annette N said...

Could be worse, you could be asked to join her in the ladies room and help her write her life story. Hang in, 'cause there are those of us who are simply happy to see you and read what you have written. Thank you for sharing the smiles. And before I leave....if you are not Nora Roberts, could you get her autograph for me?

Paulette said...

Hi Mary,
Great article, love the comments!
My own favorite moments at a book signing, 1. When two women came up and the one made disparaging remarks about the content of the book (she read the back cover not the entire book) and the cover itself to her companion like I wasn’t even sitting there. (I kept a smile on my face the entire time.) 2. When a family member informed me in front of several people because I didn’t receive an advance from my publisher I wasn’t really published. And last but not least, when a woman proclaimed loudly she didn’t read romance books only important historical novels like ‘Gone With the Wind’ and Diana Gabaldon’s ‘Outlander’ series.
Gotta love the public!

Jsne Fricker said...

As Agatha Christie wrote, "One never quite takes into account the moron in our midst."
Mary, sorry you and Lynda have had the sad experience of finding a moron(or more than one in your case, Mary!) in your midst. Thank God at least these people aren't related to you!

Jane Fricker said...

How RUDE that woman was! I think, personally, that mystery novels ARE quality books. As Sister Carol Anne O' Marie wrote, " A murder mystery is the normal recreation of the noble mind." Clearly that witch you were dealing with did NOT have a noble mind!

Jane Fricker said...

Good grief, Mary, I never realized how harrowing an experience it could be for an author at a book signing. It occurs to me that you need a "posse"--a group of your friends or faithful fans to accompany you to one of these events. YOU might not want to respond in kind to one of these clueless ignoramuses but your posse could. " Buy a book lady, or get lost!" BTW, I have enjoyed chatting with you on the (now defunct) Barnes and Noble Mystery Forum and on facebook. Still looking forward to meeting you in person and getting a signature on whichever book you are selling at that time!

mary kennedy said...

Hi Lisa, it's a jungle out there thank you so much for the kind words. I'm going to have to write a follow up blog because there were so many examples I'd forgotten. Thanks so much for stopping by!

mary kennedy said...

HI Annette, I forgot to say the person who asked me if was Nora Roberts actually said, 'I'd much rather see Nora Roberts here in the store today." I said, "Well, yes, wouldn't we all!" But I don't think she got the sarcasm. Thanks for stopping by!.

mary kennedy said...

HI Paulette. Oh god, how awful. All three examples are ...ouch...painful. But I'm glad you kept a smile on your face. (we have to keep smiling because otherwise *they* win

mary kennedy said...

Thank you so much, Jane, I probably should call for "back up" at the next signing I do!

Paulette said...

Mary, the last one was priceless because she didn't realize she'd been reading romance all alone, LOL!

Paulette said...

all a long not alone, LOL!

Mark Baker said...

Yes, very true. I might say something like that while keeping my hands completely to myself.

Mark Baker said...

I don't know. With an attitude like that, she was probably reading all alone as well.

mary kennedy said...

I thought the same thing, Paulette. She was clearly clueless!

Jeffrey Marks said...

Some of my favorites.
Do you know where the Lisa Scottoline books are? Followed by: Do you know her?

Will you read my book and tell me what you think?

Do you like to read? I think I'd rather have a gun to my head than read a book.

Katreader said...

LOL People are too much! I love attending book signings and promise to ask only relevant questions-though I may ask someone where the ladies room is! lol

mary kennedy said...

Jeffrey, these are really good, I definitely need to do a "Part Two." A guy told me he wanted to be a writer but he had only read 8 books "in his entire life" and "they all were porn." I wasn't sure what he expected me to say!

mary kennedy said...

Very good, Kat!! Thanks for stopping by!

Jane Fricker said...

I just now noticed that I failed to get a comma between "book" and "lady" Don't want the customers to think they are buying a person, LOL. MY stupid typing mistake, please excuse it. You know what I meant.

Jane Fricker said...

I really had to chuckle at Jeffrey's comment about how he'd "rather have a gun to my head than read a book." Yeah, you authors can't STAND reading, LOL!
As far as the guy who told you, Mary, that he had "only read 8 books in his entire life and they were all porn," my suggestion would have been to tell him, "Go AWAY," the same way that Leonard, Howard, and Raj did to Sheldon, on The Big Bang Theory, when he was bugging them by trying to horn in on their work. And POINT the way out, too! THAT kind of customer, you do NOT need!

mary kennedy said...

It was pretty discouraging for me to hear "porn guy" say this, Jane, as he was someone I thought I knew reasonably well. Hah...I was so wrong! I remember someone asked Stephen King if it was possible to be a writer even though he never read anything, Stephen King said bluntly, "NO."

Linda Rima said...

We still use the phrase Dumber than dirt! Come to Houston. We're smarter & better-mannered.

Linda Rima said...

Mary, I did laugh at some of the comments. Some people have "hoof in mouth disease" where they're engaging the mouth before the brain. Although, I have met a couple of my favorite authors that left me speechless... I was overawed and didn't want to say something stupid so I said very little past "I love your series".

SueAnn said...

Questions like these, you will never want for ideas.....imagining the people..that ask these things...and what will or can happen to them!!! Crazy!

Diane Vallere said...

These are so funny! It is an interesting experience.

mary kennedy said...

HI Diana, thanks for stopping by. I got such a good response, I think I'll do a follow-up!

mary kennedy said...

Hi Sue Ann, I have to admit I was pretty taken aback at some of the comments I heard in the bookstore!

mary kennedy said...

HI Linda, "hoof in mouth disease," I love that expression! Very colorful, and very true!

Irene McKenna said...

I love this hilarious post. Ah, the joys of dealing with the public. :-)

Ellen C. said...

Mary, I can't stop laughing at these comments. Now I'm glad not many people showed up to my last book signing. I actually waited on customers who weren't at all interested in mysteries. The bookshop owner said I was better at "selling" my cookies than my books. May be my last appearance there? LOL

mary kennedy said...

Thanks, Irene, glad you enjoyed it, I promise to do a follow-up! It seems there were even more examples (that I'd blocked from my memory bank )

mary kennedy said...

Cookies always work! I once did a book signing for the military kids at DAFB (Dover Air Force Base). They have a middle school right on the base, and it was a wonderful experience. I gave away dozens of copies of my middle grade and young adult books (Scholastic) and made 300 chocolate chip cookies to pass out during the day. I know the cookies were a hit (and I hope the books were, too) but the cookies stole the show! Thanks for stopping by, Ellen.

Annette N said...

Mary, the woman was oblivious.....betcha she moved her lips when she read.

Ellen C. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Becke Davis said...

It drives me NUTS when people diss my favorite genres, but then I figure it's their loss. But still - what an ignorant thing to say!