30 seconds in author Heaven

Okay, hot shot: you are standing in line waiting to get your book signed by your favourite author–you’ve got 30 seconds of face time to prove you’re not a blathering idiot. What do you say when it’s your turn? This kind person has you covered with book-signing conversation tips for readers. (Note: please follow up with one for authors trying to make small talk with those guys that show up with stacks of everything you ever wrote, including crappy journal publications from the 90s, for you to sign so they can …. what?…. sell them to the highest bidder? HAHAHAHHAH.)

For a book nerd, an author book signing is no small prospect. Standing face-to-face for 30 seconds with an author whose work you love is equally thrilling and nerve-wracking. You don’t know this person, yet, after reading their stories, you almost feel like you know them better than you know some of your best friends.

I remember getting my book signed by Michael Ondaatje and him saying, “Nice to meet you,” and me saying “Actually, we’ve met a couple times a year for a the last few years. And I sang harmony for you at a party at Redhill’s. And I won your shirt at that party as well.” And he looked at me quietly for a moment with those inscrutable squints and nodded like I was insane and he didn’t want to exacerbate the situation by further engaging. I think it went fairly well.

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