Sunday, August 24, 2008

Signed in Blood

There's been a fair bit of discussion over the last week or so about book signings and how onorous authors feel they are, Abebooks Reading Copy blog has turns up some amusing anecdotes :
From those who are incredibly successful…

There’s a shocking story about Stephen King signing books in a Seattle shop. He signed for hours until his shoulder ached and a publicist had to apply an ice-pack. Then his fingers dried up; they cracked and began to bleed, and he asked for a bandage. Hearing this, a fan in the queue demanded to have some authentic Stephen King blood on his book. Others joined in and he signed in his own blood for hours. Chuck Palahniuk, the modern gross-out novelist, author of Fight Club, recalls a visit to a store in Austin, Texas, where the staff dished out free beer to the signing queue, and where an aggressive queuer, possibly not Chuck’s greatest fan, demanded of a quaking employee: “Why should I wait in this long line to get my books signed by that dickwad?”

and those who are not…

Jonathan Coe, author of What a Carve Up! and The Rain Before It Falls, recalls two encounters at a signing in Brighton: one woman picked up his new novel, read the author’s biog on the back flap and sniffed, “Is that your only claim to fame?” When he said, “Yes,” she replaced the book without another word. The other was a girl student who said brightly, “Can I ask you a question? Why are all your women characters so crap?”
Humourist David sedaries, author of the bestselling When You Are Engulfed In Flames has a pretty unique way of handling signings he expalins in the Sydney Morning Herald:
Two years ago, he offered priority signing for smokers and was unsuccessfully sued by one disgruntled fan for discriminating against non-smokers. "My main thought was 'What are you doing in my audience? Who let you in?"', he told SiT's bookworm, Kelsey Munro. "So next time I offered priority signing to men under 5 foot 6."

... With popularity has come protracted book signings. "Something happens around seven hours and you become silly. In this one woman's book, I drew a plank. Then it looked like it would be a sign, like you'd have in a yard. So I wrote 'Abortions, $3'. She was upset, so I changed it to $13. It was already drawn. What else could I do?"


Anonymous said...

Think how much worse it'd be if no one wanted to have the book you've written signed!

Be grateful.

- Poppadumdum.

Anonymous said...

OMG that happens! I've been known to put poems in mine... If you look carefully they all have hidden meanings :) what can I say, it gets boring :)