Brown River Queen cover art

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Possum Jackets

I have a book signing this Wednesday!

Fig. 7A. In which the Author demonstrates his usual decorum and restraint.

The signing is being sponsored by a Collierville book club. A portion of all sales go to charity, which is always a good thing, and I get a chance to stumble my way through a presentation in front of a new potential audience.

I'm always nervous before any kind of public event. There's so much potential for disaster, a small part of my brain is quick to point out. What if your belt inexplicably gives way, and your pants fall down? What if feral opossums have nested in your seldom-worn sports coat, and emerge during the reading? What if you you are suddenly possessed by A'Sha'Dasa, infernal Lord of the Inappropriate Anecdote Delivered to a Room of Horrified Elegant Ladies?

I really hate it when that last one happens.

But I'm sure everything will be just fine, and I'll even shake out my sports coat before leaving home.

Here are a few tricks I like to use to keep the audience engaged during a signing. Use them at your own discretion, and in accordance with the laws governing your city, state, nation, or planet of residence.
  • Bring a target pistol. Nothing drives home a printed exclamation point like discharging a pistol to add emphasis. 
  • If you can't voice your own characters well when reading dialog, bring along a troupe of voice actors, and remember -- there's ALWAYS room for interpretive dance.
  • Deal with hecklers as you would any small game animal. If the venue is a library, use a silencer, or brass knuckles.
  • Don't put out a tip jar unless you also put out a dance pole.
  • Most venues suggest your reading consist of no more than 3 to 5 minutes. I say give people more than they expect; read your entire book, except for the last page. It's not your fault the audience didn't bring cushions, or supper.
  • Make yourself stand out of the crowd with proper dress, good grooming, and a live chicken strapped to your head. Nobody ignores a live chicken. Nobody.
  • If a cell phone rings during your reading, laugh it off politely and continue. You don't want a repeat of Chicago. So much blood. So. Much. Blood.
  • Remember, you're an author. It is widely and correctly assumed that authors are walking compendiums of mental illnesses, substance abuse issues, and rampant Bohemianism. If you climb atop the podium midway through your reading, strip down to a Wonder Woman costume, and have a sudden violent altercation with a stuffed aardvark, people will just take that as the signal that a fresh wine and cheese tray has arrived and will act accordingly.
In other news, progress on the new (new) book continues. See you all next week!


  1. Yeah, have an awesome signing! I totally agree about the live chicken. Live ferrets too are good...

  2. The days of a gleaming smile and flashy signature are gone in regard to a book signing. You definitely have the flair necessary. My last signing had a droll reading with no voice acting. They were so mesmerized by my skills and story, the silence was uncanny - you could hear the dust motes screaming to their deaths. Of course, a rousing game of book bingo can get the blood pulsing. Anything for sale. Thanks for the extra suggestions - now I need to find find a chicken, stuffed aardvark, Bat Girl costume (don't want to be a total copycat) and a dance pole!