So this guy walks into a booksigning, and…

I’m going to take up from Michelle Gagnon’s terrific post on planning a book signing and pose a question: what is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you at a book signing? Either as the guest of honor or as an attendee? John Gilstrap tells HILARIOUS stories about doing a booksigning at Costco,involving the bay doors and a de facto wind tunnel. Sandra Brown also tells a great story about the first signing she ever did. What’s yours?

I don’t really have one. Well, yes I do. I did a signing at a local store and was all set up by the entranceway, showered, shaved and tap-dancing, and actually had people who weren’t related to me or in my circle of friends buying books. A guy — a big guy — walks through the door, sees me sitting there signing a book for a very nice lady, and rudely interrupts, asking “Where’s the music department?” I immediately responded, “Second floor. Turn right at the top of the escalator and go all the way back.” Of course, that was where the restrooms were located. For all I know, he’s still looking.

Your turn.


8 thoughts on “So this guy walks into a booksigning, and…

  1. Joe, I was asked the same question at a signing at Barnes & Noble. Wish I’d given the same answer.
    Looking forward to reading others’ experiences at signings. For me, they’ve sometimes been situations where I wished for my laptop so I could play Klondike.

  2. I was signing at a Borders (entrance in the mall) and Bantam sent a large color poster of the new book cover and with a large portrait of me. A man and his son came to the table and the man asked me about the book. We were talking and the kid (six or seven years old) looked at me and back at the poster several times before he said,
    “Is that you in the picture?”
    “Yes. Don’t you think it looks like me?”
    “Sort of but you look a lot older than the picture. A LOT older.”

    Jeffery Deaver had the best story. He was signing with another author and this young guy came in and sat in the back until the signing was over. After that he went over and Jeff asked him if he wanted an autogrphed copy of the book. The kid said that he had seen in the newspaper where Jeff and other author were going to be appearing in a nearby city the next day and he wanted a ride.

  3. My first short story sale was to a Star Trek anthology and the writers were invited to do a signing at a Star Trak convention. It’s a real mindtrip to be asked to sign your book by a Klingon in full battle garb.
    David DeLee
    Fatal Destiny – a Grace deHaviland novel

  4. NYT bestseller Sharon Sala tells a funny story about a tour signing she did at a Walmart. The book dept mgr had posted a huge banner at the entrance of the store and ordered lots of books, but when things started real slow, the mgr got nervous and started reading excerpts on the store’s overhead speakers.

    Sharon was mortified to hear his selections were all the sexy parts. She was ready to duck under the table until young military guys made a long line, eager to buy her book. Sharon’s signing was a real hit.

  5. These are GREAT stories. David, I shared your story with my wife and younger daughter (13) who are big NextGen fans.

    Richard, my experience took place at a B & N as well. My older son (30 at the time) was there and said, “What if he comes back?” I said, “I’ll try to sell him a book!”

    John, great stories, particularly the guy who wanted the ride. Unbelievable.

    Jordan, that’s extremely interesting. Was the manager clueless? Apparently so. I’m glad it worked for Sharon, though.

  6. Joe, I have no idea what the Walmart mgr had in mind when he picked the hot stuff to read over the speaker. I mean, seriously amazing.

    Sharon cringed and had nowhere to hide as she waited to see people’s reactions. I can see her chuckling too. She’s great. A really sweet woman.

    Miller’s Deaver story had me laughing aloud.

  7. I did a book signing/discussion at a Barnes & Noble on how an author assumes the characters their writing, and decided to keep the audience attention by changing into a period costume as I spoke. (Wig, gown, change of shoes, etc. I was wearing tight-fitting clothes and slipped the costume over them.) Once in costume, I changed my voice and accent to describe the character. I earned a round of applause and sold every book on the table.

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