book signing newbie

I experienced my first-ever book signing event last week at the Ontario Library Association (OLA) Super Conference. My amazing publicist Vikki handed out advanced reading copies of Mad Miss Mimic to a queue of librarians and other conference attendees, and then I perched at a table in the Penguin Random House booth and signed them.IMG_9622IMG_9623My slot in the schedule was 35 minutes long but it felt like 5 (the ARCs went fast). I was giddy with excitement. I met some lovely people and smiled for lots of photos and urged everyone to take a posy along with his or her book.

The one thing I didn’t think of in preparing for my first-ever book signing was…drumroll…signing the book. Which of the front-matter pages do I sign? What pen do I use (I didn’t bring one!) What should I write, if anything? (Out of last-second desperation I landed on “Happy reading.”). How do I sign?

No, it’s true. I completely blanked on my signature, and in the first couple of ARCs I wrote out my entire name in a kind of demented cursive scrawl. My apologies if you were the recipient of one of these.

How much effort would it have taken, that morning over breakfast, to choose my favourite pen and practice a few times on scrap paper? Why didn’t I think of doing this? I’m fairly sure many people have fantasized about signing their own book. (Or not–this could be one of those nerd-outing moments on my part.) I’m absolutely certain that I have fantasized in the past about signing my book. But when the fantasy came true on OLA day, the actual mechanics of it completely slipped my mind.

I could see a metaphor here for the way I do everything in life: anticipate the bejeezus out of it and then let the big moment slip past me unnoticed. But in fact I had a really, really good time at the Super Conference. I browsed the show floor and talked to book-fair people, literacy advocates, and indie press reps. I listened to CANSCAIP authors read from their latest offerings. I enjoyed the working-holiday vibe of the librarians collecting swag from all the booths. And I felt deep-down proud to be part of the PRH “family” with all its amazing books on display.

So really, my first signing was all I could have hoped for, newbie embarrassments and all.

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