Things Not To Do At A Book Signing

Ask the author to sign something random, like a 850 BCE Greek cremation urn or your offspring.

Make a critique of the book so incisive the author has to rewrite it and issue a new edition.

Make the line three hours long by standing in it.

Give the author your manuscript: a 700-page erotic M/M My Little Pony fan-fiction that will be too engrossing to put down.

Give the author a portrait that, over time, is revealed to be prolonging your youth and beauty while theirs fades at twice the rate. (In publishing we already have this, and it’s called the book tour.)

Re-enact Misery.

Step up to the microphone to ask a question, but instead, tell a moving story about your childhood and your mother that speaks to poverty and gender in midwestern America. Your mother! From this point on, everyone agrees that the book signing is actually The Moth, and the event becomes more of a free-form community gathering.

Wear two chic prints that somehow work together. Honestly, how dare you.

Slip the author a small but unique postage stamp. As time passes, the author will discover that the postage stamp is a metaphor (for ‘pain’) and incorporate it into their next novel, which will then be critically panned.

Tell the author how much their book meant to you. When you finish, realize you were describing Tuesdays With Morrie.

Tell the author how much your book meant to them.

When you greet the author, smile, revealing that each of your teeth has been carved into the shape of their face.

Set up a competing book signing at the other end of the venue, complete with a display copy of your MFA from Iowa. What’s worse, your book is actually… kinda good? And has a blurb from Raymond Carver? Raymond Carver is THERE?! ISN’T HE DEAD?! WHAT IS HAPPENING?! The author wakes up.

Ask for a photograph when photographs have been banned in America for the past 23 years, along with reading and words.

While shaking the author’s hand, lean in and whisper “I downloaded your book illegally.”

Ask a two-part question during the Q&A.