Monday, June 1, 2009

How NOT to participate in an author tea

At every roundtable author event, there is invariably one person who wants the author to notice her the most. To get this kind of attention, she volunteers dozens of personal anecdotes and asks all sorts of questions that tend to lead back to a discussion about her. By the end of the event, the other people at the table know WAY too much about her and not enough about the author. Here are some things I noticed firsthand at roundtable events. Notice that these are things you should AVOID when sitting at a table with one author and several civilians.

--DO NOT treat the discussion as a way to promote your business to a captive audience. Example: a scripted five-minute verbal resume followed by an attempt to get the author to sign up for something.

--DO NOT register your daughter, your daughter's friend, and your daughter's friend's friend. If the event is for booksellers, do not pretend that your kid is a bookseller. There is a long waiting list for the event and your prepubescent child would rather be somewhere else. You are taking up seats that belong to people who deserve them. Besides, it's obvious that YOU are the fangirl in this situation.

--If the author is talking about her latest book, DO NOT monopolize the conversation to talk about a previous book and then mention offhand that you thought the new book sucked. There is NO CALL FOR THAT KIND OF COMMENT. It is not constructive, and it is not the point of this event. Also, it is rude and will lead to public rants about you on the internet.

--If there is a half-second pause in the conversation, this does not mean that it's your turn to jump in with a comment like, "You know the part where the main character's brother dies? That was really powerful." There are several reasons why you should not do this: 1) that half-second pause is what happens when people are trying to figure out who is going to ask the next question. IT IS NOT YOUR TURN TO TALK. 2) You just ruined the ending, you psycho. 3) It's nice that you liked that part, but no one cares. Probably not even the author since you just mentioned how much her other book sucked.

--Seriously? Let someone else talk. Please.


Anonymous said...

You are a funny one Jake-the-girl! I love it when you get on your soapbox!

Shawn said...