Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Guest: Alon Shalev - Authors Are Funny People

Book Signing Games of BerkeleyAuthors are funny people. Really. Some are socially awkward. We take that for granted given that they sit alone behind a keyboard for long hours and live in alternative realities. Still…

I recently participated in an authors’ fair and, to be clear, most presenters were lovely, social people. I think I just happened to be sandwiched between the um…more interesting ones. I could just see the sympathetic looks I received from other authors around the room safely ensconced behind their tables.

Here is a list: What Not To Do at an Authors’ Fair.
  • Don’t hog the microphone. Seven minutes of Open Mic might be 10, but they sure ain’t 20.
  • Don’t walk up to someone’s table and lecture them how they really must read your book, especially if it is not connected to their genre. Actually, just don’t do it.
  • Either compliment their book covers or don’t say anything. This is a book fair, not an art show.
  • If you say you accept credit cards, make sure you can. Have the app open and ready (and don’t ask the author at the next table to swipe on their phone for you).
  • Do not ask an author to put your promotional material on their table even if you write in the same genre.
  • If you get a phone call when another author is presenting, take it outside. Better yet, if you need someone to tell you that, don’t come back!
  • We understand why you need to eat during a long event, but go wash your sticky fingers before you fondle our book covers.
  • “I’ll swap with you.” Don’t offer to swap books with an author who is making a living from this, especially when there is no genre connection. Go to a Swapmeet.
  • Don’t spend your time telling us how really successful authors in your genre don’t know what they are doing. Sell a few million books first. Then we’ll listen … maybe.
I remember reading a collected work of the musings of Sir Terry Pratchett, who passed away last year. I have to admit never experiencing what he did. During a Book Show, he went to the bathroom and someone passed a copy of his book under the cubical door and asked him to sign!

Guess I have nothing to complain about, eh Terry?
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Alon Shalev is the author of magical realism, fantasy and social issue themed fiction.  Click here to explore his work and here for Shalev's popular blog.  He can be found on Twitter at @elfwriter 

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