Excuse the photo on the left. I swear I’m not usually that bedraggled, square, lopsided or pink.
The lovely lady in the picture (well, the other lovely lady…) is Sarah J. Maas, author of Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight and now Heir of Fire, for which I attended a book signing today.
Quick interjection: I love these books. Go read them.
I really like owning personalised, signed books by my favourite authors. I have a special shelf where they all live and I enjoy thinking about how somebody has signed those books just for me. I also like being able to put a face to a name, even when it continually surprises me that people are American.
Let’s face it though, these events are usually pretty dreary. I don’t mean the ones where there’s a Q & A, a reading or some kind of talk. Those are great and I feel like I can really get to know the author, even when they’re not talking to me personally. The quick, lunchtime signings though, where you queue for an hour to file past a table where somebody smiles at you, scribbles your name and you leave… let’s just say that I like the product more than the experience.
It’s not that I don’t appreciate the author giving up their time to come and meet their fans, especially when they live overseas. It must be tiring, writing the same thing over and over and answering the same questions, then rushing off to another appointment to do it all over again. It’s probably exhausting.
I’m also quite an awkward person so I never have questions for the author in question. I’m always acutely aware that they will have answered that same question 56 times already and there’s a long queue behind me. So I smile and leave.
Cue Sarah J. Maas. I was expecting exactly the same treatment. I say ‘treatment,’ like it’s something to be endured but I don’t mean that at all. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just the usual experience that I expect. Anyway, the queue was huge. I arrived half an hour early and it was already epic.
I have to admit, I did get pretty tetchy. It was my own fault for not taking enough time off work, but the queue just didn’t seem to move. I’ve been to book signings before, one just last week, but it seemed to just drag. I was talking on-and-off to a nice girl and her mother behind me, but in the end it took two hours and twenty minutes to get to the end.
It was completely worth it. Well, it’s usually worth it, because I have signed books, but this author made me feel so damn special. Do you know why it took so long? Because she spoke to every single damn one of us. Not just “hey, how are you? Thanks for coming,” crap; she has conversations with everybody. I must have been the 150th (ish) person she saw that day, but she still actually looked at me and talked to me about my hair and how I looked like the girl from Frozen. Then she offered to have a photo taken.
I know it really doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it actually kind of is when you compare it to… well, almost every other signing I’ve been to. Not only did she make conversation though, she wrote something in every single damn book. I know this sounds self-explanatory for a book signing, but it isn’t. Almost everybody had four books in front of them and yet everybody I saw had a comment personal to them. Look:
Sarah J. Maas is a lovely person that didn’t make me feel like I was just one of the 200 people that had gone to get their book signed. I’m under no illusions that she’d remember me tomorrow, but that doesn’t matter.
The thing is, I now want to make everybody buy her books, follow her on Twitter and just generally support her because I honestly feel like she deserves it. I don’t write positive, appreciative posts as often as I should, but I just wanted to tell everybody that you should definitely read Throne of Glass.