Gossip, Lindsay, Covers, and RWA

July 24th, 2010

It’s that time of year again, the time when most of us are off to camp or vacation (or, if you’re Lindsay Lohan, jail).

Well, writers aren’t any different. I’m off to Orlando for the ROMANCE WRITERS OF AMERICA NATIONAL CONVENTION. (Yeah, I did get a little excited writing that, thanks.)

I’m especially excited to go this year because I get to hand out an award . . . just like Vanna White!

This will give me an opportunity to meet lots of new people. Also to break in the new shoes I just ordered from Stella McCartney (if they arrive in time. FINGERS CROSSED).

I no longer enter the RITA, which is “romance writing’s highest award.” I got tired of the YA category always getting cancelled due to no one but me entering (but only AFTER I’d lugged my giant box of books to the post office).

The phone call from RWA Headquarters, telling me that they were going to send my books back to me, was always very sweetly apolegetic.

The last time this happened, I burst into tears right there on the phone.

All I could think was how cold it had been the day that I’d lugged that heavy box to the post office, through A SNOWSTORM (because, no matter what you’ve seen on Sex and the City, there are no cabs when it snow or rains in Manhattan), and how long the line at the post office turned out to be, and how much it cost to mail those stupid books (like, sixty dollars or something, maybe more, and that is not even including how much it costs to enter the RITAs, because it’s a pay-to-nominate-yourself contest.)

RWA was super nice about it though. They kept the box (because I said I never wanted to see it again. I think they donated the books to a library or something), AND sent me back my check.

Honestly, though, I could never enter the RITA again. How could I? It was just too traumatic. The snow. The box. The no cabs. The crying.

And now, years later, YA is actually a really big category! Who knew?

Anyway, I’m excited I get to hand out an award (and possibly wear my new shoes) at Nationals.


RWA National is just like nationals in Bring It On. In that everyone there is SUPER EXCITED.

So, come to the Super Big Signing on Wednesday night, where you will find ALL OF YOUR FAVORITE AUTHORS (open to the public at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort
 in Orlando, Florida from 5:30 to 7:30. For more info, go here).

And if you’re attending the conference, here are some other events where you can find me! I would LOVE to see you there (other events are TBT . . . To Be Tweeted)!

In the meantime, here are some helpful tips, for both authors and readers, on how to handle this very important week in the romance writing world . . .

. . . interspersed with some covers of my books from foreign countries that I have received lately!

While I treasure all the foreign copies my books—I keep them on a special built-in in a special room in my house (and it’s getting crowded there)—sometimes when I open the boxes they come in from the overseas publishers, and I see the cover art they have chosen, I’m a little surprised.

I’m not talking about something like this, of course:

But something more like this. A reader unfamiliar with my work might presume this is a little known opus by me called:

Pull Up Your Socks and Put Your Cat In a Bucket!

Book Signing Do’s and Don’t’s For Readers:

1) Plan on getting to the event before it is scheduled to begin. Particularly at an event like this, your favorite authors will have to leave at the exact time the event ends (7:30), even if there are still people left in line.

So you want to be close to the front of the line by the time the signing starts, and have your books ready.


Oops! I’m Sorry. I Shouldn’t Have Eaten So Many Beans.

2) Authors LOVE that you own all their books. But sadly, they may not have time—or be allowed–to sign all of them at a big event where there will be lots of people in line behind you.

So please pick out a couple of your favorite books, and bring those along ONLY, plus the two that you buy at the event to help raise money for literacy.

If you do bring ALL of an authors books from home, the polite thing to do is just have her sign the books you bought that night and maybe a couple other very special books, then take the rest to the back of the line. If there is still time at the end of the event, the author will probably be more than happy to sign the rest of your books, unless she has to run off to dinner with Mickey and his friends.


Space Bikini Cowgirl

3) If it’s a long line, make friends with the people in line with you, so they will hold your place while you’re gone in case you have to go to the bathroom.


Samantha Finds A Lady Friend

4) When you finally do get to the front of the line, don’t stress about what you say to your favorite author. Anything you say that isn’t “Look, here is the jar of acid I brought to throw in your face” will be fine!


Hi, Meg. I’m your biggest fan. Do you like this sculpture I made you? It’s of your face. I made it from raw hamburger.

(Actually this book is the Turkish version of The Boy Next Door. 10 points for originality, Turkey, since The Boy Next Door has no dolls OR lockets in it.)

Saying, “I love your work” is super nice, and will make any author SO happy to hear.

Special note about saying “I’m your biggest fan.” Most author’s BIGGEST fan is probably her stalker, the person who insists all of her books are secretly coded messages written about him, and who says he’s coming to get her at her next signing, so she better watch her back. HE’S her biggest fan.

So when YOU say that, even though you mean it as a nice thing, what the author is probably thinking when she hears it is: “Actually, technically, no, you’re not my biggest fan. I have a restraining order against my biggest fan.”

So “I love your work!” is probably best.

5) Any author would be totally psyched that you want to interview her for your dissertation or newspaper or blog or whatever. But unless you’ve arranged it with her or her publicist beforehand, she may not have time to answer your questions at the signing, especially if there are a bunch of people behind you in line. So keep that in mind.


If Only She’d Look Behind Her . . .

6) Most authors are happy to personalize (meaning, they will write a specific message in) your books if you write down on a post-it note what you want them to say—if, for instance, the book is for a friend’s birthday, or a favorite niece, or just for you. Just write down in advance what you what the author to say (keep it short!) so she can spell the name correctly.


Strawberries and Cowboys and Gum. Mmmmm.

7) Different authors have different rules about photography. It gives some authors migraines to have flashes going off all night, which is totally understandable. So ask if you can take a photo first. (I’m fine with it—just let me put my lip gloss on first!)


Blow Up a Balloon and Give Your Kitten A Tiara!

(Actually, this book is Queen of Babble Gets Hitched. For real!)

DO’S AND DON’TS FOR WRITERS:

1) Writers are sensitive artists who understandably want to be known for their creative writing, not their fashion sense.

But it still never hurts to step it up a notch for a book signing. Smile! And have fun with it. Like the girls on this book cover, below. See? They get it.


Olsen Twins Go Wild!

2) Authors, I know some of you like to maintain an aura of mysteriousness, and pretend that you are a highly cultured, sensitive being who only watches PBS.

But you are at the Romance Writers of America convention in Orlando. I know that you are secretly going to the Harry Potter theme park every night and raiding Honeymeade’s. So try taking it down a notch.


SHE GOT LOST AT THE ORLANDO AIRPORT

4) Often when I go on a book tour I hear from booksellers about authors who were in their store the night before, and who signed so many books (not that many, though, really, when I ask for hard numbers) that they had to ice their hand, and have mugs of a special soothing herbal tea rushed in to them from the special tea shop five miles down the road.

And oh, yeah, the author had to have a limo bring her from the airport, but it had to be a white STRETCH limo (this is not a joke, I actually heard this one, and it was a normal author, not a celebrity author, and the author was in POLAND, where there were no stretch limos at the time, democracy just having been introduced there, and all), or the author would take to her bed.


She Took To Her Bed

Authors, seriously: Your job is not that hard (except the writing part. That part is hard). Unless, of course, you have an honest reason WHY you have to take to your bed, such as lyme disease, or, of course, this:

Hey, come here. There’s something I want to show you behind the Christmas tree.

I’M NOT WEARING ANY PANTS.

5) EVERYONE LOVES GOSSIP. And by everyone, I mean EVERYONE. Not just other writers, or readers, but limo drivers, bartenders, waitresses, hotel maids.

And FYI, they know exactly who you are and will repeat everything you said to the people you said it about because that’s the world in which we now live. The world of Snooki, or Snoozi, as Regis Philbin calls her.

Or they might even put it on their blog (yes, I was once forwarded a report about myself from the blog of a hotel maid. Thank God I am not that messy and I tipped).

Gossip is fun and also necessary to society (it lifts our spirits when we’re feeling sad! Thank you, Lindsay! I hope you emerge from jail stronger and better than ever, like Sarah Connor in Terminator 2).

But always remember, there are two sides to every story. And the one you heard might very well be the wrong one!


Remember how upset we all were when Princess Mia’s boyfriend Michael broke up with her, packed a bag, and moved to Japan?


Well, maybe it was because she looked this girl, above. That haircut! And that dress! What is she, Boris’s evil twin?

Run, Michael, run! Go to Japan, and never, ever come back! Or at least not until Mia is 18.

Oh, that’s what you did. OK, then. Fine.

See? You should get all the facts before you believe anything.

And always think before you speak! Be careful who you gossip about in those bathrooms. You never know who might be in the stall next door!

Think how much better the world would be if we all tried to act like princesses!

See you in Orlando.

More later.

Much love,

Meg