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Meg's Blog

DC BOOK FESTIVAL

I'm posting this now because of Tropical Storm Rita (which people are saying may turn into Hurricane Rita overnight) since tomorrow and Wednesday I may have no power. I wanted you all to know that I'm leaving Friday (if Key West doesn't get blown away in the next couple of days) for the Washington DC book festival, which takes place Saturday, Sept. 24, 2005, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., between 7th and 14th streets from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (rain or shine).

This event is free and open to the public. I will be signing books in the Teens & Children Pavilion from 12-1pm, and speaking from 3:55-4:25 (again, if I make it out of here on Friday. I will try keep you posted, providing I have power). For details on my events, go here.

A lot of people have been writing to me, asking me questions about the signing—how many books will I sign, will they be able to get their photo taken with me, etc.

So I am posting what I hope will be a helpful guide to attending a book festival signing. It is adapted from the one Neil Gaiman once posted on his website (thanks, Neil)! I hope it helps:

Book Signing Do's and Don't's:

1) Plan on getting to the event a fair amount before it is scheduled to begin. Particularly at an event like a book festival–where there will be many authors signing, but only a few tables for them to sign from–I will have to leave at the exact time my signing ends, 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, or I may not get to you. Sad, but true.

2) I LOVE that you own all my books—seriously, I really appreciate it. But sadly, I am not going to have time—or be allowed–to sign all of them, especially at a big event like this where there are lots of people in line behind you. So please pick out a couple of your favorite books, and bring those along ONLY, plus what you buy at the fair. I recommend three books from home TOPS.

3) Hydrate. It's going to be an outdoor event. Bring water, and drink it. Don't worry, there will be bathrooms. Make friends with the people in line with you, so they will hold your place while you're gone.

4) When you finally do get to the front of the line, don't stress about what you say to me. I never know what to say to authors I like when I go to their signings, either. So if you just stand there silently, or if you say something you later think is stupid, believe me, I won't hold it against you. I did the same thing when I met Robert B. Parker.

5) I am totally psyched if you want to do a book report about me, but unless you've arranged it with myself or my publicist beforehand, I am not going to have time to let you interview me, because I have to get to the people behind you in line. So please don't bring your tape recorder/video camera unless you're prepared just to tape my saying, “Hi, so nice to meet you, thanks, bye,” because that's about all I'm going to have time to say.

6) I am happy to sign Princess Diaries DVDs, but take the cardboard cover OUT of the plastic lining BEFORE you get to my table. Sharpies don't work on plastic.

Additionally, if your books are in a bag, take them out before you reach my table. Even though you look like a totally tidy and trustworthy person, I don't like reaching into strange bags. I had little brothers growing up, you know.

7) I will personalize (meaning, I will write a specific message in) your books if you write down on a post-it note what you want me to say—if, for instance, the book is for a friend's birthday, or a favorite niece. You will be handed post-it notes for each of your books, and asked to write on it the name of the person you want in it, be it yours or someone else's. I SUCK at spelling names, so write clearly.

And no, I will not write, “To Emily, from your best friend Meg Cabot” or “To John, last night was wonderful, Meg Cabot.” I reserve the right to use my own discretion when personalizing.

Also, I have terrible handwriting, so you won't be able to read what I wrote anyway. For this reason, I also reserve the right to use my own pen and not one that you hand me. I am very picky about my pens.

8) I will not sign skin or any other part of your body. I may sign clothing, but not if you're currently wearing it. Please don't remove it for me to sign, either. I have Cinemax, I don't need to see nudity in real life.

9) Yes, of course you can take my picture, and yes, of course you can be in the picture, too, but please show your friend/parents how to work the camera BEFORE you get to the front of the line. Friends/parents who don't know how to work their kids' digital camera or camera phone and stand there trying to figure it out for five minutes REALLY HOLD UP THE LINE and make the people behind them furious. So learn how your camera works before you get there.

10) Yes, I do have plans for Saturday night—I am going out with my mom, who lives in the area. So I can't come to your house for dinner, but thank you VERY MUCH for asking. And while it is very sweet of people to bring me gifts, you don't have to. Really. If you want to MAKE me something, great. But please don't spend money on stuff for me. I would much rather you spend your money on books…even other people's books!

See you Saturday (if all goes well)!

More later.

Much love,

Meg

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