Meg's Blog

Author Guide to Surviving a Booktour, #4

People keep telling me that I do not follow my own book tour advice….

…and that at the DC book festival, I was seen walking up and down the line to my signing asking attendees if they belong to my book club.

People, I am sorry to disappoint you, but that was not me. Yes, it was someone with a pink streak in her hair, and wearing pink cowboy boots.

But she was one of my TEEN VOLUNTEER MODERATORS for my book club (and a great job she does at it, too).

Of course, I don't mind that you think I act (and possibly write) like a teenager. But let us not stretch things too far: I am 39 and a half years old, and look it.

Sadly, I would never walk up and down my own signing line because I am actually inherently completely shy. Small talk is not my forté and never has been. Which is why I always try to hide in the back room with the bookstore staff until it is time for me to go on during book signing events.

Which leads me to: Meg Cabot's Author Guide to Surviving a Booktour Tip #4:
Most authors, being hideous mole people who have no social skills and should never be allowed to speak in public and so chose a career in which they could stay hidden in one room (see Book TV anytime day or night for proof of this), develop a shtick (ie, prepared speech) for when they ARE forced out into the public eye.

The shtick is performed at the microphone behind a podium (I don't personally like podiums so perform mine without) before a book signing, and before the author takes questions. The shtick can be composed of anything, really, but usually features the following:

–How the author got started writing
–How the author got published
–How the author thought of his or her new book

It is generally a good idea to include AT LEAST the above in your shtick, because most likely these are the things your reading public will ask about.

Some authors never develop a shtick and so just go up to the podium and read from their book for half an hour in a monotone.

These authors should be pitied.

Some authors are SO unskilled at conversing with other human beings that they launch into their shtick anytime they come into contact with a member of the public, including me.

These authors, too, are to be pitied.

Tips to developing your author shtick:

–Watch authors on Book TV. Unless they are amusing, try not to be like them.

–Go to other authors' book signings and check out their shtick. Unless they are amusing, try not to be like them.

–Watch DVDs or download CDs of funny comedians, such as Margaret Cho, Kathy Griffith, David Cross, Maria Bramford, or Brian Posehn. Try to be like them (without the swearing).

–Practice your shtick in schools (seriously). Schools are always looking for authors to come speak to their students. Volunteer to do a ton of school visits. I guarantee by the seventh or eighth one, you will have developed a winning shtick. Or the students will have killed you.

Many thanks to the fantastic readers who attended last night's signing in Houston. Super thanks to Michelle G for the fabulous Book Tour Survival Kit, which included such necessities as a teddy bear, a soft blanket, and the most recent copy of Cosmo. Super thanks also to Tova for the TaB (yay!), and to Annie, fellow House Hunters fan, for the mongo bag of peanut M&Ms.

Hope I see some of you tonight at 6pm at
Murder By The Book
2342 Bissonnet Street
Houston, TX 77005

And, because I will be on the road all day Saturday and may not have a chance to post this beforehand, if you live in the Vero Beach, FL area, please stop by to see me on Saturday at 4PM at
Vero Beach Book Center
2145 Indian River Blvd.
Vero Beach, FL 32960

Stay tuned for Meg Cabot's Author Guide to Surviving a Booktour Tip #5, the final tip in my ongoing book tour survival guide, fittingly titled The Self-Loathing is Perfectly Normal.

More later.

Much love,