Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Survival Guide to a Book Signing....

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.....

The Pioneer Woman was in town for a book signing. YAY, I was so excited. I RSVP'ed through Facebook that I would attend. I warned K-man a month earlier and we plotted the best way to go about it. Afterall, he wouldn't want to be hanging around some many women and yet parking could be an issue. We saw that the Guitar center was across the street and Harley Davidson was nearby so he was entertained while I was doing the book signing thing. He was done in an hour....little did I know I still have a very time time to go....

I called Border's ahead after I raced home from work. How was this being handled? I was told that you arrived and got a slip (colored coded by groups and the groups would be taken in order). She was due to speak @ 6:00pm and start signing by 6:30 and the groups would be lined up one at a time. They were on group 4 already. They had ten groups slotted. 50 per group.

I got there @ 5:30. I got a beige slip and was group 6. The crowd in the back of the store was packed...I sidled off to the side hoping I could see. Thankfully, Ree was on time. She was nervous (as her per usual) about speaking and didn't want to be so formal and just opened up the floor for questions. Meanwhile, everyone is clicking their digital cameras above their heads. I must have taken 10 pictures of someone else's camera who got in my way as I snapped. Grrrrrr.

Who would think that raising your hand above your head and pressing the button to focus would make your hand shake so much. The only clear pix I got were of Ree's head turned and one with a 'unpleasant' grimace. She was probably swallowing or something. I finally gave up of after deleting ten more blurry pix of PW with two heads.

She spoke for only 15 minutes for she wanted to get started on the signing. YAY. Then we waited. I thought the groups colors thing would free us up from being stuck in line for hours. WRONG! They started calling the colors and someone took your name on a post it and put in your book where Ree would sign then they ushered your group over to the OTHER side of the store to line up for her to sign your book. Border's employees decided to start giving out post-its to any color as long as they didn't get in line before they called. COOL. I will get my post-it and get an iced coffee.

Luckily I was second in line...there was only 1 guy working the counter. I thought it odd to have only one staff member there on an evening when there would be so many customers. The food case had one brownie and two bagels left. Another bad sign. About 10 more people get in line for sustenance, poor coffee guy...he's in for it now. As I get my coffee I hear "LAST CALL BEIGE" Huh...what? I walked over and he was starting the pink group by the time I got to the other side of the building. I told the employee I was beige, he said, "Well your pink now." Sigh.

So you know all those bookshelves in the store?....they don't just hold books....they make a great LABYRINTH of corridors for organizing a line of people..... Oh and that calling one group at a time so you could at least pass the time by shopping? NOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Everyone was all lined up like cattle for slaughter zigging and zagging between each bookshelf from one end of the store to the other. We were stuck for hours in a line.

The Good:
  • Bring a friend, husband, boyfriend to keep you company while you wait. They also serve purpose for keeping your place in line while you go to the bathroom. Which will have another long line BTW.
  • Having another person with you is also essential for foraging food or drink from the outside since there is nothing at Border's to sustain you. If you thought you would WHIZ through and get dinner afterward, you are sadly mistaken.
  • Many different people to talk to who are ahead, behind or across from you. I passed out a few of my blog business cards that Foodbuzz gave me last year. Perfect occasion for it.
  • Having an iPhone to place an order to Chipotle and walk down to pick it up in 10 minutes. Sit on the floor for a Mexican picnic. We did not partake in this activity but the smell of burritos was driving me crazy.
  • Having your husband there to walk the kids around, sit with them, take them out for a snack for waiting in a long line is NOT something a small child can endure.
  • Bring your laptop, homework, reading material to keep yourself busy.
  • Good to have your 'conversation piece' ready for when you meet Ree to appear charming, witty and NOT look like a total nerd without having to say: "HI, I am your number one fan!"
  • A guy in line was saying "if I knew this author was so popular I would have rethought doing this." Our surrounding bevy of women asked why and he said he was surprising his girlfriend with a signed copy of the cookbook. We all say "AWWWWWW .....oh will get MAJOR brownie points for this...good call!"
  • Having K-man come over and surprise me with a diet coke because he knew I was parched and when I could get a drink was questionable.
The Bad:
  • Staff at the coffee counter said they were not informed of the book signing when asked by the customers why there wasn't any food left. They also said that they usually have water bottles and little snacks to pass around during a signing. Who dropped the ball on this?
  • Ree sat at a little meager table in front of a display of books of some other author. Why did she not have her OWN backdrop of her book with her picture? Or a big banner with her name? There was NO signage anywhere indicating that she was coming or even there!
  • Bringing small children all by yourself. Lots of crying of bored and cranky children were heard. Many of them wanted a drink or snack and Mommy was not prepared it seemed.
  • The Border's employees talking aloud about the event and not realizing that we could hear. For example: they thought only 150 people who RSVP'ed on FB were the ones attending. 500 showed up.
  • They ran out of PW books to sell for signing @ 6pm. Perhaps they only ordered 150?
  • A border's employee (with a cigarette behind his ear) yelling as he walked through the crowd..."EXCUSE ME! YOU ALL NEED TO KEEP AN OPEN PATH FOR THE EMPLOYEES TO GET TO THE BREAK ROOM."
  • The girl behind me opened her book to place her post it and realized in horror she purchased a book that was already signed. She was very disappointed she waited in line with the rest of us to get her name added.
The Ugly:
  • A group of fans singing their own version of "Home on the Range" personalized about Pioneer Woman.
  • A woman yelling on the phone to her husband about buying a bag of Frito's for Ree. I guess I made some kind of face for she immediately explained to me that Ree said her dog Charlie smelled like Frito's and since she was away from him and missed him dearly that these Frito's were a gift for her to open and smell to remind her of dear dog. OK FREAK.
  • Many attendees were bringing gifts to Ree. Was there a star in the sky? Is Ree the next Messiah we have to bring gifts to? GEEZ people. Although gifts are a nice gesture, these gifts really put a HUGE delay on the line moving along for Ree felt compelled to gush and thank and listen to their story WHY they bought their gift. By the time my turn came up there was a pile of 20 some odd gifts. How is Ree supposed to carry all these into her hotel room?
  • I was about 5 people away from my turn. The lady who was taking our cameras to snap came over to me and said "where are you in line?" I said "Behind that gentleman in the blue shirt (he was 5 feet away between some bookshelves)" She said smiling fakely "well you need to get back into line." I was standing at the end of the book shelving waiting for him to get closer to me. My mouth gaped open over her micromanaging comment as another attendee spoke up. "We've been standing at the ends here waiting so the line doesn't go back into bookshelves....all these people packed between them makes it incredibly hot and I am about to pass out from it being so hot back there" "OH," the control freak employee replied and went back to her fake smile as she took the camera of the next person.
All in all I am glad to have my cookbook for my wonderful memorable comment to was "hi....she said 'good to meet you and thanks for coming' I said 'thank you ' and took my book (after the picture of course)....I was so tired, hungry and with an aching back that I just wanted to get out of there. I hope Ree didn't hear me say to K-man on my way out..."SWEET FREEDOM!" If she did.....hope she didn't take it personally.

At least the good outweigh the bad but I sat finally at 9:35pm in the car and we ate dinner at 10:05pm. I am too old for this stuff.

Taking a nap now!


Leslie said...

phew..sounded like a lot of drama!!!!

michelangelo said...

yeah, it makes me laugh to see Edward Cullen in all the pictures of Ree and her book-signees.

your husband was a real trooper.