A lot of readers who come to see me (particularly my younger ones) tell me mine was the first signing they'd been to and that they didn't know what to expect. Based on that, I thought I'd walk you through what happens at a Richelle Mead signing.
First things first: Reading and Q&A
I start off reading aloud from one of my books, usually the newest or an upcoming one. That lasts for 10-15 minutes. After that is Q&A, when the audience gets to ask me whatever they want--though I do warn everyone to be careful of spoilers. Q&A usually goes for at least 20 minutes. Sometimes the crowd wants it to go longer, and we decide based on turnout. If there are a couple hundred people there, we may have to keep this part brief.
The Signing Part! Come meet me!
The bookstore will line everyone up to see me, and sometimes they even institute a bracelet system where readers who arrived earliest get to go first. Staff will likely put post-it's on your book so I know how to spell your name. I've recently reduced the number of books I'll sign, due to the fact that it took 2-3 hours to get through some of the lines on my BP tour. My current limit is three books per person (and yes, you can get your mom or friend to carry another three). One is personalized, i.e. "To John, hope you enjoy!" And then I'll just sign my name in the other two. I'm sorry to have limits, but when you're one of the people waiting two hours, you'll appreciate it. If we have a small turnout, we might be able to adjust the limit. When you come up to me to get your books signed, you can ask me questions if you want. Don't be afraid! I'll probably ask you some things too.
I do pictures, but they can make a signing really long. What helps move this along is if you tell me as soon as you come up to me that you want a picture. That way, you can start to pose with me while I sign, and then I'll look up for the camera. The other thing that helps is to have someone with you (or to make a friend in line) who knows how to use your camera or cell phone. Train them! A lot of wacky mishaps occur when the photographer doesn't know how to use the camera and attempts the picture five times. I like doing pictures and know a lot of you do too, so cross your fingers that we can keep doing them!
Please be nice to the bookstore staff because they're trying their best to keep things moving. Also realize that patience is key if you've ended up near the end of the line. I've seen people argue with the staff and insist they need to move up front because they "have to be somewhere." But so does everyone else. If you've got friends or family with you, it'll pass the time. The people at the end of the line always seem to be with large groups of friends, and they're always in such good moods! It's like they've been having a party the whole time and didn't notice the line.
How early to get there?
Honestly, I don't know because I never know how many will show up or how big the place is. I've had anywhere from 20-300 people. On the BP tour, a lot of the venues turned out to be too small, so last minute arrivals often had to stand. Some readers arrived six hours early, which I have to think is a little too early because I'm not that big! But it's your call. This upcoming tour will be held in larger venues, which should help things a lot. So, even if you don't get in the front row, you'll still probably get a seat. When I go see an author signing, I show up 15-60 minutes beforehand, depending on how big I think the turnout will be. If you're in doubt, call the bookstore beforehand for advice.
Unless noted on my website, there are no fees or purchase requirements to come to a signing. You can bring in your books from home, but if there's a book you want to get, it's really nice if you can buy it from the store hosting me. It costs them money and time to have an author in, so supporting them means they can bring me back.
Okay, hope that helps! Don't be scared when I mention lines. They go fast! Book signings are super fun. I love them and love meeting you guys, so I hope you'll come out when I'm in your area. It's your chance to ask me those burning questions and my chance to see what people think of the books. I could stay there all night! It's also your chance to get pens and color-changing pencils.
My appearances page recaps a lot of signing info and lists my schedule. I'm really looking forward to seeing readers in NYC, New Orleans, and Miami later this month. In another couple months, we'll know where I'll be touring for Spirit Bound, so that'll be fun too. So, stay posted, and if you can't keep up with my website, my mailing list will send out reminders.