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View Full Version : How not to do a signing!



Shakesbear
08-11-2010, 08:31 PM
Not sure if this should be here or in the Politics forum - please move it if is should be over there.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1302148/Tony-Blairs-memoir-signing-turns-farce-No-guarantees-hell-sign-books.html?ito=feeds-newsxml



Those wishing to attend the signing are subject to some unusually stringent conditions.
For a start, customers cannot be photographed with the former leader and there will be no personal dedications made by Mr Blair.
All bags, backpacks and briefcases must be checked in before the signing, as well as cameras and mobile phones.

To frustrate the professional 'autograph farmers' who turn up at signings of high-profile books to collect multiple signed copies and then sell them at a profit on eBay Mr Blair will sign a maximum of two books per customer.
Anyone hoping to meet Blair will have to show a Waterstone's receipt proving that they have already paid for the book.

They will then be given a wristband, which allows entry to the signing queue. However, there is still no guarantee that Blair will sign the customer's book.




I read the report and I felt ill. No way to treat customers and/or readers. Blech.

ChaosTitan
08-11-2010, 08:33 PM
When the author is someone as politically high-profile as Tony Blair, the additional security measures are completely understandable.

Pamvhv
08-11-2010, 08:39 PM
I agree I have seen these measures for Chelsea Handler as well. I don't see it as a problem.

dirtsider
08-11-2010, 08:50 PM
Don't see much of a problem with the security measures, either. When Caroline Kennedy did a signing in one of my local bookstores, the line was ~huge~. Pretty much around the internal perimeter of the mall where the store was located.

Phaeal
08-11-2010, 08:54 PM
Heh, I remember when the Glenn Beck fans had to stand in line for their wristbands at my neighborhood Borders. Once I saw them, I didn't blame him for going for the extra security.

;)

Tony Blair? A couple notches up from Beck, I'd say.

LovetoWrite
08-11-2010, 09:39 PM
Once I saw them, I didn't blame him for going for the extra security.

We aren't in the Politics forum.

I enjoy Glenn Beck and take exception to this statement. Its not nice to insult people on a forum - no matter their race, gender, religious beliefs...or I'd like to add, political views.

Miss Plum
08-11-2010, 10:13 PM
We aren't in the Politics forum.

I enjoy Glenn Beck and take exception to this statement. Its not nice to insult people on a forum - no matter their race, gender, religious beliefs...or I'd like to add, political views.
Okay, to be fair, I interpreted Phaeal's remark as "When I saw the frighteningly huge numbers of them" or "When I saw that they were carrying signs saying 'Kill Glenn Beck'" . . .

It's possible, you know.

willietheshakes
08-11-2010, 10:16 PM
Why is this a problem?

katiemac
08-11-2010, 10:18 PM
Yeah, the wristbands thing is not uncommon for high-profile authors. The venue (bookstore) has to get something out of hosting the event, and that means in-store sales.

Suzanne Collins is doing a signing by me on August 24th at a small store for the release of the third Hunger Games. They have a similar system, but are using vouchers instead of wristbands. They are allowing customers to bring in one book that Collins can stamp for every one book also purchased at the store, which I thought was pretty generous. Anyone is welcome to come, but only those with vouchers (from books purchased in-store) will have an opportunity for her to sign the book, and there's also pretty clear that given time constraints, not everyone is guaranteed a stamped book. I'm pretty sure she's not doing personalizations.

And as someone who has worked events with lots of celebrities, security and enforcement of rules via security is vital.

Celia Cyanide
08-11-2010, 10:18 PM
We aren't in the Politics forum.

I enjoy Glenn Beck and take exception to this statement. Its not nice to insult people on a forum - no matter their race, gender, religious beliefs...or I'd like to add, political views.

Well, not everyone enjoys Glenn Beck as much as you do. It wasn't that much of an insult, really.

Celia Cyanide
08-11-2010, 10:19 PM
When the author is someone as politically high-profile as Tony Blair, the additional security measures are completely understandable.

Yeah, any time the president goes ANYWHERE, the security measures go pretty far. It would make a book signing less enjoyable, certainly, but that's the way it goes with someone that high profile.

Hallen
08-11-2010, 10:26 PM
When the author is someone as politically high-profile as Tony Blair, the additional security measures are completely understandable.
Absolutely. And, with all the people who are planning to be there to protest, and a bounty put on his head for his arrest for war crimes, yeah, security is going to be needed.

I've seen many authors who will do signings that say they'll sign any of their books that you bring in, but they ask that you buy a book at the store too. It's only fair to the store putting on the event. Having a requirement to buy is up to the store and the author; it's no big deal.

Jamesaritchie
08-11-2010, 10:59 PM
I have no problem with anything except the idiotic protestors.

shaldna
08-12-2010, 12:06 AM
When the author is someone as politically high-profile as Tony Blair, the additional security measures are completely understandable.


agreed.

the difference here is the political aspect which changes the situation considerably.

Bartholomew
08-12-2010, 12:40 AM
I was under the impression that Blair was unpopular in the UK. Will he have mobs of people waiting for a signature?

veinglory
08-12-2010, 12:44 AM
A former prime minister is always going to draw a crowd.

BrooklynLee
08-12-2010, 12:45 AM
I suspect that even an unpopular world leader will have more fans lining up at his book signing than pretty much any "normal" writer. Even if 90% of the population of the UK dislikes him, that's still millions of people who like him.

Shakesbear
08-12-2010, 01:14 AM
Hmmm... I still think it is over the top! Handing over 'stuff' and such like... but that is just me! In January 2008 we (Sharpe Chefs) had a signing at the same Waterstones. We also had an armed guard - really we did! See here : http://www.thesharpechefs.com/date/2008/01 see the top pic, sorry it is so small but the men in green all had their Baker Rifles with them! So maybe it is just a tad of sour grapes...

Margarita Skies
08-12-2010, 02:15 AM
:censored


I would not have restrictions of any shape or form in a book signing of mine. I would treat my fans like royalty because they're interested in my book and I know that during the next signing, they will come back.

Ms Hollands
08-12-2010, 02:35 AM
I had to buy a Stone Temple Pilots CD in the shop they were signing in if I wanted them to sign my copy (thankfully I hadn't already bought it). And a security guard once told me that the Aussie chocolate/booze treats I gave to Velvet Revolver would probably be thrown out as you never know if someone has injected the packaging with something if they're a freako anti-fan. I reckon the measures are justified even further for if he is not popular: likely to be a tougher crowd!

katiemac
08-12-2010, 03:02 AM
:censored


I would not have restrictions of any shape or form in a book signing of mine. I would treat my fans like royalty because they're interested in my book and I know that during the next signing, they will come back.

When you're in the position of running the event (or someone is running it for you), unfortunately these things may be out of your control.

willietheshakes
08-12-2010, 03:45 AM
:censored


I would not have restrictions of any shape or form in a book signing of mine. I would treat my fans like royalty because they're interested in my book and I know that during the next signing, they will come back.

Speaking as someone who actually organizes author events: If you're going to have more than two readers/fans at your event, this is the most ridiculous statement I've ever seen.

djf881
08-12-2010, 05:39 AM
I went to a very crowded Chuck Palahniuk book signing once. The book store was so packed that they had to turn people away at the door because there was no room for them at the store.

He was great though. He signed books for two and a half hours. This was in like 2003, when "Lullaby" came out, so I had the new book and his first three as well. He signed all of them. And he hung around to talk to the people who hadn't been able to get into the stores. The event started at seven, and he must have been there until almost midnight, and it's like that at all of his signings.

I hear that, for most authors, book signings are about the bookstores and networking booksellers, especially at indie stores where they hand-sell books to customers.

willietheshakes
08-12-2010, 05:53 AM
I went to a very crowded Chuck Palahniuk book signing once. The book store was so packed that they had to turn people away at the door because there was no room for them at the store.

He was great though. He signed books for two and a half hours. This was in like 2003, when "Lullaby" came out, so I had the new book and his first three as well. He signed all of them. And he hung around to talk to the people who hadn't been able to get into the stores. The event started at seven, and he must have been there until almost midnight, and it's like that at all of his signings.

Chuck's a good one -- he actually gets to his events an hour early (as a rule) to mingle with his fans, start signing stuff, generally hanging out.

Neil Gaiman's another -- he'll hang out as long as he can, usually till the last person in line has had everything signed. But that's changed, as he's gone from 200 seat events to 800 seat events to 2000 seat events -- there was no signing at all at his Sydney event this past week. There were just too many people.

The restrictions on on author signing (limiting number of quantities, security measures, etc) are a delicate balancing act between the writer, the publicist, the venue and the bookseller (in whatever combination). Take the matter of cell phone photos. It used to be, you'd get a few dedicated fans bringing actual cameras to a Neil Gaiman event (as an example). Pose for a picture? No problem. Now, everyone has a camera in their cell, and everyone wants a photo. What's a few seconds here, a few seconds there, pose, fumble, take a shot? Maybe a minute total, right? Tops. But what if you're doing a sold out 800 seat event, and 25% of those people want pictures? (That's a low estimate, as a rule) That's 200 minutes (more than 3 hours) just for pictures. On top of the booksigning. So a lot of writers of a certain stature have said either no photos, or no posed photos.

Because they just can't. They're only human, and when they're on tour, they're up at 5 in the morning, out the door for a flight or to a tv studio. They're on the run all day, interview to bookstore for stock signing to interview. Maybe they get a chance to have a little dinner. And then they perform, and they sign books. 200 minutes on cell phone photos is 3 hours that could make the difference between exhausted and dead.

When you've got someone like a politician, it's that much more complicated, with security, etc. And it's not an option (retired American presidents have their own secret service details - I suspect it's similar in the UK). These are people whose lives are legitimately in danger at any given moment. You don't want to check your bag? Are you kidding me? I have to check my bag to browse at the Strand in New York. Suck it up, or don't bother with it.

When we had Salman Rushdie, it was actually the venue that demanded additional security -- they wouldn't rent to us otherwise. It was hilarious, though, because Salman refused to be handld -- if he had known there was armed security in the building, he would have been upset. So we kept them away from him, and we didn't breathe a word about the bomb searches in the days and hours up to the event.

(Wow - this got long.)

Basically (and this isn't directed at you, djf) -- rules and procedures are there for a reason, though you might not be aware of it. No bookseller and no writer wants to piss off readers. But the world is a complicated place. Deep breaths, understanding, and move on.

katiemac
08-12-2010, 07:01 AM
The restrictions on on author signing (limiting number of quantities, security measures, etc) are a delicate balancing act between the writer, the publicist, the venue and the bookseller (in whatever combination). Take the matter of cell phone photos. It used to be, you'd get a few dedicated fans bringing actual cameras to a Neil Gaiman event (as an example). Pose for a picture? No problem. Now, everyone has a camera in their cell, and everyone wants a photo. What's a few seconds here, a few seconds there, pose, fumble, take a shot? Maybe a minute total, right? Tops. But what if you're doing a sold out 800 seat event, and 25% of those people want pictures? (That's a low estimate, as a rule) That's 200 minutes (more than 3 hours) just for pictures. On top of the booksigning. So a lot of writers of a certain stature have said either no photos, or no posed photos.Cell phone cameras are the bane of existence for event organizers, especially where fans/press is involved.

Susan Littlefield
08-12-2010, 09:31 AM
When I do book signings, the guidelines are so much worse-- buff handsome guards standing between me and my screaming fans, protecting me from their hysteria, because I have written the multimillion dollar bestseller that nobody can put down...

Oh, wait a minute.

That's just a dream.

At this juncture, I won't get that much attention over poetry and short stories.

willietheshakes
08-12-2010, 09:40 AM
Cell phone cameras are the bane of existence for event organizers, especially where fans/press is involved.

Yes, they are!

And a lot of writers don't want to be in a position of having to say no, so the responsibility falls to the organizer and/or the publicist. Hence clearly posted or announced guidelines prior to the event, so no one is disappointed in the moment.

And yet, people still try...

Shakesbear
08-12-2010, 12:30 PM
Willie thanks for your comments and the insight.

Mr Flibble
08-12-2010, 01:23 PM
Given that there's a 30 000 bounty for anyone who 'arrests' Mr Blair (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/celebritynews/7938972/Tony-Blairs-fans-face-an-arduous-journey-before-he-signs-their-books.html), I suppose the extra security was inevitable (I'd do it for, ooooh, 30p). However, I don't see why the taxpayer should have to foot the six figure bill. AFAIA, most celebs pay for their own security.




If you are a real die-hard Blair fan, you may be interested in signed special editions of the book which come with a crimson slip case and the title stamped in gold. A snip at 150 a time. 150! There is a recession on, you know mate.

benbradley
08-12-2010, 02:16 PM
Given that there's a 30 000 bounty for anyone who 'arrests' Mr Blair (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/celebritynews/7938972/Tony-Blairs-fans-face-an-arduous-journey-before-he-signs-their-books.html), I suppose the extra security was inevitable (I'd do it for, ooooh, 30p). However, I don't see why the taxpayer should have to foot the six figure bill. AFAIA, most celebs pay for their own security.


150! There is a recession on, you know mate.
Would you call Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, or either former President Bush a "celebrity?"

Okay, maybe Clinton would be considered a celbrity... but still, as former Presidents, all these men get round-the-clock Secret Service protection for life. As someone already said, the same is presumably true for Mr. Blair.

This guy must have got himself a horrible public opinion, worse than Dubya even. But when a President leaves office, we generally forget about him, except for using his Presidency for blaming "the current situation" on, as in "things can't be turned around in just a couple of years," or only four years, or whatever...

Mr Flibble
08-12-2010, 03:02 PM
Okay, maybe Clinton would be considered a celbrity... but still, as former Presidents, all these men get round-the-clock Secret Service protection for life. As someone already said, the same is presumably true for Mr. Blair.

Presumably. But, given our current economic climate, I think that spending six figures on one day's security so he can flog his book and make some money...doesn't look good. It's not like he couldn't afford the (extra, over and above the two guys he apparently normally has) protection, what with his $4.6 million advance.

Shakesbear
08-12-2010, 03:33 PM
Thing is that the team that protect Bliar go everywhere with him - that is on all his foreign trips. So the taxpayer has to pay for the protection and for their stay in luxury hotels. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10500996 has some interesting figures about how much is spent by the officers.

Mr Flibble
08-12-2010, 03:53 PM
Thing is that the team that protect Bliar go everywhere with him - that is on all his foreign trips. So the taxpayer has to pay for the protection and for their stay in luxury hotels. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10500996 has some interesting figures about how much is spent by the officers.

This in particular:
The newspaper says it has seen documents which show the annual cost of Mr Blair's protection squad was nearly double the 135,000 submitted by the officers protecting Gordon Brown in his last year as prime minister


So, protecting an EX PM cost twice as much than the incumbent PM? And for this book signing, for one day, it will cost about the same (if the figures I've seen are right) as that whole year of protecting Tony. So he can make money.

Bound to raise an eyebrow or two, particularly given the Blairs' history of blagging (though to be fair, that was more Cherie. Did you know if you're the PM's wife, cut-price clothes are your 'human right'?)

Bartholomew
08-12-2010, 04:04 PM
Why did you lot elect a game-show host in the first place?

...he did The Price Is Right, I think.

Ken
08-12-2010, 04:21 PM
...professional 'autograph farmers' who turn up at signings of high-profile books to collect multiple signed copies and then sell them at a profit on eBay...

... plain obnoxious is what this is. Sympathy to all writers who have to deal with such.