The Worst Best Book Signing Ever

Forget what you've seen on TV. Book signings are rarely anything more than quiet affairs. A few bookish friends show, a handful of dedicated fans (if you're lucky), and whatever strangers are drawn to the type of book you're signing or the quaint idea of meeting a "real, live author." Aside from that, you meet the odd person wanting directions to the restrooms or to know where the latest issue of Skin Art Quarterly is shelved. A lot of working-class authors (huge superstars excluded) feel a successful two-hour signing is one where 20, 15, 10, or even 5 signed books are sold.

Unless you've been on TV. Or you're giving away money.

That's right. Paying cash. To people willing to stand in line for your book signing, as The Learning Annex has with Donald's Trump's new book (written with Bill Zanker), Think Big and Kick Ass in Business and Life. A hundred bucks a pop for the first hundred folks in line (many of whom took off after pocketing their loot), fifty a head for the next two hundred, and ten apiece for the next thousand. Check it out in this article from the NY Times City Room Blog.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm not a fan of The Donald. His ego alone... well, let's not go there, and the bribes-for-line-standers reminds me of certain totalitarian governments who pay demonstrators to underscore whatever point the regime wants made before the world press. But I'll have to give the man this. I'll bet he doesn't spend a lot of times at signings directing people to the restrooms.

What do you think?


Boxing video said…
After what Donald said about Angelina Jolie not being pretty i don't take him serious anymore. Reminds me of the boxing promoter in Don King.
Christie Craig said…

This is funny.

Hmm... I don't think I can afford to pay people to buy my book. But I would love to have a hundred eager people in line to buy it.

I'm not a big fan of Donald either, but because I'm planning some autographings, it does start one thinking about how to promote and encourage people to show up and stand in line at the autographings.

Thanks for the chuckle.

Bonnie Vanak said…
I'd tell him to keep the $100 so he afford a decent haircut. Or at least half a decent haircut.

I'm happiest at booksignings seeing people who really want to meet me, whether it's 2 or 20.

I don't do many booksignings, but love the ones that donate a portion to literacy, like RWA does each year. I'm doing a booksigning in Altamonte Springs at the mall Nov. 3 and part of the funds will go toward adult literacy. I'm so into this cause that I'm seriously thinking of giving away my new Nocturne to the first 10 people who buy one of my Egyptian historicals. I got my author copies last week and they're mine to do with as I please.
JoAnn Ross said…
See, this is one of the reasons I don't do signings except at conferences. . . so I don't have to worry about people showing up, but I'm not sure I get this concept. So, he paid people to stand in line. Big deal. (I've been to that bookstore on a number of occasions and have seen people lined up around the block, but now I have to wonder if getting paid to stand in line outside a bookstore is a NYC thing?)

Anyway, it seems to me the smarter thing, if he's going to throw money at the situation, would be to pay the people half the amt to stand in the line and the rest after they actually came out of the store with a book in hand. Because last I heard, booksignings were about selling books. Not about how many people stand in line outside the store. Or even how many walk in and out of the store without buying anything.
Jo Anne said…
Too funny, Colleen. Of course, not many of us have the bucks to bribe a line for a booksigning. I'm not much of a Trump fan either, but if nothing else, he's good for a laugh now and again.

Might as well enjoy booksignings. They are what they are.

Thanks for the chuckle, Colleen
Jennifer Ashley said…
Colleen: This happened on an episode of "As Time Goes By" (great Brit-com with Judy Dench). Lionel's publisher Alistair pays people to line up at a book signing at a London bookshop. His reasoning--if people see other people queueing, they're likely to get in line to see what's going on. Maybe Trump's publicist watched the episode. (Was there a blond man with glasses there who kept saying: "Monster!!"?)
Think Big, Kick his Ass said…
Just curious if ol’ Billy Boy the Zanksta includes a chapter on how to lie, scam and swindle your formerly loyal employees & investors…on your way to the Big Time?

And how to make a few more lousy bucks by disregarding labor laws?

Popular posts from this blog

Harlequin Intrigue vs. Harlequin Romantic Suspense