The Fangirl's (And Fanboy's) Bill of Rights
The Fangirl's (or Fanboy's) Bill of Rights
Recently I joined 450 other authors for the Romance Writers of America's Annual Signing to Benefit Literacy. I had a great turn out. All my copies of The Siren were snapped up quickly, and many readers came and talked to me about how much they loved the Original Sinners series. It was a great night, but I was sad when a fan told me later on Twitter that she was too nervous to come say hello to me. So for that nervous and intimdated fan, I give her and the world The Fangirl's Bill of Rights.
Right #1 – You have the right to remain silent.
Seriously, if you don't want to meet an author you love, no big deal. Don't let a friend pressure you into talking to someone you're not ready to talk to yet. Sometimes talking to a favorite author can ruin the mystery of the books so feel free to pretend authors don't exist and just enjoy the books on their own merits.
Right #2 – You have the right NOT to remain silent.
Every single author is terrified that no one will show up at his or her booksigning. It's heartbreaking and a blow to the ego to work with a bookstore for a couple months to set up a signing and then sit there alone without a single reader to talk to, without a single book sold. Trust me, authors at booksignings want you to come to their signings. It's not an inconvenience to meet a fan at a signing. If we didn't want to meet our readers, we simply wouldn't do signings.
Right #3 – You have the right to ask questions.
Some of my readers have confessed that they had “so many questions” about the book series, but were afraid to ask them. Why? There is no subject in the world more fun for me to talk about than my own books. Ask away! I love to know that readers are so engaged in my books that they've given them deep thought and come up with questions.
Right #4 – You have the right to be treated with respect by the author.
I love my fans. You all keep me in business. I write for you. If I have a big long line I can't promise to have a twenty-minute in-depth conversation with you, but I will do everything I can to give you a good experience. If an author is rude to you simply for saying “Hello, I love your work,” then you have the right to say goodbye to that author. Again, if we didn't want to meet our fans (and some writers are shy introverts who don't like meeting strangers, and there's nothing wrong with that) then we wouldn't agree to do public events. If we're doing a public event, we're here for you. Just don't tackle us if you see us in the bathroom. Peeing time is private time.
Right #5 – You have the right to get a reasonable amount of stuff signed.
I'm happy to sign anything. I've signed leather kinky toys, boobs, books people clearly bought at used bookstores thus guaranteeing I didn't make a penny off their purchases (and that's ok, I buy used books too)... Different authors have different comfort levels. I'll sign anything. Some authors will only sign books. Don't take that personally. Also, different venues have different rules. A hugely in-demand author like Stephen King might only sign one or two books total per reader simply because the bookstore is trying to get people through the line as quickly as possible. Book limits are almost always defined by the bookstore or venue. I overheard people in line once complaining about a famous author refusing to sign more than two books. I was in that same signing and I knew that author. I also knew that it was a venue rule and not the author's rule to only sign two books. Just be aware of the venue's rules before you go to a signing so you don't leave disappointed.
Right #6 – You have the right to squee all you want!
I have lost track of the number of fans who have APOLOGIZED to me for being so enthusastic when meeting me. Are you kidding? That's the coolest thing ever! Writing a book is a solitary walk down a hard lonely road. We write books in solitude, edit in solitude. We don't have coworkers. We don't have cheerleaders. We sit alone in a room and put our guts on paper. It is the most wonderful thing in the world to meet someone who has connected with these fictional worlds created in our fortress of solitude. It's a beautiful thing to know you've touched someone's heart, made them think, made them feel. Writers feed off the enthusiasm of readers. On our hard days it's those little squees and love from readers that keep us going. Squee away and don't apologize for it. You're excited about BOOKS and books are the best thing in the world to get excited about.
Right #7 – You have the right to be awesome.
And guess what? You are!