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How To Approach Someone Doing A Book Signing & Make It As Awkward As Humanly Possible

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In #NunesClass this week, we talked a lot about "pillar posts." Pillar Posts are the really clear, really detailed kind of blog posts that allow you share information or instructions in a way that establish you as an expert and also help you set a base for search engine traffic.

You've seen these a million times. How-To's, Lists, Top Tens, Definitions, etc. is basically one giant collection of Pillar Posts.

Anyway, I thought it might be a good chance for me to put those learnings into action based on a topic I now feel like an expert on, especially after this past weekend's book signing. If you're going to be somewhere that an author is doing a book signing and you want to make the experience as awkward as possible for them and you, here are some easy rules to follow.

Do Not Speak

As you approach the table where the author is sitting, do not say a single word to him or her. Especially if you're standing directly in front of the table, like, two feet away from them. Don't ask them how it's going. Don't ask questions about the book. And especially do not just say "hello." Any kind of verbal interaction could be deemed "normal" and that defeats the purpose.

If you can imagine that the author sitting across from you is actually a lifeless, decaying log, that's your best approach.

Do Not Respond

If you approach the table and the author says hello or asks how you are doing, DO NOT RESPOND. Put your head down, keep an unemotional gaze and occupy yourself with other things. Interacting with the author will only make him or her feel as though you want to discuss the book and/or related topics, all of which makes the situation less awkward. Big no-no.

If You Have To Speak...

If you must make verbal contact, do it in one of two ways.

When you see the author sitting in the chair behind a sign that says "meet the author," surrounded by dozens of their books, ask, "Did you write this?"

If you'd rather not ask a question, which could lead to a conversation and diffuse the awkwardness, then bide your time. Take in the book and its contents. Then, start walking away. But before you reach critical mass, turn to the author and say, "Cute." And then leave. Maximum awkwardness achieved.

Thumb Through The Book In A Way That Makes It Impossible For You To Actually Read It

Actually taking a second to read the book would make for a normal situation. In order to ratchet up the awkwardness, skim the book so quickly there's no way you could actually have read any of it. Flick the pages in a way that resembles someone kicking tires at a car lot. At first glance it looks like you're accomplishing something but really you haven't.

Leave Your Trash On The Table

The pièce de résistence of the awkward experience. Ideally, you're drinking coffee or Gatorade even just water when you approach the table. After you're done reading the book in complete silence, do not take your bottle with you. Leave it there. Right in the front of the table. That space has been designated a trash site anyway. The author/garbageman will handle it.


That's really it. Follow those simple rules and you'll make your next interaction at a book signing as awkward as humanly possible.