Maggie
Stiefvater

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A Shy Introvert’s Guide to Stiefvater Signings

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I’ve gotten a lot of messages and asks about what to expect/ do/ not do at one of my signings, so I thought I’d do a big post about it. Many of them strike me as the questions of shy introverts — I could be projecting, as I’m still an introvert, and used to be quite shy myself, but I think not. Back in the day, I used to dread speaking on the phone and hated to go to any sort of social event where I might inadvertently violate some unspoken social code that everyone else somehow knew but I had missed. I’d do as much research as I could before the actual thing, and then, if I still couldn’t figure out if I’d feel embarrassed not knowing how to get in line or how to get a drink or where to park my car or whatever, I just wouldn’t go.

Readers are often shy people — that’s why they like books, I mean, is a novel going to LAUGH AT YOU BEHIND ITS HAND? No. Books do not have hands.

So this is a guide for my shy readers (and perhaps useful to not-so-shy newbies).

1. Pack all of the books you want me to sign. I’m happy to sign copies of all your other books — just remember to buy at least one from the store sponsoring the event. If you have a lot of books and you feel awkward about it, feel free to hang back to the back of the line. You’ll usually find a handful of other people with giant stacks and perhaps you can bond over your large collection of novels written by people with the last name Stiefvater. Or, if you’re both painfully shy, you can just stand close to each other and avoid making eye contact.

2. Arrive at the event. If you want a seat up front or to be early in the signing line, you can get there early, but you don’t have to go crazy with the earliness. I sign for everyone who comes, no matter how long it takes, so you’re not going to miss out there. Last year, the events ranged from 20-200 people, so the worst case scenario is that you’ll be at the end of that line. Usually the events last two hours from beginning to the very bitter end of the signing line.

3. Buy the book. For the painfully shy, this is also a good excuse to ask any questions you might have about the event structure. Also, sometimes the events give out numbers to attendees to reward the people who arrive first and get them closer to the front of the line. Usually if they’re going to do this, you get one of these suckers when you buy a book. If you’re confused about the format, remember that everyone else there is probably confused too, because there’s no standard-issue-book-signing-protocol, so everyone is just playing along.

4. Poof — I arrive. I’m driving Loki my ’73 Camaro to all of the Sinner tour events, so I will manifest in a cloud of exhaust fumes and gasoline odor. I shall have my sister with me for all of the events through Omaha, and then in Denver I will pick up Brenna Yovanoff, and then for the Utah events all the way through L.A., I’ll have Tessa Gratton and Brenna stuffed in the car. I’m telling you this because if you also enjoy Tessa’s or Brenna’s novels, they will be loitering aimlessly in the store and will be happy to sign their books too, if you ask them or just wave the copies in front of them.

5. I talk. Probably for ten or fifteen minutes, I will say something enlightening about Sinner or the writing process, or perhaps just give readers a status update on my goats. Then I take questions from the audience for another fifteen-twenty minutes. I’m happy to answer questions about any of the other books, but if it’s super spoilery, it’s better to whisper it in my ear as you come through the signing line.

guitars

6. Giveaways. At the first event and last event of the tour: Charlottesville, and Los Angeles, the store will raffle off one of the electric guitars I doodled on. You have to be there to be eligible for those, and they’ll hand out the raffle tickets there — probably when you buy a book. Sometimes the stores have other giveaways, too, but they’ll all sort of go like this.

book wrappers

7. Book wrappers. Everyone who buys a copy of Sinner at the tour events will get the custom book wrapper I did — you don’t have to do anything special to earn one, and you don’t have to ask for it, and probably they will be set up on the table beside me for you to just take one. Before you ask, you can have one for every copy of Sinner you buy. So that means if you want one for a friend, you’ll have to buy her a copy of the book as well. That’s just fair to everyone else who bought a book in order to get one.

(and for those of you who can’t get to a tour event, do remember that if you pre-order a copy from Fountain Bookstore before July 1, they will send you one of the book wrappers).

8. Post-it notes. While you stand in line, the booksellers will often ask you your name so they can write it on a sticky note. This is not because they want to call you later. It’s for the personalization in the book. It’s often loud, and names are hard to hear, and this makes it easier for me to not write a really embarrassing spelling of your name in your book. It’s totally okay if you don’t want your book personalized, too. Sometimes people ask me to write something long and complicated in the front and I stare at them, not because I think their face is weird, but because it’s hard to think of something clever on the spot.

9. Meeting my face. I know this can be the nerve-wracking part. Dread slowly seeps through your bones as you get closer and closer to the table where the author sits like a hulking vulture. Trust me. I know it. People often get flummoxed or embarrassed or sometimes they just stare into the middle distance as I sign. Here are some things that I like to hear if you can’t think of anything else: a) which of my books you like the best, b) where you first read my books, c) things you’re hoping I’ll write about some day. Or, if you don’t want to say anything, that’s fine, too. I will not think that you’re socially awkward. The painfully shy can always just smile and avoid eye contact and possibly slip an index card with a song recommendation on it over the table. I’m sorry that this moment is sometimes anti-climactic, too. Because it only is a minute or two after standing in line.

10. Photos. I’m always happy to take photos with readers, so long as the flash is off. Usually there is a bookseller who can take it for you, or you can ask the person behind you in line. I have never seen anyone in line be annoyed about having to take a photo for someone else, so don’t feel bad about this.

11. Giving me things. Sometimes readers want to bring me things. I am very flattered by this, but it also makes me feel strange to accept gifts when I am giving you nothing in return but books that I hope will make you cry in public. Also, I’m always traveling by small car or plane, and so drawings and whatnot usually get crushed. And ever since I heard the story about what a deranged reader once baked into author brownies, I won’t eat any food that’s brought. So if you want to bring me something, just write your favorite line from a book, song, or poem onto a slip of paper and give it to me. That’ll be more than enough. I just like your shining faces.

12. Ta-da! It’s over! You have signed books. You have heard me talk and possibly asked me a question. You possibly have made eye contact with several other readers. You have totally survived.

Does that answer all of the questions? Here are the tour dates in July, in their entirety. You can see that I drive from right to left across the country.

7/2: Charlottesville, VA, 5 p.m. NOTE: this is a guitar stop!

7/3: Baltimore, MD, 4 p.m.

7/5: Pittsburgh, PA, 4 p.m.

7/7: Chicago/ Naperville, IL, 7 p.m.

7/8: Chicago, IL, 12 p.m.

7/8: Milwaukee, WI, 6:30 p.m.

7/9: Madison, WI, 7 p.m.

7/10: Iowa City, IA, 7 p.m.

7/11: Omaha, NE, 4 p.m.

7/14: Denver, CO, 7 p.m.

7/19: Salt Lake City, UT, 7 p.m.

7/21: Reno, NV, 7 p.m.

7/23: San Francisco, CA, 7:30 p.m.

7/24: San Francisco/ Menlo Park, CA 7 p.m. NOTE: This is a group event with Brenna Yovanoff & Tessa Gratton — we’ll be talking about working together as critique partners.

7/28: Los Angeles, CA, 7 p.m.

7/29: Los Angeles/ Montrose, CA – 7 p.m. NOTE: this is a guitar stop!

  • Brandy Graves

    This was great… not that I know if I’ll ever get to attend one, but it’s good to know that I’m not alone in my introverted shyness and social awkwardness if I ever do. ;)

  • Jeska

    Dare you say what was in the brownies?

  • http://armchairauthor.wordpress.com/ LesYeuxHiboux

    My husband and I happen to be going to L.A. to celebrate both of our birthdays, and your last signing is the first whistle-stop on our tour of awesome. Right up there with roller coasters at Magic Mountain and the last-ever taping of Craig Ferguson’s show. I was going to make some preservative-free snickerdoodles, but I have now been duly warned against it.

  • Caz

    Wish you could fit in a signing in Dublin somewhere between that signing in Nevada and the one in Utah. I would like to have the opportunity to a) get some books signed and b) be sure I’m going to say something clever and hilarious to you but then, well, just mumble something.

  • Amanda

    :( No Arkansas again, can’t say I blame you though lol

  • Ali Joseph

    You should totally come to Australia. It’s a long way granted, but it’s warm here and we have great beaches and scenery. There are no wolves but dingos are awesome too. Also we have sugar gliders. Google sugar gliders, they are adorable!

    • Bec Coleman

      I agree with Ali, come to Australia, but don’t forget Tasmania; it has the most beautiful scenery not seen on the mainland. But I can’t guarantee it’s warm down here:)

      And If we’re talking wildlife, Tassie is the only place to see wild Devils;)

  • MariaCecilia

    Dear Maggie, this was probably the most enlightening and intelligent instruction of its kind I have ever seen..(Oh, I haven’t seen any others, let me rephrase that..) ..I could imagine. Unfortunately, I will not make it to the States this summer, but I will be prepared with equally enigmatic smile, quotations and scones the day I finally make that line. Thank you. MariaCecilia

  • Jenn Rollin

    I wish you could come to Ottawa, or somewhere remotely close :(

  • Terry Ritterhouse Christner

    Wow! I’m so glad you wrote this. And I was glad to hear you say at ALA (and mention it here, also) that YOU are a shy introvert and feel socially awkward — not only because I’m relatively shy and almost always feel socially inept, but also because I know some of the teens I encounter as a youth librarian also deal with this. It helps to know that someone they admire (meaning you, not me) is or was the same way, that there’s hope for them of either overcoming their shyness and awkwardness and living a happy life. (You did an awesome job of speaking at your book launch, btw, and of visiting with those of us who attended. I’d have spoken to you more–WANTED to speak with you more — but, after all, I AM still shy and feel socially awkward.) Best of luck on your tour, and keep gracing us with your awesome novels!

  • JA

    I just love the Shiver trilogy and can’t wait to get started on Sinner. I own the paperback versions and just bought the hardcover versions thinking that they would have the same pictures on the covers as the paperback books. (The new cover that looks more like the Sinner cover) Unfortunately this was not the case. Is there anyway to purchase the covers separate for these books? I can’t seem to find anywhere online that sells the new hardcovers with these covers. I really want to add them to my collection. Again I just want to thank you for being such an amazing writer. I would love to come to one of your book signings, but I live in the middle of no where, so I don’t think you will ever be close by. :) I have read the Raven Boys and also this series and can’t wait to start on all your others, too. Keep up the amazing work.

  • http://ravens-and-writingdesks.blogspot.com/ Sophia

    I would love to come on Tuesday, but sadly cannot, for two reasons (one more weighty than the other):
    1. I am meeting a college advisor to minutely plan my life for the next four years. (That’s the weighty one.)
    2. I have only read one of your books and it is not from the Shiver series. I’m a recent addition to your readers, so (here’s my insecure introvert showing) I wouldn’t like to show up as someone who’s only been a week-long fan. (I told you this one wasn’t as weighty.)
    But come back to Chicago soon! I will come see you then! :)

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  • isabel martinez

    Hi Maggie, I’m looking for a crit partner and was wondering if you could upload the yearly crit partner love connection… Thank you for the great books ;)

  • Tara

    I know it’s a long way from home, but I hope you can stop by the Philippines soon! :)

  • JA

    Really wish you would continue the story about the Mercy Falls wolves. Sam and Grace…. :)

  • Ashleigh Lawrence

    Maggie I have to thank you. I’ve read the shiver, linger, and forever. I’m working on sinner right now. I’m 14 going to be 15 soon, your books have help me through a lot. you’ve inspired me to start writing my own books. please write back at alawre2012@yahoo.com or Ashleigh Lawrence on Facebook. I’d love to hear from you

  • Meo Moe

    I’ve been trying to figure out if there’s a way to send a message? Nothing important I guess, just wondering something. /random i know. But really importantttt.

  • Adriana Prue

    Dear Maggie,
    I am a huge fan of a lot of your books, such as the Shiver trilogy and the Scorpio Races and I am reading the Raven Boys now. I have never been a big reader but after I read shiver I was hooked. I would love to meet you sometime, or even get something signed by you. I live in Mass. You can email me at aprue14@hotmail.com. I really I hear from you.

    Sincerely,
    Adriana Prue <3

  • Raquel

    Please, come to Spain. Preferably to the Canary Islands :)
    xx.

  • sophia payne

    hi I don’t know if you will end up reading this but I love the Shiver Linger Forever triliogy I have read it 7 times. in fact the first book has been read so many times the hard cover is bent outwards and some of the pages are wrinkled. I mark each of my fave parts with little page folds. I absolutely love these books. we have wolves where I live and there is a pair I see every winter they run through my yard while the snow falls around them it reminds me of Sam and Grace. I live in Michigan on an island in the Detroit river. if you came here it would be a dream come true I love you and your story makes me believe in true love feel free to email me at sp08kate@gmail.com I will gladly respond please answer

  • Silveryogurt

    Dear Maggie,

    I’M SORRY that this is terribly written, I blame my ADD and the fact that it’s 7am and I haven’t gone to sleep yet.

    I’m so upset, all I asked for for my birthday (July 4th, aka the day before July 5th!) was to get driven to Pittsburgh to meet my favourite author for the final installation of my favourite book series (I live in PA but Pittsburgh is still a 5hour drive /sigh) and instead my mom got me concert tickets to a band I don’t really know that well. I’m sad that I missed seeing you, Maggie!
    If I could have seen you, this is surely what I would have told you: I’ve loved your books since Shiver first came out, and then I went and read Lament and Ballad and my friend got a copy of Linger early from you, and somehow I ended up buying one copy of Linger and having three, and well. You get the idea. You’re a goddess! I have to read everything you write. The Raven Cycle is especially captivating at the moment but I’m sooo excited for Sinner, and let me tell you why. My boyfriend is so much like Sam Roth, that when I told him about Sam (years ago!) he had to read the Shiver books as well. Shiver is one of the first books we agreed upon as a really amazing book, and I don’t know about anyone else but…that was a big deal for our relationship! We used to dicuss chapters and events for hours on the phone at night, and speculate at what might happen in the next book, and rage about how unfair Sam and Grace’s situation was. So Shiver just kind of has a real special place in my heart above all other books you have written, and probably will ever write. You gave me and my manny man a gift and we will always be greatful to you for that.
    Sinner will be a whole new world, but I always loved Cole and Isabel, and I can’t WAIT to surprise my boyfriend with a copy because he probably doesn’t even know that you WROTE Sinner…
    So if I had been at Pittsburgh on July 5th and seen you, I would have bought two copies and you would have signed 12 books, even though the one is already signed by you because I won the Raven Boys “uncorrected proof•not for sale”from one of your giveaways… AAAAH! I forgot to mention how absolutley amazing the Scorpio Races is, I LOVE HORSES OKAY.

    Thank you for all these beautiful words, you’re the best role model this 19-year-old fangirl could ever have hoped for, I’m so glad my aunt bought me Shiver way back when… Aaaaa I’ll shut up now!

    -Krystyna, aka your Fangirl, yes, capital-F Fangirl.

    Ps: How weirded out would you be if I used Shiver art and concepts as a theme for a wedding……
    Pps: shhhh don’t tell my boyfriend I said that! Hehe

  • NA

    Hi Maggie,

    I got to attend your signing in LA tonight with my sister- you’re such a fun speaker! Thanks so much for answering my question about how you explore questions via character.

    I’m writing on behalf of my sister- she was working up the nerve to ask you a question herself but is very shy, and was heartbroken to hear that her question might make you “feel like a terrible person”- especially since that’s the last thing we’d want to do since both of us love your writing!

    My sister’s question was about her favorite character- Ronan- and whether or not his connection to his father’s music, and his prior music lessons with his father would play a role in his story as it evolves- especially since music has played a pivotal role in several of your other works.

    Please, please answer- I adore my little sister, and hate to think that she might be sad next time we geek out discussing one of our favorite series!

    Thank you again for the fantastic talk this evening!

  • Valerie

    It was great meeting you in LA last night. I really wish I had read this before the event. I have lots of questions that flew out of my mind the second I finally arrived at the table!

    I am pleased to say that yours was the first book signing event I have attended. It just seemed right – you were in LA, I was in LA and the book is set in LA.

    Safe travels home in Loki.

  • Marina Maleeva

    Dear Maggie, I just want to say a big thank you for your work, I fell in love with your stories with the first syllable and hopefully inspiration will never leave you. It is a pity that not all of your books have been translated into Russian, to read in a foreign language is not at all, but I do not give up hope … have in your manner of writing something special that I have not met any author, your comparison, turns of phrase, they do not like at all, it’s me and hooked … I myself dream of becoming a writer, and you had me greatly influence…thanks for all. P. S. wolves are beautiful^^

  • Rachel Cruz

    Maggie when u coming to new york i have wanted the book sinner for a long time now

  • Maddy

    What do you have against Florida?! Please come visit us! We have sunshine! And dolphins!!!
    Also, your books make me want to slam my face into a wall and/or laugh and skip through a flowering field.

  • Samaire Provost

    I wish you would sign in San Luis Obispo. It’s in between San Francisco and Los Angeles and is on the way. Please??? You have fans on the California Central Coast ♡

Maggie Stiefvater
Hi, I'm Maggie Stiefvater

Professional novelist by day and artist by night. I live an eccentric life in the middle of nowhere, Virginia with my charmingly straight-laced husband, two kids, and neurotic dogs. I’m the author of the Books of Faerie (LAMENT and BALLAD); the bestselling SHIVER trilogy (SHIVER, LINGER, FOREVER), and THE SCORPIO RACES.

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