The Selection has been out just over a month now, and in that time I’ve done events at bookstores, libraries, high schools, and even my in-laws’ house. No two events are exactly alike, and you never know who will show up. Sometimes, that’s the most exciting element. Meeting another local YA author or someone who has a gazillion questions about my story? It makes my life! On other occasions, the people you were so enthusiastic about meeting will make you want to hide under the coloring desk set up in the kid’s section until the store closes. And that’s what we’re going to talk about today, friends. We’re gonna talk about the Crazies.
There are levels of Crazies, and I can’t prepare you for all of them. I’m just now remembering an author friend walking around a convention a while back with his then girlfriend while one of the Invade Your Life Crazies stood nearby pointing and wailing because she was in love him and couldn’t compute seeing him with another girl. Yikes, right? I’ve yet to meet anyone on that level. But here are a few ways to handle the Temporary Crazies, the ones who will hop into your signing line and park there like it’s Duck Appreciation Day, and you’re a toddler with a poor grip on his PB&J. They’re harmless but very loud, and you really want to stay away from their crap. Here’s how:
Tip 1: No sudden moves around the Crazies. They don’t realize they’re making you and everyone around you incredibly uncomfortable. If you start flailing when they delve into topics that genuinely provoke the calmest parts of your soul, it will only alarm them, and the crazy level will increase. Stay cool.
Tip 2: Smile and nod. No, I don’t understand why dying your dog’s fur that color effects world peace, but if it means that much to you, cool. *smiles*
Tip 3: Don’t take it personally. With these Crazies, they don’t care who you are. Your bestselling book and potential TV series are speed bumps in their monologue about bras or reheating garbage or whatever it was they were talking about before they abruptly switched gears midsentence. It’s okay to emotionally disengage until your Spidey Senses stop tingling.
Tip 4: This is what your friends are for. Callaway has gone to all of my store events, and it’s a nice idea to have someone with you to grab water or whatever. And usually someone working for the shop is nearby monitoring the event. Make eye contact. Make special eye contact. And pray that one of them helps you.
If more than 5-10 minutes go by and they’re still making an aggressive political statement or asking you to endorse their homemade body paint, you’re entering the fake-a-heart-attack stage there, and you just do whatever you must to survive, okay?