Author Signings at BEA

Author signings at Book Expo America almost always have really huge lines, and in some cases, attendees have to get up early to get free tickets to get books signed by certain, popular authors.  Tickets are given out each morning at 6:45 AM and many of them go quickly, especially for high profile and prolific authors like Joyce Carol Oates.

The only author at the Expo that I wanted a ticket for was Oates because I’ve loved her writing ever since I was younger, and I grew to appreciate it even more in college.  I’d like to say I’m her biggest fan, and I do love hearing stories about her need to write and her eccentricities.

However, after getting up at 5 AM to get my ticket when I was on vacation and didn’t have to get up early for work, I was sorely disappointed after waiting in line for nearly 40 minutes to get Oates’ new book, Sourland, signed and to meet one of my all-time favorite authors.

We were told she was stuck in traffic and would be at Javits soon, but after 20 minutes more of waiting, they told us that they would hand out the books so we didn’t have to wait in line.  Authors are only given between 30 minutes and an hour to sign books, and ticketed authors don’t even guarantee that everyone with a ticket will get to meet the author or receive a signed book.

For me, waiting for my writing inspiration in line for more than 40 minutes only to find out that she couldn’t be bothered to show up at the appointed time was more than disappointing to me.  I had heard that she doesn’t like public functions and that she doesn’t like when fans talk to her in autographing lines, but I still wanted to meet her and have my book signed, but to me, her absence was a slap in the face.  I have vowed to meet her someday regardless of this incident.

I do want to share with you some photos of author signings for non-ticketed authors.  The Girl from Diary of an Eccentric got to meet R.L. Stine and I got to meet the poetic YA author, Beth Kephart, and The Lace Reader author Brunonia Barry.

What authors were you anxious to see? Tell me about your author signing experiences.


  1. Great photos Serena. Too bad you didn’t get to meet JCO and get the book signed. That is disappointing especially after you wait that long.

  2. I got several autographs, including Dorothea Benton Frank, but really didn’t wait in line for any of them.
    .-= bermudaonion (Kathy)´s last blog ..BEA/NY Day 1 =-.

  3. I too waited in line for Oates and was disappointed she did not show. That being said, I met her last year at a book signing and found her to be very engaging and quite friendly to all of us who showed up. She read from her book of short stories, answered audience questions thoughtfully, and I enjoyed her talk a great deal.

    She was funny, a very dry sense of humor. She made some comments about the dreariness of central New York (where she lived and went to college). When I got up to the signing table, I told her I was from central New York and she apologized, saying it wasn’t so bad. We did agree that the weather could be very depressing.

    It’s too bad that this happened, because it did leave a bad taste in many people’s mouths.
    .-= Diane LaRue´s last blog ..Talbots celebrates BEA =-.

    • I haven’t sworn off or written off Oates yet on this one bad experience, but I was very disappointed because I really enjoy her writing.

  4. We waited in line for an hour to meet R.L. Stine, and he was so nice. The Girl was so happy after that; I’m sure she’ll remember it forever.

    We obviously got ourselves to Javits on time to get a ticket, why she couldn’t get there on time for her signing is beyond me. But whatever. I was disappointed, but didn’t let it ruin my day. I really wanted to meet Allison Winn Scotch, and I was thrilled that she remembered me from the TLC Book Tour last year. Other than that, most of the lines I waited in were for The Girl, which didn’t bother me at all because I’m so happy she’s so excited about books.
    .-= Anna´s last blog ..The BEA Post, or I Need Another Vacation to Recover From This Vacation! =-.

  5. Sorry that you didn’t get to meet her! But love the pic of The Girl with Stine…my students would be so jealous!!

  6. Well, since I stood there with you, you know I totally agree! That was the one author (besides Jan Brett…who was AWESOME) who I wanted to meet…it was very disappointing. Personally, I think if an author really doesn’t want to do these things, they shouldn’t. The fact that she didn’t show hurt her more than not signing up to do it in the first place.
    .-= Wendy´s last blog ..Book Bloggers Get Noticed… =-.

    • Wendy, I totally agree. It makes me less likely to read her books or should I say take my sweet old time reading them.

  7. Michelle Moran says

    I should also add.. sorry to hear about Oates 🙁 I never knew that.

  8. Michelle Moran says

    Great write-up, and wonderful photos! Wish I could have been there 🙂

  9. I didn’t go to any of the signings until late Thursday when I found out Erin Bow would be signing Plain Kate, which I really wanted to get my hands on. While I was in line I discovered Alexandra Diaz was there. I’d been trying ot get her book the whole time and they finally got copies in for this line! So I got both of them signed. Otherwise, I didn’t really do any line signings. I don’t like standing in lines.
    .-= Amanda´s last blog ..Welcome to The Zen Leaf! =-.

    • I don’t normally like standing in line, but there were three authors I wanted to see and 1 didn’t show.

  10. I love the picture of The Girl! She’s such a doll! And what a thrill for her!
    .-= rhapsodyinbooks´s last blog ..Review of “Sweet Misfortune” by Kevin Alan Milne =-.

  11. How disappointing that JCO didn’t show. I don’t think that has ever happened at a signing I’ve attended. Although I wasn’t able to go to BEA, I go to 4 or 5 author appearances in my area each year. They start on time and the authors seem like they really want to be there meeting their readers. I’m glad you were able to meet some really great authors!
    .-= Mary´s last blog ..Waiting On Wednesday – June 2 =-.

    • I haven’t had issues with other authors at local signings or at larger book festival events either. I was just surprised by this incident at such a major publishing event.

  12. Jenn's Bookshelves says

    Trust me! Based on my experience last year with this author, you didn’t miss a thing!

    I really wanted Alexandra Sokoloff’s newest book, but when she arrived to sign the books were a no-show. I was pretty upset…we learned this after waiting for over half an hour. I plan on buying the book anyway, but would have loved to have met the author.
    .-= Jenn’s Bookshelves´s last blog ..A Month in Review: May =-.

    • So you had a similar experience with Oates?! I really have adored her writing for some time, but was extremely disappointed by this event.

  13. This was very uncalled for. I mean I sat in traffic a lot and was able to make it in time for things. I think this was a sad abuse of power of people who got up at the butt ass crack of dawn to get a ticket to get a book signed.
    .-= Pam´s last blog ..Housing Works: Books for Aids Research =-.

    • I have to be at work at 6AM daily, you don’t hear me whining about being stuck in traffic and I can’t get to work. They expect me in…so I’m at my desk!