Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Booksigning weirdness

I was walking the dog this morning and in between scooping poop, I thought back to the Barnes and Noble booksigning last week.

Let me just state for the record there's no link here between dog poop and booksignings, it was just one of those moments.

Anyway, at the booksigning there was a lady at my table who was leafing through my books, and said she's the kind of reader who always reads the last page before buying a book. I nearly leaped over the table to snatch the copy of Smuggler's Bride out of her hands.

"I have a surprise at the end of the book," I said. "If you read the last page, you'll know what the surprise is and it won't be as...surprising."

She said she didn't care about that, she still wanted to read the last page. At this point I was inching my books back over to my side of the table.

"But writers put a lot of effort into making plot twists work so that you, the reader, will get the maximum enjoyment from the book. If you read the last page, you won't enjoy it as much!"

She was beginning to look at me like I was crazy. Maybe it was the slight edge to my voice--it had been a long, tiring day with airplane insanity--but I finally browbeat her into buying my book without looking at the last page. For all I know she snuck a peek on her way to the cash register. She did bring it back to be signed, so I couldn't have been too scary, but honestly! There's a Big Secret in Smuggler's Bride and that's part of the fun of the story. Why ruin it?

Other authors told me afterwards I was too harsh. Maybe. But I'd like to think my passionate defense of the denouement helped make the sale.

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