Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Open Letter to the Neil Gaiman Signing Line at BEA

Dear Neil Gaiman Fans,

Hi. You don't know me but I was the girl at BEA who was telling you where to go and where to stand while you were waiting in line to get your book signed by Neil Gaiman. I'm also a huge Neil Gaiman fan just like you! Since at the time I was too flustered to think clearly (you can read about why in the previous blog posts), I wanted to write down what it is I would have said to all of you if given the chance.

First, thank you for being so patient. The setup was pretty confusing and there were many many times when some of you accidentally cut the line. However, none of you freaked out when someone cut, you just waited for that person to realize their mistake, or for me to explain it to them. When I did explain, the accidental cutter always nodded and said something like, "I thought the line was too short," and made his or her way to the end of the line.

Thank you for being so understanding. I finally resorted to moving you up in groups of 5 or 6 to make sure that the author signing books for Midpoint Trade still had a free space for signing. Being moved up in little clumps (and sometimes being told to go back) must have felt a little silly for you. Also once I moved you up I often forgot what the last person I had moved up looked like. Therefore I ended up asking you three or four times, "Did I move you up?" to make sure that no one was accidentally cut. This must have been very annoying, but no one ever seemed annoyed at me. Honestly, in the midst of the BEA sensory overload (you know what I mean), the fact that you all stayed calm and friendly was nothing short of a miracle.

Thank you for being open minded. Several of you actually stopped by the Midpoint author booth to meet the author who was signing copies as you slowly moved by in line. You chatted and took a signed copy. This made the author glow. I believe for most of the time it was Marie Etienne signing copies of Confessions of a Bi-Polar Mardi Gras Queen. I hope if you took a copy, that you enjoy it!

Thank you for being so friendly. I had several brief conversations with you, which was fun. Many of you even stopped by afterward to show me your signed copy, which I thought was so cool!! I really appreciated that. A special thank you to the tall, skinny guy who showed me his Neil doodle. When I asked him what he had said to Neil he told me proudly, "I shook his hand!" I understood exactly what he meant. If I'd had a chance to stand in line with you and meet Neil, I would have been proud of myself for managing to act like a normal person, too.

Finally, thank you for making me want to be a better writer. I hope that someday I earn the kind of fans that Neil enjoys. You waited in line with a smile, you never complained about the lack of organization. I never even heard a single snarky comment or caught a single eye roll. You are all amazing! Thanks for making my afternoon at BEA so much better.

I was happy to help as many of you as possible get a chance to say hi to Neil and get a signed copy! I hope to see you again at the next Neil Gaiman signing in New England--I'll be the girl standing in line behind you, not telling you where to stand!

Wishing you all well,
Jennifer Ambrose

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