Origami Yoda, or How To Do an Author Signing

So, one of those things Debut Authors do in those months up to The Big Day (whch I have found out recently for MY first book, is August 21, 2012!! Woo hoo!) is go to other author’s events.

Of course, we do this anyway, sometimes because the authors are friends/heroes/mentors, and/or because we love their books, and sometimes because we have no other lives anyways and the Roller Derby was sold out. But anyway…  we debuts go, and take notes.

Oh, wow. I could have *filled* a notebook last week at Tom Angleberger’s Darth Paper Strikes Back book signing at Bookpeople in Austin. I could have… but I was laughing too hard to take any notes at ALL!

Now, I’ve been to some pretty good author events. But this guy? He remembered something, I think, that many of us forget when we start talking to a large group of people about our writing-y things.

He remembered who his real audience was. And he spoke to them.

Tom Angleberger talking to Larry. (It’s an in joke. Gotta be there to get it.)

Adults were there, sure, but Tom writes for middle grade kids (of which there were MANY in attendance) and he never forgot that. It was like a stand-up comedy skit for kids, with some juggling and reading thrown in to break things up.

How’s this for getting your audience? He dressed a kid up in an enormous origami Yoda costume.

Just as funny as it looks.

Every kid there was taught how to make a five-fold “emergency” Yoda, to take home. You know, just in case you need some Jedi wisdom some afternoon.

He drew pictures in all the books he signed.

He drew pictures, asked questions about what kids liked, and related their answers to particular chapters in his book.

And every time a kid raised a hand, even if their comment was way off-base (as can happen when kids get REALLY excited and try to make jokes with their favorite author), he was respectful and considerate.

And in doing that last one? He had every single parent there in the palm of his hand, too. Like me. He could write a thousand books, and I would buy them all in hardcover at full price, just because I want to show my appreciation.

Now, I don’t fold paper in my debut novel. I also can’t juggle, and I don’t have a hilarious scene about pee stains guaranteed to have the elementary-aged set rolling on the floor. But Tom gave me a whole lot to think about for my upcoming signings. Things about connecting with your target audience, dressing the part, and giving respect to the whole crowd.

Even the tiny, noisy little 3rd grade Sith Lords.

My own little Sith Lord.
Posted in Children's Fiction, Family News, Miscellaneous on 08/27/2011 04:07 pm


  1. Great recap, Nikki, even though you didn’t get to take notes! I don’t really know what I’m going to do at signing events either, so I love reading about what other authors do. We should all do origami!


    • Nikki Loftin

      Lynne, you’ve got dibs on an origami elephant schtick. I’m planning to make tiny little vials of poison to hand out… oh, wait. Maybe I shouldn’t get *that* into my theme.


  2. I really wish I could’ve attended this one. It looks like so much fun!


    • Nikki Loftin

      Me, too, Shelli! It was a good one. I’ll let you hold my origami Yoda. Heck, I might even teach you how to fold one.


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