The End of the Line

 There comes a point in most every author visit—school, festival, bookstore—when readers line up to have their books signed. I love this part so much. 

Certainly, it's a happy day whenever anyone buys a book but, right then, my joy comes from those brief moments I get to spend with each of these readers. 

The one-on-ones start with a little eye contact. I look at them; they look back at me. Well, most of the time. Some, in their shyness, are more comfortable casting their gaze at their book on the table. No matter what their personality, I try to connect on some level to make each one feel noticed.

Invariably, there are those who smash ahead to be first in line, beating out others who rushed nearly as fast. I usually joke about that: their eagerness their speed, their feeling of achievement at getting there so quickly. 

While I’d love to have more than the minute it takes to sign and ask a question, there’s that line behind them.

In trying to be fair to all the kiddos who are waiting their turn, I cannot spend substantially more time with any one reader in particular, until...

Until I reach the one at the end of the line. The very last. The one who’s had to wait the longest. It’s then that I thank this person for their patience. It’s then that I hold a mini-conversation. It’s then that I will extra-personalize their book based on something they've said. And if I’ve brought a giveaway with me that day, I always save one for the person at the end of the line. The last. But definitely not the least. 

P.S. Shhh! Don’t tell, or everyone will rush to be last.


Jody Feldman, author of The Gollywhopper Games and more, was a shy one who often found herself toward the end of some lines. While she’s mostly overcome her shyness, she still finds benefits in waiting in such circumstances. Well, most of the time.


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