I went to go see Sarah J Maas on Sunday in Toronto and while I enjoyed the 8am-3pm waiting time (solely because of my friends), I was a little disillusioned. I’m probably just someone who’s insanely picky or naive when it comes to signings (I’ve only been to like 4 or 5), but I was really surprised with how strict the guidelines were for the event.
We arrived at 7:50 am and were promptly told the guidelines. We were to not leave or we would lose our spots (if you had to go to the washroom or get coffee/food, you’d have to tell security), which is understandable because there were A LOT of people (we were like 150-155 of 250). Then we had to buy the book, get a wristband, and leave our books with the staff and if you already owned a copy, oh well *shrug* (which you couldn’t get signed–though when my friends asked SJM to sign a different book other than A Court of Wings and Ruin, she obliged). For reference, usually a receipt as proof of purchase is usually sufficient.
SJM is a sweetheart in person, even if some of her responses to questions were a liittttleeeee problematic, but hey, they’re her characters. She complimented my friends and me on our makeup and outfits, which was awesome. I just found the guidelines for her signing a lot more strict than I’ve ever experienced. Granted, she’s a much more famous author than some of the authors I’ve met–for reference, there were well over 300 people at her signing.
What really jarred me though was the view of people crying beside the main line because they didn’t make it in time to be one of 250 people to personally meet SJM and get their books signed. It’s true that time management would have been useful (there were people there since 3am, but again, someone who didn’t research or ask questions or had experiences with popular authors would probably make the same mistake). I know exceptions can’t be made for one person or else that would open up the floodgates, but it was still a really sad scene.
Overall, the experience of meeting SJM was great. She and her husband were adorable as he stamped two books and she signed ACOWAR and talked to the fan. It was the strict guidelines and some of her responses that made us question the event and dimmed our excitement. (I.e. Feyre being a hufflepuff–which a very specific whattttt?! moment).
Of course, this is just my opinion. Sunday could have been someone else’s perfect day. People seemed to be having fun and even though we could barely hear her from our spot–the place was super full, so we couldn’t even see her, people were actively trying to hear her responses. The hearing issue was at times to the extent where we just wanted to meet her.
My Tips for Author Signings: Always be earlier than you think you need to be. Be considerate of the people running the event, even if you don’t agree with their rules. Have fun!