Good, Bad, Ugly (GBU) Event Etiquette


To continue our new The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Feature, this week we will be discussing Event Etiquette.


I don’t know about you, but I love a good book related event. For some, book events are the only times where they can go and meet the authors they love so much as well as other readers with whom they share a common love of books and hopefully, genres.


Unfortunately, not everyone realizes that the world doesn’t, in fact, revolve around them. And even more unfortunate is that it isn’t only the readers who commit the offenses. Sometimes it is the authors themselves, or even the event organizer who sometimes suffer a lack of good judgement, common sense, or just plain old fashioned common decency.


This post is not intended to call anyone specific out. If you are guilty of one of the offenses I talk about, know that I am not alone in my view of these being faux pas. These are concepts that I have witnessed firsthand or heard about personally from authors, readers and organizers. Maybe you can take this post as a moment to realize you are contributing to the problem and do your best to fix it.


I know that I personally have committed one of these offenses. As much as I hate to admit it, it’s true. It wasn’t intentional, and I didn’t know until recently that it was something that I should be doing differently. I am guilty of the offense of not staying at the host hotel. I had no idea it had an affect on anything. I just didn’t know. Now that I know, I will stay at the host hotel whenever I go out of town for an event. Even if I just go to Orlando, I will be getting a room.


On that note lets talk about some of the positive things when it comes to event etiquette.


The Good:


Buy tickets in advance (see The Bad for more).

Have your books ready for authors to be signed.

Be nice to each other.

Remember that good manners go a long way.

Participate in author events.

Don’t forget that you are all there for the same reason, to enjoy and spend time with the authors we love. There will be lines, there will be crowds it’s just a fact of life. Get over it. you aren’t the only one who has to wait, so make the best of it. Make friends with the other people waiting. You never know when you will make a new friend.


Appreciate the opportunities you are being given! Many event planners don’t make ANY money from their events. In fact, a lot of times, they will end up paying out of their own pocket to cover the cost of things, like when you stay at another hotel and they aren’t able to fill their room block to get the discount on event space. These planners work very hard to provide you with a memorable experience. Things may go wrong. Its not the end of the world. No event goes off without a hitch. Think of it like a wedding. There is always some sort of problem. So keep that in mind next time you want to bitch to the planner about something you don’t like, they probably have bigger problems to worry about.


Ask permission for things you want to do at the event that are not included in the schedule. If there is something special you want to recognize, like a anniversary or birthday and that kind of thing, that will be occurring during the event, ask the organizer beforehand. They might say yes, they may not. But if they say no in advance, you have time to plan to do it somewhere else. Like in your room. Don’t assume the organizer is going to be ok with you bringing celebratory materials and having a mini party during their event.


Don’t assume everyone will be ok with whatever you want to do. Again, you are not special!

The Bad:



Not staying at the host hotel. Organizers work very hard to keep the prices for events low. In order to do this, many times, they have to sell a certain number of rooms at the hotel to get a big discount on the cost of the actual event rooms. It may seem like you are paying a lot, but in most cases,  you are getting much more value for your money. An event that provides meals and/or parties in addition to panels, signings really give you your money’s worth because realistically, those things would cost you much more than you are paying to get in. You aren’t really saving much money by staying somewhere else. In some cases, you are excluded from certain event opportunities, plus you have a potentially different parking situation as well as travelling back and forth between hotels.


Don’t show up unannounced. Many events sell out. This means THERE ARE NO MORE TICKETS. It doesn’t mean show up at the door on the day of the event expecting them to just let you in because you’re somehow special. Again, you are not special. Your mom might think so, but the people around you won’t think so highly of you. Besides, how embarrassing would it be to be turned away from an event in front of a couple hundred other people?


Bring a suitcase full of books for 1 author to sign. Be reasonable, everyone wants their books signed, check with the event organizer to find out first if they have a limit, then follow it! If they do not have a limit, try to keep it to just a few. If you are going to an event that is several days, you will have other opportunities to get your things signed. Take advantage of those opportunities and if you do it right, you won’t have to spend all your time trying to get one autograph.


Dress appropriately. No one wants to see your camel toe. So please, for the love of all that is holy, please keep that under control.


not special

The Ugly:


Contacting the event ticket company after, per the policy, no refunds are issued and tell them it was an unauthorized transaction.


Complaining that you aren’t allowed to participate in certain activities/giveaways because you chose to stay at a different hotel after being told you would be ineligible.


Getting wasted at the afterparty and making a fool of yourself.


Don’t interrupt other authors when you are on a panel. Remember you are not the only one on the panel, so be courteous of your other panelists. This includes staying off your phone during a discussion. I’ve witnessed an author actually making a phone call during a panel when another author was talking. This same author also spent a good portion of the panel very obviously texting. That’s just rude!


If you don’t want your picture to possibly be taken, don’t go to an event. You will undoubtedly be at the very least in the background of someone’s photo. If a reader is taking a picture of a panel, they won’t be impressed with your ability to hide your face behind a piece of paper and ruining the rest of the picture. Why even pose if you are going to do that? I understand trying to protect your privacy, really I do. But seriously, if you don’t want the world to know who you are, don’t put yourself in a public situation. In this day and age of the internet, photography, and social media, someone is bound to find out who you are. More than likely the majority of people don’t know and furthermore don’t actually care who you are. Once again, you are not special.


Poaching authors from another event.


Allowing some authors or your non-volunteer friends to attend for free while expecting others to pay full price, and then letting everyone find out about the preferential treatment.


You are not special. Do not expect special treatment just because you are a blogger, author, reviewer, reader, etc. If the organizer offers you something special, great! If not, it’s not a big deal, you are just like everyone else. The whole “Don’t you know who I am” line doesn’t get you very far in this situation. In fact, it makes you look like a dick.


No one likes a diva, regardless of what reality tv tells you.


What are your main pet peeves when you attend an event?

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