Fan Group Observation

A fan tweeting about the signing event

So the both of us went to attend a book signing for a YA author named Ryan Graudin, held at an indie bookstore called Books of Wonder. Jade has no previous knowledge about this author, while Shannelle’s very familiar with the fandom, but she wasn’t expecting it to be so small. There were about 20 people attending. She was following a Twitter called YA Book Events NYC, who had been live-tweeting the event as well sharing updates like how the event was starting a little later than advertised, or pieces from the talk. From the angle of the photos, we guessed that she was one of the two people sitting at the front in the second column of seats, which didn’t really matter, as they were friends.

Shannelle found out about this as she was lining behind a relatively well-known book blogger, known as Alexa, and the two people we were guessing to be the YA Events tweeter went up to her, along with someone else, and started chatting about books. Shannelle managed to hear Alexa complimenting someone else about her readings speed, and she even saw one of them hand over an advanced reader’s copy (ARC-cheap editions of a book sent to media for review purposes ahead of the publishing date) of Batman: Nightwalker over to Alexa. Since the author’s Marie Lu, it’s definitely an ARC that’s very, very in-demand.

Fans waiting in line for signing
Taking selfie with the author

So arguably, these are the big-name fans, and we’re guessing they’re in the middle-aged demographic. We didn’t really spot someone who looked like a teen (what does a teen even look like?), although there was a middle-aged man, and including us, we were definitely the smaller players. Again, since it was small, there wasn’t really a chance for people to assert their hierarchy, like people waiting in line before Hillary Clinton’s signing event at Barnes and Noble in Union Square. From Shannelle’s previous years being in the online fandom, she argues that those are far better group cohesion activities, especially with how people show off the ARCs they receive from publishers, and offline activities like signings can be a way to show off hierarchy–I was at this event and you weren’t!–if the author is big enough.