9th October 2006

A few days ago, Bryan and I made our first trip to Borders just to see my book in its natural habitat. We found a few copies in the Web Design section (beh?), and Bryan took them up to the counter so I could sign them.

I didn’t realize this was a thing, authors going into random Borders and signing their books, so I felt all sheepish. Afterward, a clerk stuck “SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR!” stickers on the cover and put them back on the shelf. I gazed upon them lovingly. Still, it felt like I’d paid to have them printed by some vanity press and then snuck them in to a real bookstore just to see them on the shelf.

Also, they didn’t check my ID or author photo or anything. This made me wonder what other books I could sign at random bookstores. Would they believe me if I said I was Nora Ephron? Jonathan Safran Foer?

In conclusion, I encourage you to go into bookstores and surreptitiously sign copies of my book, as I think it would be funny.

31 thoughts on “Imposter

  1. Kelsey

    Maggie, I think I’ll write a message in one for you and if books really are magic, like teachers all across America have lead me to believe, you will know something very exciting by Thursday morning, after it appears in your dreams.

  2. Kim

    Hrmph! Why didn’t someone tell me about that Borders thing? We’ve been to bookstores across the country and I always make a point to look for my book on the shelf, but I’ve never signed a one. Of course now I live in another (non-English speaking) country, where I’ll never see my book on a shelf. I want a “Signed by the author” sticker, too! Please go to Borders and sign my book for me.

  3. Star Shine


    You’re hilarious. One day, someone will try to buy all of the existing signed copies of your book on eBay and wonder why Maggie’s John Hancock looks different in every copy!

    Congrats on your book!

  4. Mau

    I don’t think they’ll let me… I am not famous among dozens… and I definitely don’t look like a ‘Maggie’.

  5. jOn

    i’ve been doing the exact same thing with my blog book that just came out (rough guide to blogging). i can’t believe they let any joe schmo just waltz in, declare that they’re an author, and start signing away. it’s thrilling, yet totally crazy and irrational when you really get down to it.

    love the title of your book, love it. best of luck.

  6. Velma

    I hope you are signing them things like, “You’re the greatest! Maggie Mason” and “You’re my favorite reader! Maggie Mason.”

    10 years ago, while living in Philadelphia, I started buying Harlen Coben’s mystery novels for exactly this reason, and look! He’s like a mega-seller now! And I have several of his paperbacks that tell me I’m the best! And, also? I’m the coolest! Harlen Coben says so!

  7. Joe

    Count me in… just need to make sure I have some change on hand for bail beforemy lunch at Borders tomorrow afternoon.

  8. shy me

    Oh my Gosh! If I find one of your books way down here in Canadaland (wait.. that’d be UP here, wouldn’t it?) Anyway, if I find one in my wee town? I’m TOTALLY signing it! YES!

  9. denise

    i too was confused to see your book in the webdesign section. i should go in and say that i’m the author and demand that they stick it somewhere more logical, like ‘american classic literature’ or something.

  10. Brock

    But wait, should we sign your name, or our own? I think I’d like my books better if they were signed by entirely different people, just for variety.

  11. Mo

    I would totally do this if I weren’t a bearded six-foot Hispanic man.

    Hang on, maybe I should anyway, because that’s even funnier.

  12. Sarah

    I think even better than signing it, you should just stick on some great lipstick and kiss the heck out of the inside cover. But then again, Borders may not have a “kissed by the author” sticker readily at hand.

  13. kim

    I work at Indigo in Canada, very similar to Borders. Authors do come in some times, it’s not unusual at all. We usually ask to see some ID though. We also have a couple copies of your book (Online Section)that I put on display along with this one.

  14. Aunt Raina

    As a proud Aunt I think I’ll just go into Borders, pick up copies of the book and follow people around offering out the book. They’ll buy one just to get rid of me.

  15. Jennifer

    This made me laugh so hard, I did it.

    I went to Barnes & Noble on a lark and searched for your book. I asked the clerk to help me find the “latest book by Maggie Mason”. Duh. Um, it’s MARGARET, and the book title reads “No One…” not “Nobody…”. So, it took us awhile for the VIOLA moment. She directed me to Personal Computing, then to Psychology, then wandered aimlessly, then asked a co-worker. He said, “Oh yeah! It’s on New Paperback Favorites table, right up front!” When I saw it, for real, I turned to the harried girl who’d been so kind and said, “OH MY GOD! I KNOW HER! LIKE, TOTALLY!”

    I think she saw through me. Justifiably, seeing as all I don’t know anything about you except you’re mighty good.

    ANYWAY. I signed the book. “On behalf of Maggie Mason, blogger extraordinaire.”

    Then I paid for it and brought it home.


  16. capacious

    What’s the pay? How much time? What IS a comments editor?

    I’m leading you on. I don’t need a job. I already have one that doesn’t pay and is time-consuming. I go around signing Maggie’s book all day, every day. It’s exhausting, yet satisfying, in a weird way. I always sign with my left hand. I’m not left-handed. Sometimes I have my kids sign.

  17. Jennifer

    A comments editor would go around and clean up the messes I make whilst commenting on other people’s blogs. Pay is nothing. Time, exhausting. Good thing you don’t need a job.

  18. tracy

    I would like to see five different people sign the same book, all Maggie Mason.


    (I would, but I don’t even know if the book has made it to New Zealand. I’ll let you know.)

  19. Emily

    Can we just sign it any old way or do we need to try to make it reasonably close to your signature?

    On my docket for this project; making creepily accurate/very narrowly applicable predictions. “Don’t trust the man with the lisp. Love! Maggie.” “Wear purple today, trust me, okay? Love Maggie!” “Make sure the parachute works in advance, All the Best, Maggie.”

  20. Mom101

    I just wanted to say that that is officially the best book title possible and I am reluctantly but admittedly jealous.

    I hope that you also mention that we care even less what someone’s kid ate for lunch.

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