That’s Me—Writer Groupie!

My name is Laura Best and I am a writer groupie.

I never knew this before, but apparently there IS a word for what’s ailing me( if you call it ailing) —- “writer groupie.” And doesn’t that sound totally lame? I mean anything with the word groupie attached to it. Makes you sound so…so… I don’t know…desperate.

I discovered this tidbit over at Fitch Happens. Sheree wrote that even though she’s a writer, she’s a reader first. She spoke about how precious her signed copies of books are. She openly admitted to sniffing the ink on the page. She was not ashamed.

Let me be straight about this: I have NEVER sniffed ink.(Not that I believe that ink sniffing is wrong , mind you, or even beneath me. If you’re an ink-sniffer that’s perfectly fine by me.) I’m not even sure that ink gives off an odor, not from your regular run-of-the-mill ballpoint at any rate, but who am I to argue?

The truth is, the thought never crossed my mind….. I’m just not a sniffer by nature unless it’s something that is sniffable– flowers, skin products, perfume, spices—you get my drift. My daughter is a sniffer. Whenever she opens a gift she smells it regardless of what it is. Got it from her grandmother on her father’s side. It’s a family joke or, quite possibly, a tradition. We sit around and watch each Christmas, and yes, she does it every time. Does this mean we’re strange?

Nope. I’m definitely not an ink sniffer….Yet now the thought is there, isn’t it? I do have signed books, you know.

I could deny the word— writer groupie, and yet I think the signs are there…..I show up at book signing, have my picture snapped with various authors all in hopes of creating this scrapbook for Miss Charlotte. I love meeting other authors and chatting with them. I flock to where authors are hanging out. AND I have photos to go along with my signed books from: Syr Ruus, Jan Coates, JoAnn Yhard, Helene Boudreau, Margaret Atwood, Budge Wilson, Steve Vernon, Jill MacLean, Sheree Fitch, Star Dobson, … I’m sure there are more that I’m forgetting at the moment of writing this, and there will be more in the future.

I remember when I was off signing copies of my novel. A few people came prepared to get photos so I guess I’m not the only one. It was actually kind of cool to think that someone wanted their photo snapped with me. I mean me, really. I wonder at this moment how Margaret Atwood feels, she’s probably in more scrapbooks and photo albums than any other Canadian writer.

Still, there are worse things in life I suspect. I won’t bother naming them at the moment.. I’ll just curl up on the sofa with my photos and books and resists the urge to sniff ink.

Be honest, are you a writer groupie? Do you have signed copies of books from authors that you would never part with? Have you ever sniffed the ink on a page?

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  1. I have an autographed copy of The Iliad and The Odyssey. Homer signed it with a purple felt tip pen and the guy at the book exchange on 163rd St assured me of its authenticity. I paid only $50 ! Bargain hunting really pays off I would say. You may enjoy my post “How I Got Barry Goldwater’s Autograph” 8/6/10.

    • My what a find, Carl! You must have been happy with that. I love it when we stumble across a really great find.

      I’ll check out that post. Thanks for mentioning.

  2. To answer your queston: Yes, I do have a selection of books signed by the author I keep in a special spot, never to see a yard sale table.

    I don’t sniff the ink of signatures, but there’s one album I have by Alabama that has a unique smell. Every time I see it, I pull out the record and smell the sleeve. After all these years — I bought it new in the early 1980s — it still has the odour that is very appealing to me. It takes me back to being a teenager and playing the album on my parents’ old record player before I went off to school each day.

    • I couldn’t imagine putting my signed books in a yard sale, but I know it happens. I’ve heard horror stories. I think odors are very powerful in conjuring up memories and images from the past. There are a few smells that hurtle me back in time. Pleasant memories…

      Yes, the old record players–ours had a small weight on the head because the needle was worn and the records would skip…. :)

  3. I recently brought a signed copy of Alice Hoffman’s The Dovekeepers and I was thrilled. Even though I wasn’t there for the signing, I still find it thrilling to have a signed copy. Hoffman is one my favorite writers.

    I find signatures fascinating – whether they have quick lines or whether they sign with just the first name or full name. In Hoffman’s case, she signed Alice Hoff, which I wonder about.

    • I’m also an Alice Hoffman fan, and have several of her books. One, and the name escapes me at the moment, has a huge chunk missing and about twenty pages repeated in their place… Strange.

  4. I’m not much of an “ink sniffer”, but I do like the spicy smell that some books have.

    As for being a writer groupie, sure that sounds fun! Comic books and “regular” books. I have a signed copy of a friend’s book that she illustrated, as well as a signed copy of Bone by Jeff Smith. In fact, I waited in line and got my photo taken with Jeff. I would LOVE to get a signed copy of The Walking Dead and chat with Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard. Garth Ennis and Matthew Firth are other writers who I would love to meet and fawn over.

    If I’m ever in your area too, it would be great to get my copy of Bitter Sweet signed. :)

    • I always loved the smell of the bookmobile when I was a kid which of course came from the books. Pauline, if you’re ever nearby I’d be more than happy to sign your copy of Bitter, Sweet, in fact, I’d be honoured. :)

  5. Ann Best

     /  November 17, 2011

    That’s awesome that you got to meet Margaret Atwood.

    I used to sniff things, too. And I too have some treasured signed printed copies of books. I have your Bitter, Sweet on my Kindle. It would be lovely to have a signed copy of it, and of all the Bloggers’ books I’ve bought, and I feel sad about not supporting “real” bookstores, but eBooks is the only way I can afford to buy a lot of books.

    You just wrote on my post re: my finally getting my new story on Amazon that: “I’d likely chicken out and have one of my kids do it for me. I do have to say, you make it sound very easy.” I tried to get my web designer son to help me, but he was too busy. So I had to do something. And it was far from easy!

    • Yes, it was pretty exciting the evening we met Margaret Atwood. She mingled about before her reading and actually ended up right beside my husband and I. She seems shy during a one on one, but comes alive once she’s in front of a crowd. She’s wonderful.

      It was sweet of you to purchase my book as an ebook. I agree with you. Books are wonderful but they are costly for those of us who purchase any amount. When my budget for new books is gone, I often turn to the used books. One never knows what treasures they will find

  6. I have a few signed copies, and I know them, so no – I’d never part company :D

    • I certainly don’t blame you, Jolene. Isn’t it great when we have books signed by people we actually know? Until a few years ago I didn’t know a single author. Now I know many. :)

  7. I have a few signed books that I’ll probably never part with. Kind of telling, isn’t it, that I’d rather have an author’s signature than, say, an actor or “rock star”. ;)

  8. I told my daughter all I would be leaving her was my collection of author signed books (including 2 by Margaret Atwood and 1 by Laura Best). She said that was all she would ever want! Yes, I am an author groupie too and proud of it!

    • They say admitting it is always the first step, to what I’m not quite sure since you’re a proud-to-be- author groupie. It’s not such a bad thing to be. I also have a signed copy of your book, Darlene. Maybe one day i’ll have a photo to go along with it.. Do you get to the east coast in your travels, Darlene? That would be super cool!

    • I have yet to vist the east coast of Canada but it is on my to do list for sure. I think it would be a great place for Amanda to have an adventure. When I get there, you will be one of the first I will look up and we will have our picture taken together!

      • That sounds great. Would love to actually meet you, and I’m sure the east coast has many places for Amanda to visit. :)

  9. So … what’s wrong with sniffing books? Nothing, right? Good, because I have done it. Yessir, I have indeedy done that. ;) Trying to smell the ink? maybe that’s what I was doing, but I just really like the smell of books.

    I don’t have many author signed books, but I do have Laura Best’s Bitter Sweet, and the sweet memory of meeting that delightful author. :) Thanks, Laura.

    • Nothing wrong with being who you are, Lynn. :) I’m a live and let live kind of person. Interesting, though, that you have also sniffed ink. I’m sure there are many more like you in the world.

      Awww, you’re sweet, Lynn. I think it’s wonderful that we have continued to keep in touch, and it all started with a book signing at the County Fair Mall.

  10. Having a photo taken of me and you, Laura, would indeed be a highlight. I once took 6 photos of every angle of the house Margaret Lawrence grew up in. Then I spent the next 30 minutes trying to imagine her living there. So, I know exactly what you mean.

    Your daughter sniffs her presents? Hmm. Okay.

    • LOL! I hope my daughter isn’t reading this post. I might be in trouble.

      Yes, it would also be nice to meet you Joylene and have a few photos. One never knows where life will takes us, but we’d best be ready to follow along.

  11. I have some author-signed books from guest speakers to our writers group. Never thought to get a picture, though. Not much of a sniffer, my sniffer is a bit sensitive to some things.

    • Never thought to get a photo, Patti! That will never do.. From this day forward you must vow to get photos with any of the writers you meet. Promise?

  12. Half a doz authors support my blog as do you and it is reciprocate time. I buy each of their books now . Do you have copies at home? If you give me mailing address on my email I will send check for price and shipping. It is for Mother so please sign to “Jennie………………..” Perhaps a snapshot of your self as bookmark would be appreciated. My address is 2905 Point East Drive, L-106, Aventura, Florida 33160. Ph# 305-974-0248.

  13. fivecats

     /  November 19, 2011

    “Hello, Laura. Thank you for coming to group. All of us here are glad that you have taken that all-important, first step of admitting to your situation.” :)

  14. I too have a few books that have been autographed and I wouldn’t think of parting with them. If smelling the ink on a page made you high, I’d be high all the time. I love the smell of books even though most of my reading these days are on my Kindle. Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting! I’m a follower here. I also have another blog: Would love to have you visit there.

    • Thanks for visiting, Donna. I’ve added both your blogs to Google Reader and will be following you as well. As book lovers, we all appreciate the smell and feel of books. I’m curious if those of you who also have a kindle still buy some books just to savour the experience? I won’t say I’ll never own a kindle because there’s no way we can predict what will take place in the future.

      • I have a Sony Reader that I take on my travels and I love it. My husband bought it for me as he was tired of carrying around all those books I would take with me. But I still buy print books and sometimes, if I really love the book I read on my e-reader, I buy the print version as well (if there is one) There is room for both I believe. I do love that I can adjust the font on my e-reader as I will not buy a book that has small font – too hard on my eyes. Long live books in any form!!!


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