What Happens At Signings, Stays At Signings (Unfortunately)

If I had to make a guess, I’d say that I’ve done over 200 signings since The Name of The Wind was first published back in 2007.

Maybe more. Maybe 250 or so.

I’ve done them in libraries and bookstores. At conventions and universities. I’ve done them in at least seven different countries.

I’ve done events where three people showed up (two of whom were friends) and I’ve done events where 900 people showed up.

And honestly? I’ve enjoyed them all. Big or small. Cosy or Chaotic. I really like getting together with my readers and hanging out. Because the vast, vast majority of my readers are genuinely cool people.

Every event has something that makes it unique. Some reader that was exceptionally kind, or a venue that was exceptionally cool, or a question that was particularly fun or insightful. Many times it’s all three of these.

And every time something like this happens, I think to myself, “I’m going to have to tell folks about this on my blog…”

But I rarely do. What usually happens is that after the signing, I’m exhausted. Then the next day, I’m either traveling, or segueing straight into a convention. Then after that I have to catch up on my e-mail and sleep and spend some time with my boy….

And by the time I’m caught up again, it’s usually been several days and I’m tangled up in another project, doing writing, or otherwise busy.

But last night I had another signing in Kansas at Mysteryscape, and some fun things happened, and I had a few spare hours today before ConQuesT kicks off, so I’ve decided to share a couple stories…

*     *     *

The first of these stories isn’t from last night though. It’s from earlier this month in Little Rock, when I did a reading at Heifer International’s headquarters.

After a couple hours of signing, a pair of young women came to the front of the line. They said, “We knew we couldn’t match wits with you, so we decided to match beards instead.”

Then they pulled out beards they had knitted, and put them on.



Here we all are, stroking our respective beards thoughtfully…

They were even kind enough to give me one of the beards as a gift, so I could take it home and give it to Oot.


I honestly don’t know what to make of his expression here. He looks a little dolorous, which is only appropriate for a dwarf, I guess. Sarah, who took the picture, assured me that he thought it was really cool.

I think we’re going to be wearing that a lot this upcoming winter….

The second story is a familiar theme  with an unexpected twist….

One of the things I hear a lot from people is how they found my book, or how they’ve shared it with other people.

This always warms my bitter old heart, not just because I like selling more books, (though I do) but because reccomending a book to a friend is one of the most sincere forms of flattery there is. If you read someone I wrote and like it enough to tell a friend, that means I’ve done something right. That means more to me than any sort of professional review….

So last night, someone got to the front of the line and they didn’t just tell me how word of my book had been spread around their circle of friends, they *showed* me…..


Nobody’s ever done this before…. and it was really cool to see how one person liking a book and talking about it can start a sort of avalanche. And it’s also fun to notice things like the fact that everyone seems to have teamed up on Timothy over on the left side there….

Even cooler was the fact that these folks showed up en mass and we all got to do a picture together. Here’s the one where I said, “Let’s do Crazy Eyes.”


You should really click this to embiggen it, if for no other reason than to see the little girl sitting next to me. She’s *into* it.

Lastly, some lovely folks noticed a facebook post a while back where I commented on how I liked some photgraphy tricks people were doing.

So they came out and helped me do some of my own….


I lost a little power because my heel came up, but generally speaking, I think this is pretty good for my first Hadouken.

force choke

The force choke comes at little more naturally to me. I worry what that might signify….

That’s all for now, folks.


P.S. I haven’t had time to write up a properly detailed blog about our kickstarter yet. But I thought I’d put a link up here now, as the limited edition decks are selling out pretty fast….


This entry was posted in fan coolness, Tales from the Con. By Pat36 Responses


  1. calihanna
    Posted May 26, 2013 at 12:50 AM | Permalink

    Waiting for Rocky Horror Show to start atPhx Comicon. Perfect timing for a new post. Thank you and have fun at your con!

  2. Fascinatedbymagic
    Posted May 26, 2013 at 6:43 AM | Permalink

    I got to meet you at Conquest 44 in Kansas last night, and your every bit as fun in real life as I’d thought you’d be. I’m the guy that gave you the bone ring, and it was an honor to get to meet you. The furthest I’ve gotten someone to read your books is a friend of mine that lives in Canada. She and another friend were visiting from Saskatoon, and as they were leaving she lemented that she didn’t have anything to do on the 1,200 mile ride back. So I let her have the copy of Name of the Wind that I had at the time. She loved your story enough that when Wise Man’s Fear was released she went and bought a copy.

  3. Tina
    Posted May 26, 2013 at 7:05 AM | Permalink

    I can’t quite remember how I came by your books, but after I read them and reviewed them on Goodreads (which links to my Facebook, a great help in spreading the word!), about half of my friends decided they wanted to read it as well (some already have). Including my brother, who hasn’t read anything since the third Harry Potter book!

  4. Posted May 26, 2013 at 7:13 AM | Permalink

    absolutely love those photos. love.

  5. RuWo
    Posted May 26, 2013 at 7:30 AM | Permalink

    It was like playing Tarot with me and your books. I just got into a bookshop and picked a random book – yours. The odds were with me. Though it was the second book and i didn’t noticed it until i started …

  6. kvhchem
    Posted May 26, 2013 at 9:17 AM | Permalink

    But Gandalf, hobbitses don’t have beards….

    • RuWo
      Posted May 26, 2013 at 11:04 AM | Permalink

      Hobbistes have them on their feets, ya know.

  7. firebird
    Posted May 26, 2013 at 11:33 AM | Permalink

    Dude Oot is the cutest. Reminds me of my son.

  8. Berrystorm
    Posted May 26, 2013 at 12:04 PM | Permalink

    Still waiting for you to come to Norway, Pat! Doesn’t matter which city, just get here!

  9. Amanda
    Posted May 26, 2013 at 12:21 PM | Permalink

    I’m quite fond of the typo in here: “If you read someone I wrote and like it enough to tell a friend…”

    I think I’ll leave it :)

  10. maine character
    Posted May 26, 2013 at 2:22 PM | Permalink

    I can totally see those knitted beards catching on with northern kids.

    And is that your drawer-shaped-like-a-book on the table? It’s awesome.

  11. Emily Krix
    Posted May 26, 2013 at 2:32 PM | Permalink

    This is not a request for you to come to my city. It is a promise that if you ever come to Atlanta’s Dragon*Con for a signing, I will make you Something and bring it to you. I’m fairly certain you will like it.

  12. MaddieV
    Posted May 26, 2013 at 4:57 PM | Permalink

    Oh….oh my god…. That’s my sister and I in the beards!!! Thank you so much Pat! Faith actually made them, but she’s going to be so thrilled to see this. I’m so glad Oot likes the beard.

    • JeremyM
      Posted May 28, 2013 at 3:37 PM | Permalink

      Knitted Beards = Awesome! Your sister did a fantastic job and all three of you rocked your respective beards like a boss!! (I don’t know what that means, but I’ve heard the cool kids say it.)

  13. Tinuviel
    Posted May 26, 2013 at 5:04 PM | Permalink

    He looks so cute pat! I’m glad he liked it! Thanks for posting a picture of it, it made my bad weekend a great one!
    Faith, ( beard maker, hat maker)

  14. Tait
    Posted May 26, 2013 at 5:06 PM | Permalink

    I don’t know Oot, but I don’t think his expression looks especially sad. So I would have to disagree with Pat here.

    I thinks he looks….


  15. Posted May 26, 2013 at 7:02 PM | Permalink

    This was a fun post! Two things in particular stood out for me.

    First, since I’m a super super geek (yes, that’s supposed to have two supers. it deserves them) when it comes to analyzing social dynamics and the memetic dissemination of information/material – y’know, and other thrilling things like that – the “family tree” for your book grabbed my interest. Looking at it (presuming I’m interpreting the schema correctly), it seems that each of the two “big waves” right after the initial interpersonal transmission from April to Matthew and Adam are the result of just ONE person spreading the book to a whole bunch of others. In the first big wave, this doesn’t stand out so much – hey, good for Adam. But the second really suggests something interesting. Because out of the six people “descended” from Adam, only one – Amanda – passes the book on. And with tremendous success, at that – her “descendants” stand nine strong, if we let her share the besieged Timothy with Adam and don’t ding her for the assist on Mike from Debbie. Following this, the model – certainly at least my ability to read it with confidence – breaks down somewhat, assuming a different shape. With the comparatively modest case of Jason (again, assuming I’m still reading this right) aside, all following transmission of the book/meme is just one person to another – no more branches. Growth has become (at least at the sample point) linear rather than exponential, and furthermore the rate of that growth is declining as persons “drop out of the gene pool” by not passing the book/meme on at all.

    So, some suggestive indications (not conclusions, of course – the data are far too sparse to allow for anything like that) can thus be drawn. Namely, that success – especially longer-term success – in this form of memetic transmission is highly dependent on statistically atypical unusually social and influential persons. What the buzzword people like to call “tastemakers”, or the like. Imagine if instead Matthew and Adam being April’s initial two “descendants”, it had been Matthew and Eric. Neither of them passed the book on at all, meaning that this family tree would have dead-ended with three members, rather than the quite impressive (go Team April!) twenty-seven it boasts on the chart. And if the “family” charted here isn’t to wither out and die as a result of the declining growth rate noted (which would inevitably eventually decline all the way to zero following current trends – ceteris paribus, naturally), it is dependent on the introduction of “tastemaker” induced blooms of growth that bring in multiple other persons. Perhaps a single highly effective individual like Adam or Amanda, or multiple branches of the tree producing smaller blooms of growth like Jason, which may cumulatively produce as many or more new members. Which of those models in cases of at least comparatively successful/long-term memetic growth/dissemination is more common, as well as which may be more effective on average in perpetuating same might be interesting questions to pursue were more data available. But alas, they are not.

    Probably just as well, honestly. Even for a geeky comment section on a geeky SF/F writer’s blog, that was pretty damn geeky, I expect.

    So, if anyone can still remember, I said there were TWO things I particularly liked in this post. Don’t be frightened, this one is shorter and has many fewer of those extra syllables that make me sound pretentious.

    Basically, I just absolutely LOVED the “let’s make crazy eyes!” photo. Because while basically everybody else (possibly excepting the clearly enthused little girl you mentioned) gave the camera eyes that said “ha ha, oh it’s silly photo time! guess I’ll put a silly face on now or something!”… well you sir, you COMMITTED. You gave that camera a soul-chilling stare that did NOT say “silly photo time!”. It said “I HAVE BEEN IN YOUR HOUSE WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING. I LIKE YOUR HAIR. IT SMELLS LIKE YOU WILL BE MY NEXT NEW WIFE SOON.” Your eyes say things in that photo that would get an inmate’s writing implements confiscated, and possibly burned and buried at the crossroads. Now THOSE are crazy eyes. Respect, man. Respect.

    • Treggar
      Posted May 28, 2013 at 10:30 AM | Permalink

      We didn’t quite get input from everyone we know. There’s another branch that grew out of John that we found out after the event. And we got a couple more readers BECAUSE of the event. So, still growing.

      A different approach to your analysis could be this:
      We all live on “social islands” and generally have 2 or 3 islands that match different parts of our interests. In the interest realm of fantasy books, you’re seeing the whole of this particular island. Some few are bridges into other islands but since I’m not part of those islands I can’t see the effects of spread on that island.

      So, instead of a typical biological growth pattern of “parent to child” it’s a social growth that jumps from island to island.

  16. Luna~tic
    Posted May 26, 2013 at 7:22 PM | Permalink

    Pat, have you ever wondered about,” those fokes in Alabama”?
    We sure do got a pretty place down here, if’in youins was to come visit.
    Okay, now that I slaughtered the English language, it would be great news to hear that you would come for a signing.
    Perhaps a family vacation!
    Ever wonder what happens to lost luggage ? Lol, it ends up for sale in a store about 2 hours south of Chattanooga Tennessee. Right along the Tennessee River, near Lake Guntersville Alabama.
    That was not much of an advertisement was it?
    Seriously, you are a wonderful author and we would love to be one of your funny stories on your blog sometime. ( We are an amusing bunch, with all that southern hospitality and all)
    Maybe one day, you will have a reason to be in our area and I just want to say,
    ” Stop by and spend some time, share a big ole glass of sweet tea with us”
    Until then, see you on the kickstarter!

  17. Jody K
    Posted May 26, 2013 at 8:20 PM | Permalink

    Oot wins the cuteness of the century award, or I’m a bearded gnome!!!

  18. XXmort
    Posted May 27, 2013 at 7:36 AM | Permalink

    I got to see you at Tucson, during the book festival we had this year. I work a graveyard shift but I managed to drag my butt out of bed after about 3 hours of sleep, ecstatic to see this author I freaking adore, fantasizing about the witty conversations I might strike up, the amazing photo I might take, the fact that I might just get to hug the supremely awesome Mr. Rothfus…

    My friend agreed to come with me to get my moms books signed since she’s handicapped and couldn’t come on her own (speaking of book chains, she got me hooked on you, as well as her entire book club. I’ve gotten almost all of the old angry guys I work with into you and almost all of them have at one point listened to your book on audiobook while working our manual labor job) and I didn’t know if there was a one book limit… I mean, I was expecting to have to fight my way through a crowd, smashing the weak and destroying all in my way if necessary…which I was more than willing to do.

    So we slowly wandered around the whole pavilion searching for you as I plotted out the awesome opening phrase I would use and how I would totally be amazing and intelligent and you’d be like “Dude, you’re amazing and intelligent, you should be my sidekick!” and maybe I could get myself a giant spandex suit with a P on it… and then I saw you and went completely blank and my social anxiety kicked in full force and I kinda panicked.. I think I managed to mutter something about liking your book quietly under my breath and you took a photo with me and hugged me which was really sweet because you insisted we do a second one when you blinked, even though your leg was injured.

    Anyway, obviously I didn’t make the awesome impression I wanted (and I’m pretty sure Sam Sykes thought I hated him, I swear I don’t! I just have an angry default face when I’m nervous! I would have said hi to him but my little geek brain was overheating at rapid speeds), but it was still fantastic to get to see you there and watch you at the last panel. You have my utmost respect for your skill at writing, but even more so for the work you do with worldbuilders (which I’ve donated to every year and always try and force everyone I know to help out with) and even even more so because you just seem like a really nice fantastically cool and down to earth person…

    Anyway, not sure what all the point of this was..I guess I just wanted to say thanks for going out and doing all the signings and getting to meet your fans. It was awesome to get to see you this year and maybe next year I’ll wear my spandex P suit and that’ll will give me an easy way to actually start a conversation ^__^

  19. ethos2
    Posted May 27, 2013 at 9:23 AM | Permalink

    It’s so refreshing to see an Author who has so much fun with their fans!!! It’s great to see you actually interacting with the fans. Sometimes when people create a master piece like you have and become so popular, they shy away from fans and become to big for their fan base. I so enjoyed seeing your pictures and also sharing your spoils with the family!!! Awesome man, I just can’t wait for what’s to come from you!!!

  20. Posted May 27, 2013 at 10:02 AM | Permalink

    I like the photography of the choke and hadouken… We (the UWC swim team) tried it out one friday afternoon. We all jumped backwards into the pool. There were about 50 of us, so it took us through 35 epic fails until our coaches managed to get a satisfactory photo.
    I wish I could have been at one of the book signings… I couldn’t come because I’d have to hitch a 12-14 hr plane ride on a school night to get there… But all I have to say to that is you should come to SIngapore some time! That would beso awesome. I would be all over the place. I found the Name of the WInd at a book sale, picked it up, looked at the cover, read the blurb, and thought, yeah, this sounds like a good read. I underestimated it. All the time whilst we were driving through sulphur smelling Rotorua or passing the countryside of New Zealand/Middle earth during the winter break, I had my eyes glued to the page and I was annoying my dad, mom and sister by telling them, Oh MY GOSH! This is so amazing, I cant believe it, it’s sooo good! The first week I was back at school, I recommended it to all my friends. “Oh, I read this book over the winter break, it’s called the name of the wind by Patrick Rothfuss, you NEED to read it!!!”

    I think it’s really awesome that you choose to go and do book signings for your fans and all that, it’s really great. I know you don’t know me, but I’m one of your goodreads friends, and I HOPe to be able to see you at a future book signing!


  21. dave_b93
    Posted May 27, 2013 at 10:45 AM | Permalink

    You may have accidentally outed Oot’s name. check the image name.

    • Amanda
      Posted May 28, 2013 at 9:40 AM | Permalink

      Thanks, Dave. Fixed :)

  22. inobscuritysembrace
    Posted May 27, 2013 at 1:39 PM | Permalink

    This was a fun post. I haven’t made it to a signing yet, but I want to. Th problem is that going to college in the American southwest doesn’t lend itself well to Pat’s general travel pattern.

    Oh, also, Joss Whedon has a twitter now. I think that means you should have a twitter now, too.

  23. Philbert
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 4:02 AM | Permalink

    It’s funny how the little girl is the scariest person in the picture. Sitting next to you, that’s saying something.

    @dave: it wasn’t really a secret that Oot’s name is ‘Rothfuss’. I’m pretty sure ‘beards’ isn’t his real first name. Just another new nickname.

    • plut8
      Posted May 28, 2013 at 5:31 AM | Permalink

      Dave was right, the image name has been changed. I saw the image titled with Oot’s real name (of which I will not disclose)before the change.

      • Amanda
        Posted May 28, 2013 at 9:41 AM | Permalink

        Yup – it got fixed.

  24. Little My
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 4:50 AM | Permalink

    I was just reading in the New York Times about this project to build a medieval castle in the US, by traditional methods, that has run out of steam (and investors. . .) and now they’re selling it. The realtor said he was stumped about where/how to advertise it. Seemed to me that he should target a convention or two. Definitely the fantasy fan base!

  25. Adam Paul
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 9:32 PM | Permalink

    The deck looks cool, but does it come with rules for Corners?

    • pacifist
      Posted May 30, 2013 at 8:34 AM | Permalink

      From what I gathered from reading the books, Corners shows striking similarities to the cardgame “bridge” you could start there :)

  26. EloquentRune
    Posted May 29, 2013 at 9:29 PM | Permalink

    Thank you so much for having a signing at the bookstore in Kansas. Meeting you was truly a pleasure and I am still super excited you signed the page with my favorite quote.

  27. cynditefft
    Posted May 30, 2013 at 10:26 AM | Permalink

    The chart of how your readers spread the love of your books and then the pic of them all together with you is pure awesomesauce. What an incredible feeling that must have been. Thanks for sharing!

  28. swissfam
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 10:58 AM | Permalink

    Am I the only one who thinks Oot looks like Markl from Howl’s Moving Castle?

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