Okay, this is too hilarious not to share. We’ve all heard the story of the author who followed the agent into the bathroom at a conference and slipped a manuscript under the agent’s stall. Well, at this year’s BEA conference a group of authors decided to take this one step lower.
Authors who are members of the Liars Club (a group that I’m a proud member of) thought they’d have some fun toilet papering the BEA bathrooms with rolls they had custom printed with their group’s logo and website. Also, napkins printed with the group’s info and clever pick up lines like “Is that a two-book deal in your pocket?” were slipped beneath cocktails and coffee cups at several BEA events.
Participating in the shenanigans were authors Kelly Simmons (Standing Still, and upcoming The Bird House, Washington Sq. Press), Merry Jones (Zoe Hayes mysteries including The Borrowed and Blue Murders, St. Martin’s Minotaur), Dennis Tafoya (Dope Thief, and upcoming Wolves of Fairmont Park, St. Martin’s Minotaur), and New York Times bestseller Jonathan Maberry (Dragon Factory, St. Martin’s, and upcoming Rot and Ruin, Simon & Schuster).
The Liars Club is a group of 13 authors who basically lie for a living, and who work together to share their work and their love of writing. “We thought this would be a hilarious way to get our group name out there,” said Simmons, the TP criminal mastermind. “Of course it didn’t work out exactly as we’d planned. First of all the lines to the women’s rooms were so long, that mostly we had to place the rolls in the men’s rooms. Women use more TP than men, so this bothered me from a marketing standpoint…”
“It all felt very cloak and dagger,” said Jones. “Napkin-wise, we ultimately voted on the Starbucks napkin stand as having the most traffic. We lingered a bit, trying to be cool, waiting until no one was around, then artfully fanned out the napkins there. But no one arrested us. Hey, we weren’t stealing, we were giving.”
“We got some interesting reactions,” said Tafoya. “One literary agent, seeing us taking pictures of the mayhem with the TP, said ‘Of all things to document, I can’t believe they are photographing the bathroom!’ I got the feeling he thought we were tourists.”
There was one particularly dicey moment when Simmons unwrapped a roll and shrieked “Oh no! It’s only one ply!” Mostly, though, their prank went well, and was taken in good stride, with some of the TP getting stuck to conference attendees’ shoes.
“The whole experience was a riot,” said Maberry. “Now we have to wonder how we’ll top this next year. Maybe Liars Club hairspray and mouthwash near the sinks?”