A very good question. I've been to a small handful of book singing events and only 1 SK event...King just doesn't head to Seattle often
I sure wouldn't call myself an pro at it but I know the lay of the land (so to speak). Hopefully some other signing veterans will put in there two cents.
Each signing you go to will probably be slightly different, remember the event coordinators rules are law for the event.. follow the rules and you should be fine. Don't pay attention to them and you might not get your signed copy.... with that in mind:
#1) Check with the people holding the event - Multiple times
. I'd say check the website (or call if a website is not provided) the event holder once a week or so for any updates on the event. When you get down to the last 3-4 days check once per day. There can often be some change in procedure from the original annoucment to the signing.
#2) Be early and ready to wait
- Again you'll want to see how early the event folks recommend, but here's the thing...(Especially if it's your first signing and/or you're very exited about meeting the author). Chances are you'll be very exited and a bit nervous. Do yourself a favor and don't add to the nervousness by being the last guy in line and hoping your author sticks around long enough to sign your book...or that they run out of books before you get to the front of the line.
#3) Make friends with the people around you
- You're going to be standing next to these folks for some ammount of time, maybe under an hour maybe quite a few hours. Make it as fun as possible. The longest wait I've had was for a Bill Clinton signing. My wife and I took shifts, total wait time was around 8 hours
#4) You might start hearing rumors related to the signing
(The author won't be here untill X time, he's only singning X books, you need to go to X place, they won't let you in if you have a camera, etc). My best advice here is to just stay calm and don't get ansy about what you hear in line. I have yet to fail in getting a book signed if I followed steps 1 & 2, no matter what people were saying in line.
#5) Should/Can you bring a 2nd book to be signed?
- Well first of all refer back to rule #1, ask the event staff. If it's a yes then this is a no brainer. If it's a NO then it's realy up to you if you want lug one around just in case. I can't say I've ever been in a situation where I was told No but got to an event where I was actually able to get a 2nd copy signed. But then again I don't go to many singings, other people's experiences may differ.
#6) Should I bring a camera?
- Many venus won't allow them anyway, so back to rule #1 Personally I would say that IF you do make it one that you can carry in your pocket, or use your cell camera. For famous authors you're going to get all of 10-30 seconds with your author, Lugging that huge Canon DSLR around your neck with a couple lenses and flash kit is going to get very annoying, especially when the bouncer at the front of the line gets a look at you and says "no pics"
#7) HAVE FUN
- This may be the only time you get to meet said author. Enjoy the whole experience, even the waiting in line. It will be memorable