Re: Book signing
Jim, I agree with the others that your imagined approach isn't viable. I also understand the frustration that leads one to consider things like this.
I think it is important to know that established writers do sometimes help aspiring ones, however. The mistake people usually make is to approach at the wrong time and in the wrong way.
Any contact must first be about them and a genuine interest in their work. Sometimes you can get a rewarding discussion going--valuable in itself. Occasionally they'll get curious about you and if that happens, it can mean they're willing to help. But it takes time and you will miss all the wonderful things the author has to offer in other ways if you fixate on what they can do for you.
Think aboiut what you can do for them (like have an interesting discussion, in person or in writing, if they're game) and then see what happens. Don't be in a hurrry, pushy or even mention that you're also a writer unless they ask. Forget about yourself.
They may still decline to become friendly, but they're just people.