Before I started blogging, I didn’t pay any attention to author events or consider the possibility that I could interact with authors online. Since I started blogging, I’ve had so many fantastic author interactions, I don’t even know where to start. For this post, I’ll focus on in-person interactions and throw in some tips for having great author interactions as I go.
In my experience, most authors are really funny people. My first author interaction was having a book signed by Meg Cabot after a talk. I got there quite early for the talk, but it turned out that what mattered for getting your book signed was who got in line first after the talk. This leads to Tip #1: find out in advance how book signings will work. One of my favorite author talks was by Maggie Stiefvater at Oblong Books, where they do hand out tickets grouping people so that those who arrive first get their books signed. Even among funny authors, Maggie stands out as the one with the best stories – probably because she’s been everything from an artist to a race car driver to someone raising long-haired fainting goats. Yep, she had some stories to tell!
I’ve also had some great experiences at bigger author events. These are a great opportunity to meet a lot of authors at once. Tip #2: Google search for book fairs and book conferences near you. This list is a good place to start. They’re also a great opportunity to meet other book bloggers, since meeting a bunch of authors makes it worthwhile to drive a bit further. So, Tip #3: If you’re going to a conference, let other bloggers know. Who knows who you might be able to meet up with? Some of my best bookish experiences lately include meeting Rebecca from Love At First Book at ALA Midwinter and meeting Kelly from The Well-Read Redhead at the Rochester Teen Book Festival. I’m terrible at remembering to take photos, which leads me to Tip #4: Either suck it up and take pictures yourself or go with someone willing to share theirs. They’re nice to have Thanks Rebecca and Kelly!
Tip#6: have one genuine, specific, nice thing to say to each author
I’ll wrap up with two last pieces of advice. As I learned at Rochester Teen Book Festival, even if books will be on sale, if there’s a book you will die without, follow Tip #5: Buy books in advance. Make sure this is allowed, since some stores require you buy the book there. Finally, one of the best ways to have a good interaction with an author is to think advance what you want to say to them. My best conversations have happened when I (Tip #6) have one genuine, specific, nice thing to say to each author. If you haven’t read their book, you can always talk about why you think their book will be awesome.