Armchair BEA Author Interactions


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.



Filed under Blogger Events

38 Responses to Armchair BEA Author Interactions

  1. Paper Obsessed

    Very interesting to read! I think the authors I have met have been through my work as a teacher when we have had visiting authors to school. I must get out there more!
    Paper Obsessed recently posted…Armchair BEA- An IntroductionMy Profile

  2. Ann @ Books on the Table

    Great post! I’m the events coordinator for an independent bookstore and have organized hundreds of author events over the years. One thing people should know is that the reason publishers send their authors on tour — and the reason people can attend these events at no charge — is book sales. I’ve hosted many events that were absolutely terrific with great attendance, and then sold only a few books. Guess what — the publisher is not going to be too anxious to send us another author after an event with low sales. Sometimes people tell me they’re going to go home and order the book from Amazon. I always say, “I hope you enjoy the author events that Amazon brings to your community!”
    Ann @ Books on the Table recently posted…10 War Novels for Memorial DayMy Profile

    • That’s a great point! I typically do buy my books at signings, either from bookstores or, at the Rochester Teen Book Festival, from Barnes and Nobles at the even since they donate some of the proceeds. However, at the most recent book festival, they ran out of a book I really wanted to pick up for my sister, so I think next time if there’s anything extra special like that, I will buy it in advance.

  3. Steph

    I used to work for a writing camp and before Maggie got really famous (around the time of Lament) she came to talk to the teenage authors — sadly I missed it that evening — I keep kicking myself about missing it :/

    Great Tips!
    Steph recently posted…Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway! — The Dragon’s Egg by H.B. BoltonMy Profile

  4. Lianne @

    Great tips! I’ve never been to an author signing event or anything and I always wondered what I would say to an author in such an event but Tip #6 makes sense, I will keep it in mind when I do :)

    Day 2 @ my blog
    Lianne @ recently posted…Armchair BEA: Author Interaction & More Than Just WordsMy Profile

    • Thanks Lianne! I think doing that has helped me. I still have the occasional awkward silence while I stare at the author signing my book, but if I have a question prepared or something specific and nice to say, it can often lead to a really great conversation instead :)

  5. Cierra @ Books Ahoy

    These are some really great tips! Thanks for stopping by my site :)
    Cierra @ Books Ahoy recently posted…Armchair BEA Day 2: Author InteractionMy Profile

  6. Andi @ Estella's Revenge

    Great tips! I love the spin you put on today’s topic!
    Andi @ Estella’s Revenge recently posted…Armchair BEA: Author InteractionMy Profile

  7. Emma @ Words And Peace

    same thing here, before book blogging, I would NEVER have thought it possible to communicate with an author actually. I love your tips! Another one could be to follow closely the websites of your local bookstores. Around Chicago, there are 3 bookstores who invite many writers every week! That’s where I met Debra Dean. I should definitely took more advantage of this, but sometimes with weather and late hours, not always easy for me, but it’s definitely out there
    Emma @ Words And Peace recently posted…Armchair BEA 2014: AUTHOR INTERACTION and MORE THAN JUST WORDSMy Profile

    • That is great advice! I’ve started following newsletters for most indie bookstores within 3 or 4 hours of me, because for a great author, I’d be willing to drive that far, but I didn’t think about putting that in the post.

  8. Shannon @ River City Reading

    I love these tips! I never really thought about going to an author event or signing before I started blogging either, but I can’t believe how many there are now that I know to look!

  9. Julie Merilatt

    Great advice! I’ve met dozens of authors and I still get all SQUEE fan girl excited. But they love meeting people who get excited about their work.
    Julie Merilatt recently posted…The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joel DickerMy Profile

    • Yeah, I definitely still fan girl every time I meet an author! And it’s so much fun to feel like you’ve done something for an author whose book you love by telling them how much you loved it :)

  10. Katie @ Words For Worms

    These are really great tips! If I ever get to meet an author in person (someday, hopefully!) I will remember these things! Love your pics with Rebecca and Kelly- adorable!
    Katie @ Words For Worms recently posted…Author Interactions: Top Five (Armchair BEA)My Profile

  11. Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy

    These are wonderful tips! The one I have the most trouble with of course is #6! Especially if I get too tongue-tied. *sigh* But I will be better and try to think of something to mention to them!
    Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy recently posted…Review: Doctor Who: The Bog WarriorMy Profile

  12. Léonicka (@leonicka)

    These are fantastic tips! I love author signings at bookstores! I missed an event once (the author was signing the day after I was leaving the city) so I went to the bookstore, paid for the book and left my name and a note for the author. The bookstore shipped my signed book in the mail! I was so happy :)

  13. Allison Bruning

    That’s a great post. I love to go to book signings and meet all my fans. It’s really great to interact with my readers.
    Allison Bruning recently posted…To Be #Shawnee: Band of Brothers: The #Kickapoo #NativeAmerican #historyMy Profile

  14. Monika @ Lovely Bookshelf

    Such great tips! I’ve never been to an author event, but if I ever get the chance, I’ll be referring back to this post. :)
    Monika @ Lovely Bookshelf recently posted…Review: The Unfinished Child by Theresa SheaMy Profile

  15. Ashley @ Closed the Cover

    Tip #5 is a great one. It’s never happened to me but my sister went to a signing once and spent so long in one to buy the book she missed meeting the author. So sad!

    • Yeah, I try to buy my books at events, but recently I was at an event where they ran out of a book before I could get a copy, so I might buy books I want the most in advance and still buy something else to support whoever is hosting the author.

  16. Aylee

    Oh man, I always try to do tip #6 and think of something to say to them before I go up to meet them, but sometimes I am just so starstruck and all I can manage is a mumbled thank you! Ack, for some reason I have so much trouble expressing my feelings of admiration for these authors I worship.
    Aylee recently posted…Top Ten Most Beautiful and Unique Bookshelves (AKA Bookshelf Porn)My Profile

  17. Ciska @ Ciska's Book Chest

    Great advice specially love your number 6. I always try to prepare myself but often find myself just mumbling something weird. When I met Neil Gaiman I just stared *oops*
    Ciska @ Ciska’s Book Chest recently posted…It’s Monday May 26th 2014! What are you reading?My Profile

  18. Jessica @ Notes of a Book Lover

    Great post!

    I’ve not had many in-person author interactions so your tips are really helpful!
    I really like tip #6: have one genuine, specific, nice thing to say to each author. I’ll remember this for future book events! :)
    Jessica @ Notes of a Book Lover recently posted…[Armchair BEA 2014] Expanding Blogging Horizons: My Journey from to WordPress.orgMy Profile

    • I think it’s probably the most important tip. I tend to get completely tongue-tied if I don’t have something to say planned in advance and it’s really heart-warming to feel like you’ve complemented the author in a way that let them know how much you appreciated their book.

  19. Kristen @ Pretty Little Pages

    These are some wonderful tips! I’m planning on attending some conventions next year, so these are a good start. Thank you!

    Kristen @ Pretty Little Pages

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