For years, my dream has been to publish a book and have an author event at my amazing local mystery bookstore, Once Upon a Crime.
Now, that dream is coming true.
My goal is to hang with my family and friends and drink wine and eat good food as a way to stop and celebrate my publishing journey. Selling and signing books at the store is a bonus—it’s the gravy.
Because I’ve thought long and hard about this and book signings aren’t really held for authors to sell and sign books. That’s not the point. And any really smart book publicist will tell you that unless you are a household name like Stephen King, you don't do author events to make money.
What you do, however, is give readers a chance to connect with you on a personal level.
That's why I go to author events. I want to meet the author in person, maybe get a sense of their personality, get to feel like I know them a little.
And yet some authors don’t quite get that.
Or maybe they just forget. Or maybe, they are so uncomfortable around people they find it torture. Any of those reasons could be why I’ve had some bad experiences with authors at these events.
For instance, I’ve attended one signing where the famous mystery author berated and scolded the crowd, even going so far as to dismiss a question my friend asked, saying “Does anyone else have a REAL question?”
In another case, an author I interact with frequently on Twitter acted like signing his book was a big pain in the butt. He was either so stressed or harried, he hurriedly scribbled his signature, and turned to the next person in line like it was an assembly line he couldn't get through fast enough.
I don't get it. Readers have made time in their day and spent good money to buy the author's book and in return are treated like ... well, like they are a bother.
Compare that to another local author I interacted with on Facebook a few times. When I saw her at a table at a local book conference, I made a beeline to meet her in person.
Before I even got to her table, she had greeted me by name.
In all three cases, I bought the author’s books. But when it comes to buying their next book, I might hesitate based on the impression the first two made.
And don’t get me wrong, I don't expect every author to remember faces and names of everyone they interact with on social media. That's not realistic.
But I think the two authors above who gave the impression (whether they intended to or not) that they could care less about their readers, are losing track of just what an author appearance/event is about.
Would you stop buying a favorite author’s books if they were not as “personable” as you would have hoped?