This is a post as part of the Armchair BEA 2014 series, and this is about Author Interaction.
I was a reader a long time before I was a book blogger, so have attended many author events over the years. I’ve found that the book signings from the professional writers have been lovely and they make you feel they’re thankful that you turned up, brought their book and stood in the queue – even if it’s just saying “hello” to you when you get to the front of the queue. I find that the non-professional writers (e.g. the “celebs” signing their latest edition of their life story), havent mastered this art yet of engaging with their readers [with the exception of Henry Wrinkler who I met last week and was an absolute joy and delight – lovely man]
Back in the days when Terry Pratchett was able to publish (and then tour) a book every year, he did a signing at the bookshop round the corner from my office. I have an unusual name, he signed my book, and I was happy despite the long queue and wait. The following year, he was back in the same bookshop signing the next book (think it was Soul Music). I get to the front of the queue, he starts signing and then looks up asking “Haven’t I signed for you before?”. I was so happy! About 8 or 10 years later I was at another Pratchett signing – yes, I am a fan – but this time in another bookshop in another country. Same name but it didnt ring a bell for him, and he didnt peer at me that time.
I had read few Neil Gaiman books before I went to see him doing a read through and signing for “Wolves in the Walls“. I was fascinated not only with what a lovely reading voice he has, but the sheer fanaticism of his fans (especially women of any age who were rather disappointed when he then got married again).
The person I’ve not met but would love to is David Sederis. He is an essayist who also has an occasional show on the BBC Radio 4, where he reads his stories to an audience. I caught him first when listening to the late night broadcast, and made sure that when he had the early evening show I listened in. His stories of book signings are hilarious, but he has a little rule: he tries to say something unique to each person he signs a book for. I would love to hear a show, and then get a book signed, to see how we would interact.
Since I became a blogger and when I review a book, especially one from a little known author or publisher, I do my best to promote additional information about the author or the book – I’ll include them in the related tweets etc. Some of them pick up on the tweet, and many will thank me for reviewing the book and letting them know about it.
I also get quite a few pitch posts from both authors and publishers. Some have been fabulous to work with, and are happy when they see the work we’ve done together up on screen. Some have simply not paid attention to what I’ve told them (I cant download that from here….) that I often dont take them further.