Armchair BEA 2014 – Author Interaction

Design by Amber of Shelf Notes
Design by Amber of Shelf Notes

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.


10 thoughts on “Armchair BEA 2014 – Author Interaction

  1. I don’t get to meet many authors face-to-face since not many tour through my area. However, I was fortunate enough to meet Neil Gaiman last year, and it was heavenly! I definitely would love to meet Sedaris, too. One day. One day.


    • Do you ever talk to your local bookstore to see if they would ask to be included on a book tour? Maybe not even the “big guns” but perhaps they could have local writers to do a little talk….?


    • I have Coraline to read too, and it was written because Gaiman wanted to write a “scary story” for his then 5 year old daughter Maddy (@maddyherself) and couldnt find a suitable book, so wrote one for her!


  2. I had tickets to see Sedaris last year in Chicago but then couldn’t go that night. I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about him. My friend and her teenage son went to see him (he’s the son’s favorite writer) and Sedaris spent a good amount of time talking with the son about his plans and dreams.


    • what a shame – do you have any authors who live local-ish to you (say <2 hour drive)? Perhaps someone can set up a group that can meet on a semi regular basis, so that you can support the local writers, and they can talk about their books?


  3. I haven’t been to an author signing in a while [tied up with graduate school]. It is always fun to get an author’s perspective on the book being promoted.

    Someone asked Valerie Boyd (at a Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston signing) if there were any questions that she didn’t like answering at book signings. She made a funny comment about someone asking exactly how much money she got with her book award prize.

    To this day, when someone asks me a question that I don’t want to answer, I’ll often mumble, “Don’t ask me about my Pulitzer Prize money.”


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