As many of you know, I attended Lori Foster's Annual Reader and Author Get Together with Madelyn and Rosalie. It was a blast. I had the opportunity to meet so many amazing people. I can't wait for next year.
Today's topic was sparked by a conversation I had the last night of the event. It was very interesting to discuss authors, the way they present themselves, how important it is to be professional when a fan approaches your table, and how annoyed readers become by certain behavior.
Since I always share what I've learned, I figured I'd do so here. Below were the top complaints from the readers I spoke with who attended the event.
1. Cell phones and laptops
I was mortified when I learned one reader stood in line to get a signature and the author used his/her cell phone the entire time, signed the books without looking up or greeting the reader, and shoved the book back when done. As a consequence, the reader informed me she would NEVER purchase another book from the author. Lesson? Put the phone down, smile, and greet your readers. They are there to meet you. It is possible to stay off your cellular device for two hours (the length of the signing).
2. Avoid the hard sell
Several readers said they avoided tables in which authors tried to sell their work. Why? They felt obligated to buy it. So when a reader approaches your table, smile, say hello, and answer questions. Informing them of the nature of your story when they haven't asked can be a turn off. They want to look at your work, see if it interests them, and move along if it doesn't. Interact with them, be gracious, and if they decide your work isn't for them say, "Thank your for stopping by," and let them continue to the next author.
No one will approach you if they think you're going to take their head off. When someone makes eye contact, smile, nod, and make it easy for them to come over and say hello. A blank expression, or a sour puss, won't do you any favors.
4. Talk, talk, talk!
If someone engages you in conversation (even if they don't buy your book), talk to them. Ask how they are enjoying things. Treat people like people. Trust me, they appreciate this.
5. Make a good impression
If someone approaches your table and tells you they enjoyed your book, thank them and chat. I had a few people who did this and I provided signed book plates and pamphlets. It's not about the money, it's about connecting with those who might give your work a try in the future.
I had so much fun this year, but I am very social and can talk to anyone. I think that's very important. People who haven't read your work will remember a nice author versus a lukewarm one. It's all about the connection you make with people. I truly believe if you treat those the way you want to be treated, they'll appreciate and respect it.
As for me, I'm trying to prepare for Authors After Dark. I'm nervous, as I've never attended before, but I hope it's just as much fun as Lori Foster's. Hopefully I'll see many of you there!
Now for that eye candy. My favorite -- Chris Evans. YUMMY!