Although in-person book tours are becoming less common, many readers have attended a group book signing or made an effort to see their favorite writers in person. While I’ve found meeting an author face-to-face is normally a stellar experience, occasionally, I’ve been disappointed. On the other side of that coin, meeting an author who’s a wonderful person can impact my opinion of his or her writing.
Recently, I’ve met authors whose worked I liked but wasn’t over the moon about until I talked with them in person. Because they’re nice people—genuine and generous—I want to support their writing careers with my money. I’ll buy anything they write from now until the end of the world.
Unfortunately, personal interactions with authors aren’t always so positive. A few years ago at the National RWA (Romance Writers of America) conference I was standing in line for coffee behind a fairly prominent romantic suspense author. She was griping about the hotel, the conference, pretty much everything under the sun. I’m no Pollyanna, but I was totally taken aback at her attitude and the fact that she was spilling it in public like the Exxon Valdez dumping an oil slick. Although I’d been interested in reading her work, I decided then that I wouldn’t buy her books.
Another time, I was attending a group book signing and excited to meet a big-name contemporary romance author. When I approached her table, she appeared bored and harassed. She certainly wasn’t welcoming or enthusiastic to sign a book for me. I have no idea if she’d just encountered someone who dissed her work, had bad shrimp for lunch or simply hated book signings. Since, I have read a couple of her books, but am unable to get through one without reflecting on her behavior.
You may be thinking that many authors are introverts and possibly uncomfortable with the public side of authorship. Introverts are actually people who obtain their energy through more solitary pursuits (writing :-)) than contact with people. I get that. As outgoing as I am, I’m actually slightly on the introverted side of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator introvert-extrovert scale. That’s because I have to “recharge” by being alone after lots of interaction with others. Perhaps a better way to describe this type of author is reserved. But there’s a big difference between reserved and rude.
How do you think highly reserved authors should handle in-person reader contact—Avoid it? Fake it? Grin and bear it?
Have you ever stopped reading a writer’s work because of a less than stellar in-person encounter? Can a writer’s personality make you a fan even if you’re only lukewarm on her writing?
Kelsey’s debut book, Personal Assets, will be released by Carina Press August 26, 2013.