Are you in introvert? Like to keep to yourself? Quiet and reserved? If you are, some people would say you have no business attending an author event as an author. However, I think the very nature of being an author is comfort with ourselves. Our imagination is our friend. The computer is our playground. Silence we adore. We can be alone.
But attending an author event means putting aside those introverted ways. For some authors, that’s hard. Face-to-face rejection hurts more than a Goodreads review about tacos (when they aren’t even mentioned in your book).
What if no one comes to your table?
What if you can’t think of anything to say?
What if you fall into your books and they scatter to the floor and you bend over to pick them up, only to rip your jeans in front of the crowd?
What if, what if…
Stop asking yourself the questions and go for it.
Here are my tips:
- Paste on a smile: No one will come to a grumpy faced author. If your “resting bitch face” isn’t pretty, work on it, but paste that beauty on.
- People walking by: “Oh, I like your bag.” Sure fire way to get someone to at least smile back at you as they walk on by. “Can I help you?” That lost looking person might be looking for you.
- The line in front of your table for another author, blocking yours: Come around your table. Handful of bookmarks. Pass those out! “While you’re waiting in line, here’s a bookmark from me.” Subtly point to your table. It works.
- Don’t be on your phone: Or if you are caught, mention that you are posting about the event, and show the reader! They want to see your enthusiasm as well.
- Tell people about your books: This is difficult. We don’t want to brag (as an introvert), but it’s hard to contain the enthusiasm. You are proud of you, and you should be. But don’t give away the whole story line…or the reader won’t need the book. Quick, one or two sentences about your books is good. Small town, sweet and sexy. Rock star romance. MMA chaos. A story for the over forty. Boom. Sold.
I’ll openly admit, I’m not a step-right-up-and-grab-a-book person. I’m not going to call out to people, but a smile might be enough to draw someone over. I stand…the whole time. I don’t want to look up at people. I don’t want them looking down at me. I want to be level, and pleasant. I don’t eat meals, either. The moment you take that bite, someone is coming for you. Now you have sandwich in your teeth or you are choking in attempts to eat faster. I eat a bigger breakfast and nibble snacks, if provided.
Small talk is hard. It is. But remember you are at the event for a common interest: love of books.
“Who are you excited to see today?”
“How many authors are you planning to visit?”
“Do you live in the area?”
Sometimes I even interject with my table-mates and to help sell her books: “Oh I loved that book.” “So good!”
I avoid the weather because that’s all my mother talks about…but if that is a comfort question for you, go for it.
Simple questions. Most readers are only going to be near you for a few minutes at most. They have other authors to meet. You have other readers to address.
Worse case, it’s only a few hours and you can hide in your room after it’s over. I guarantee you’ll want a nap or a drink. Either way, being at an event can be very rewarding. People are there to see you. They want to hug you. They want a picture. If nothing else, this is home, because everyone there loves books. You aren’t really alone. You are among family.
Get to that event. Smile. Be friendly. Enjoy.