Saturday, September 16, 2017

Introverted at the Book Signing?

Our topic this week is what can an introverted reader say to an author at a signing event (or other event but I tend to think first of signings)? I think my fellow SFF7 members have given great answers so I'm going to come at it from another angle.

I'm the introverted author! BUT when I'm at a public event I go into my 'retail mindset' by which I do NOT mean I'll come across like a TV infomercial and try to sell you All The Things. I'm there to meet you! Hopefully I'll find out what you like or don't like about my books, what you love to read, what you want more of, who are your other favorite authors (in my genre or others), what's been the best event so far at the conference, is this your first conference, whose autograph did you want the author, I want to make your time at the event happy, warm and comfortable. If you buy a book or two from me, that's lovely and cool, but I want to leave a good impression, so in the future if you see an book by me you'll smile and say, "Oh, yes, I met her".

I worked in retail during college for a major department store and I LOVED meeting the customers and trying to help them find what they needed. I'm a people pleaser by nature. So it's easy to talk to me (I think, hopefully I'm not overestimating my friendliness LOL.)

The first book signing I ever did was a gigantic Romance Writers of America event and as a total newbie with one book out at the time, I mostly sat and watched and learned from the more experienced authors around me. There was one lady I'll never forget - although sadly her name escapes me completely after all these years - who did a beautiful job of making each reader who stopped to see her feel special and appreciated. She posed for pictures, she wrote special dedications, she signed bunches of books. She focused completely in the moment on whoever she was talking with and seemed to genuinely be enjoying herself immensely. That's the role model I decided to adopt.

So let me finish with another true story from that first book signing. My favorite author in the world is Nalini Singh. She was there. I must have walked by her table ten times, but was too shy to approach her. I mean, the mere idea was TERRIFYING. I was afraid of being tongue tied and completely inarticulate. She was even all alone at one point, which if you've been to an event where Nalini signs, that never happens. And still I couldn't make myself go any closer. I regretted that and regretted that.

So the next conference I was at where she also attended, I MADE myself go talk to her and she is the sweetest person, so easy to talk to, so gracious and...yup, those few moments with my favorite author in the entire world were the highlight of the conference. And even though I read all my books on the kindle these days I'd never give up my signed hardback copy with her lovely note.