- Have you ever met one of your favorite authors? Gotten their autograph?
- How about an author you felt only so-so about, but got their autograph anyway? Like, say, at a book-signing a friend dragged you to?
- How about stumbling across a book signing or reading and being so captivated, you bought the book?
I know this must sound strange, but I have always felt funny about getting an author’s autograph. I just feel awkward about it. Then I always wrestle with what to say. And I don’t want to stand in a long line. I’ve only gotten one author’s autograph, and that was Elisabeth Elliot’s. I’ve read most of her books and heard her speak at least a couple of times. One of those times I did stand in line to get her autograph. As she took my book and I glanced at the table stacked with her books, I said, “How do you find time to write all those books?” (How lame is that?) She said, “You don’t find time; you make time.” And that was my big moment with Elisabeth Elliot. 🙂
Our local Christian bookstore has fairly frequent author events, from panel discussions with Q&A afterward to book signings. So at those events I have heard speak Terri Blackstock, Beverly Lewis, Karen Kingsbury, Tracie Peterson, Ted Dekker, Lisa Welchel, and a few more I’m forgetting. Those events were a lot of fun and I enjoyed hearing and seeing the authors, but I’ve never mustered the courage to stand in line and meet them. I always wrestle with what to say. “I really liked your book” sounds so lame, though I imagine authors love to hear it. Then what do you say if you didn’t like it, or did but had a few “issues” with it? (Sometimes I think too much!) I do think a book signing with a line of people behind you is not the place to have an in-depth discussion, issues or not.
By the way, those events are great marketing tools (hint to bookstore owners. 🙂 ) I’ve gone to see an author I liked and ended up buying books by another author who was there that I had never heard of before.
Updated to add: I just remembered meeting one more! Bill Myers came to my son’s school to speak a few years back. My youngest son loved his Agent Dingeldorf series then and brought them to be autographed. Parents were invited to the event but I think I may have been the only one to come. I came into the auditorium early and sat in the back to be out of the way when students came in. He came in and chatted here and there with people who came in, and he came back and asked me who I was. I answered “A parent.” (Duh. I am such a brilliant conversationalist!) We talked for just a few minutes, but I don’t remember about what. I enjoyed hearing his presentation to the students.
Other than that the only author I’ve “met” was one just inside Barnes and Noble trying to have a book signing, but no one was there. He was greeting people as they came in and telling generally what his book was about. That was really awkward! I kind of felt sorry for him. I don’t remember his name or his book. It probably would have been nice to have stopped and talked with him a bit, but I had planned to only dash in and out that day and my mind was on what I needed to do.
So….what would you say if you met a favorite author?