Wednesday, July 09, 2008

If you see an author strolling by...

I just left a comment over at The Super Librarian's blog in response to the news that this year, the RWA is asking people not to bring their own books to the Literacy Autographing for signing by an author. Like the Super Librarian, I see why they're making this request. I also understand why this would dismay some readers.

Alas, I won't be at the RWA conference this year. (Why do they persist in scheduling it during our long August weekend, ie. My Big Family Weekend At The Cottage? Why? Why??? But I digress.)

That didn't stop me from leaving a comment and suggestion on this subject, and then I thought, "Hey, here's a subject for today's blog."

Let's say you see your favorite author in the lobby of the hotel during the conference. She's walking across the lobby at a brisk pace.

A) squee like a fangirl, rush up and tell her at great length why you love her work?

B) Grab your friend's arm, whisper excitedly, then sidle up the author hoping to catch her eye as she waits for the elevator, and if you do, tell her how much you love her books?

C) Smile, seek her out at the autographing and tell her how much you love her books?

C) Stare?

The key element of the question above is the author's brisk pace.

You see, for many an author, the conference isn't a holiday where they have all the time in the world to do whatever they want. If an author's on her way to present a workshop or to meet with her agent or editor -- and this may be the only chance she gets all year to meet with them in person -- she may not really welcome an enthused fan gushing at length about her work. Not that she doesn't want to meet you. I've yet to meet an author who doesn't appreciate her readers. It's just that she's too distracted at that moment and thinking about the appointment she's supposed to keep. At the Literacy Autographing, or at a meal, or if she's sitting alone in the lobby or strolling through it, that's different.

Note I'm not saying don't approach an author at the conference. You might just as easily be making her day. But if you get that deer-in-the-headlights look, or she seems distracted, or you feel like you're getting the brush-off, just be aware that the author may have a meeting to attend or an appointment to keep.


Kimber Chin said...

You know... I barely recognized Stephen King. So unless that famous author is wearing a nametag...

Maureen McGowan said...

Yes, the brisk walk was a major clue to the correct answer ;-)

Or sunglasses indoors. That's another clue.

I've had some really nice chats with authors having no idea who they were at first... But I didn't stalk them. The only author I deliberately tried to stalk at RWA was Emily Giffen a few years ago, but she proved hard to stalk. Always walking briskly, or talking on her cell while facing a wall... All pretty strong "leave me alone" clues... Just never caught her at the right time. I suck as a stalker.

Margaret Moore said...

Ah, name tags. I vividly remember walking around New York City wearing mine, realizing I had it on and feeling like a complete doofus.