Author Interaction — Let’s talk interacting with authors IRL (in real life) or online.
I’ve been pretty lucky in this regard. We have a good book festival where I live, so I’ve been able to meet some favorite authors. I was also lucky enough to meet the very sweet and funny David Sedaris after a reading. He gave me a cupcake. But some of my more meaningful author connections have come from one of two places: Twitter and Crossroads Writers Conference.
Crossroads brings together writers (professional and amateur) as well as other literary authorities for a weekend of forums, discussions and get-togethers. Meeting people in this setting quickly allows for acquaintances to spring up and friendships to solidify (usually over a beer). I’ve had the best time at this conference, and was able to have meaningful discussions with Chris Baty (of NaNoWriMo fame), Delilah Dawson, David Iserson, Chuck Wendig and Lauren Morrill — to name a few. If you have a similar event near you, I highly recommend you go.
Twitter, on the other hand, doesn’t normally allow for face-to-face interactions, but it can create otherwise unlikely connections. After reviewing a book, I often look to see if the author is on Twitter and uses it actively. I also make sure to include their handle when I post my review. In same cases, though, I really love their book and nerd out on them a little bit. I’ve found that being genuine and polite when “approaching” the author is key. In a couple of cases, over time, I’ve become friends with some favorite authors. I mean, if a book (or series) really speaks to the reader, chances are decent that the reader and author share some of the same interests.
I would encourage readers to graciously reach out to authors, especially on Twitter. You just might find a new buddy.