I’m often asked what readers want. When I question them I get, “A good book,” “Great characters I can identify with,” “Consistency in the story,” “A great escape,” “Authors to be nice when they meet me or at the very least polite.” This last one really gets me because it seem like such a common sense kind of thing. Just be nice.
But the other thing readers want is to meet authors. They absolutely go gaga over it. When I started my Reader Appreciation Luncheon a few years ago, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought people would be interested, but would they be willing to spend money to have lunch with authors?
The biggest surprise was in the emails I received from readers before the event. “What do I wear to meet an author?” “Can I talk to the author?” “Will the author sign my book?” Again, these things seem like common sense to me, but I have to remember I’ve been around it a while. It’s brand spanking new to many of these readers. We just don’t get a ton of authors visiting Milwaukee, especially all at one time.
My next luncheon isn’t until April 26, 2014, but I kept getting emails asking when tickets will go on sale. Well, the website went live at midnight. Since that time Debbie Macomber, Darynda Jones and Dianna Love’s tables have sold out. There’s only one seat left to sit with Susan Elizabeth Phillips. But there are over 40 other authors to choose from including Sylvia Day, Eileen Dreyer, Eloisa James, Gena Showalter, Elizabeth Hoyt, Sharon Sala and so many others you’ll just have to check the website.
The other assumption I had was that readers would only come from Milwaukee. Wrong. They come from almost every state, including Alaska. Lots from Canada and I’ve even had readers from the UK and Australia. What this tells me is that readers are willing to travel great distances for the chance to get up close and personal with their favorite authors.
I also had to remember that not everyone is online. So I’ll travel to libraries, senior centers, food stores and anywhere they’ll let me put out the fliers. I don’t want any reader left out.
In November I’ll be attending the Southern Magic Luncheon and in June the Heart of Dixie Luncheon. These events were my inspiration and only prove that readers are thirsty for this kind of get together.
Do you have an event like this in your area? Would you attend an author luncheon? Who would you choose to sit with (can be any author, anywhere)?
Bottom Line: “It’s all about the readers.” I think I’ll stitch that in a pillow…well, maybe not me stitching, but I’ll have someone else do it.