Armchair BEA Day 2: Author Interaction

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Today’s Prompt

Let’s talk interacting with authors IRL (in real life) or online. This is your opportunity to talk about your favorite author readings that you have attended. Or, you can feature your favorite author fan moment (i.e., an author sent you a tweet or commented on your blog). Maybe you even want to share how your interactions have changed since becoming a blogger or share your own tips that you have learned along the way when interacting with authors as a blogger. 

For a blogger, I don’t think I interact with authors all that much.  I have been to a total of two author events (not hosted by my college, which would add three more): one in 2012 and one just this year.  On social media, I am likewise not as interactive with authors as I notice many other bloggers are; some sound as if they’re practically besties with the authors they’re tweeting!

However, I do think I am more open to the idea of interacting with authors than I was before I began blogging.  Perhaps it’s a sense of authority; perhaps it’s just that I know more about the publishing industry and know that authors, though brilliantly creative and hardworking people, are still people—and they’re approachable.  From blogging, I have learned that authors like interacting with bloggers and with fans of all types, and that it’s totally okay to send them an email or a tweet telling them your love their work!  (Of course, I always knew that because, really, who doesn’t like being told that they’re awesome?  But seeing other fans have fun, positive interactions with authors really brings the message home and is a good reminder that your message will be welcome and valued.)

For those just starting to reach out to authors, I do have a few tips gained from my own limited experience, from observing others, and from reading authors’ blogs and other statements about how they like to interact with fans.

1.) Be brief where you can.  Authors, particularly very popular ones, get a lot of fan mail.  It’s okay to be effusive and tell them exactly how much you appreciate their work and to ask them any questions.  Just remember to be respectful of their time, and realize that no matter how much they want to, they may not be able to respond to every message.

2.)  Be positive.  You’re not going to like every book you read, and you’re not going to love every sentence or every scene of books that you do like.  Share that information with your friends, your family, and your blog followers.  Share it with the publisher if you were sent an ARC and asked to provide feedback.  Do not purposely bring your criticism to the attention of the author.  They know not everyone in the world loves their book, but it probably still hurts to be told directly that someone thinks they have no talent.  And, don’t worry, they have friends and editors and writing groups to help point out, constructively, where they can improve.

This guideline also applies to tweeting or otherwise sharing reviews on social media.  If the review is negative, please refrain from intentionally tagging the author.  If they read fan reviews, they might run across your thoughts anyway, on their own.  But there is no need to draw their attention to the fact that you dislike their work.  If you wouldn’t tell someone in person you think they can’t write (which you probably wouldn’t because it’s generally considered rude), don’t passive aggressively try to tell them the same thing by tagging them on Twitter.

3.)  If you’re planning on sending a lengthy email, read the author’s website.  Many authors have a brief list of guidelines for contacting them.  They may not strictly enforce them or send the email police after you if you don’t follow them, but reading though the website might save you both some time.  Check the FAQ section before asking a question they already answered and, if the website says specifically that they do not read manuscripts or do not do blog interviews, don’t ask them to do so.  Just as you expect authors to read your blog/review policy before emailing you, you should read an author’s policy.

4.)  Don’t be afraid!  As I explained in my post intro, authors are generally very open to speaking with their fans!  I have had authors ignore review links where I tagged them (probably authors who opt not to read fan reviews), but I have never had an author ignore a direct comment or question I sent to them over social media.  I have even received email responses from authors who warn on their websites that they may not have time to respond to every email.  So if you’ve always wanted to ask an author or question or just gush about their books to them, find their contact information and go ahead!

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12 thoughts on “Armchair BEA Day 2: Author Interaction

    • Briana says:

      I see bloggers on Twitter all the time lamenting the fact that no one reads their review policy (and I always feel the same when I get an email from someone who clearly hasn’t read ours!). it just makes sense to return the favor to authors and try to send them an informed email they would love to read.


    • Briana says:

      That’s true. Basically you only risk being ignored, and even then you can wonder if your message just got lost. No author’s going to reply to you being rude!


  1. katrinabookishthings says:

    Awesome advice! I agree about reading their FAQ. I always do. I like when they read my review policies so I need to do the same for them. I rarely tag authors in reviews. It just doesn’t cross my mind. I know many authors don’t read fan reviews.


    • Briana says:

      I don’t tag a lot of authors either. Occasionally if I really loved the book and I noticed authors seemed sort of open to reading fan reviews, I’ll tag them. I’ve also found it useful to put a positive quote from the review in the tweet with the tag, so the authors sort of know what they’d be getting into if they did read the review. No sitting and wondering if they’re about to open a link to a one star review.


  2. Stephanie H. says:

    Wonderful post. I have talked to some authors on Twitter, not many though. I don’t tag them when I post reviews or even express my love for their books. But I do see some on Twitter that tag authors for those things. I think I am still shy even online. But I do enjoy the author interactions that I have experienced.
    Great advice! I am glad that I stopped by and read your post!😀


  3. DoingDewey says:

    I’m still too nervous to e-mail authors and rarely tag them in review tweets, but I love going to author events and it always makes my day when an author thanks me for a positive review. I think the ease with which we can reach out to authors is definitely one of the coolest things about blogging🙂


  4. Jorie says:

    Hallo, Hallo!🙂

    I am a #cheerREADER on Team 4 w/ #ArmChairBEA!🙂 I was a bit surprised reading the comment ahead of mine by Doing Dewey as I did not realise she gets nervous emailing/tweeting authors!? Hmm,.. I must admit that is my absolute favourite part of being a book blogger and prior to blogging I was a bubbly commenter who visited a lot of author blogs! I get to resume those wanderings next month, as I’m not taking on as many commitments as I had in the past. Now, let me read your lovely post!

    I think it was lovely that you provided an FAQ & Guide for those who are just starting to interact with authors! I took the advice from someone dear to me who told me when tweeting to pretend the conversation is in progress & let it organically grow from there. Truly the best advice next to being vulnerable & open about bits of my personal life outside of my blog life. I approach authors with full respect always, but I also know they are just like we are and would enjoy a random & lovely conversation! The authors I have interacted with in the twitterverse are very approachable and as the book world is a small one, everyone tends to know everyone else at some point! This includes book bloggers like me who attend weekly chats, where the ice breaks & afterwards you find yourself talking to authors outside of events completely!

    I also like to tweet an author a link to my review, esp if I am on their blog tour, but also if I am off a tour, and either read the book through my library &/or have it from a gift or I purchased it myself. I love to blog about the books which soak into my heart & therefore, those are the authors I tend to seek out to talk too the most! I also use their book’s hashtags & help get a conversation going with other readers — it doesn’t always work, as sometimes readers just ‘tweet’ but other times I have had some wonderfully wicked convos!

    However we each approach our bookish life, we are each finding ways to celebrate the novels the authors give us to enjoy! And, that is the essence of what we’re doing during this event: celebrating the writers & the stories they create!🙂 If we can return a bit of that joy & gratitude to them, we’re all golden aces!

    #ArmChairBEA Intro


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