I have a feeling that this post might step on some toes. I’m hoping it doesn’t, but I can’t promise anything. Go into this post knowing that it is not my intent to do so. However, I have something I feel like I need to say and in a big way.
Dear Author(s): YOU are MY Celebrity.
Yes, You. The one who spent years wholed up in an office, or sitting on your bed, or in a Starbucks tapping on keys and pouring your heart out onto a page. You who have slashed scenes, killed off characters you adore, love and cherish. You who have learned about Social Media and platforms, workshops and conferences, queries and rejections. You are MY celebrity. I watch movies only when I really, REALLY want to see it, or if I loved the book it is based off of, so I could take or leave those movie actors. Most of the TV I watch is reality, and I’m so embarrassed for some of those “stars” that I truly could care less about meeting them. But YOU…the authors who write the worlds I love to live in and escape to for just a few hours on a regular basis. YOU are who I care to meet. YOU are MY celebrity. While I know this is a bit fan-girly of me to say out loud, I say it because I want you to know how much you are appreciated. How important you are to more than just me.
So, I say this with that in mind…Please realize that you are so much more than just a writer to your readers. I know that many authors do not feel comfortable in the spotlight. I’ve read many say that speaking engagements and public appearances are hard for them. I know that there are those who would rather just write and write and then write again in their favorite quiet and secluded writing world. But in this day and age, you can’t do that. This is the age of people connecting on 800 levels all at the same time at the tap of a finger on their phone. This world wants community and has shown we will find it one way or another. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Formspring, LinkedIn, etc., etc. We could keep writing that list for the entire blogpost I think, but why? We all know them, and most of us are members. If you’re a writer, a blogger, a publisher, or an agent, you spend a particular part of your day working on all of the many Social Media outlets you are a member of. Why? Because you have started to understand the importance of connecting with the people in your industry as well as your readers. Which brings me back to the point of this blog post.
Most of the authors I follow on Twitter and other social media outlets are extremely witty and warm. Their tweets keep me in stitches or make me feel like I’ve known them for years. Yes, I know I haven’t known most of them at all. So, when I go to an event, a book signing, a convention, or do an interview, and I finally get to meet them up close, I want to meet my celebrity. Because authors are my celebrities. I want to meet the person in the publicity picture used on their website, blog, or social media profile. The one where you look fancy and put on make-up and are not wearing your “Mom” jeans. You know the picture…the one you put a necklace and earrings on for…I’m expecting to meet that person. And I totally get that your style and my style will probably NOT be the same. I don’t expect it to and I don’t want it to be that way. I love that it is not that way. Truly, you probably wouldn’t want my style anyway. I’m quirky and change my fashion style every day and often enough that it could give someone else whiplash. But that’s me. I’m not going to change it for anyone, and I don’t want you to change who you are for anyone.
I do want authors out there to realize that, while you are doing something creative in the writing business, it is still a business. And while you don’t like to think of it like that, it doesn’t change the fact that it is a business. You play a role in that business-many roles to be frank. You have to write the book, get it exactly where you want it to be, and then hope that people love it and buy it. But it doesn’t stop there. You have to build your platform and connect with people, keep them interested in your books, and ultimately, in you as a writer. But it doesn’t stop there! You have to make appearances and talk about your books and you in front of people and still keep them interested in your books and YOU! While I don’t mean for those public events to sound like a business interview, in a sense that is exactly what it is. We, your readers, are your clients. Like any other business, we have the option to go somewhere else, to someone else’s books.
Maybe it’s not right. Maybe it gets you upset that it matters. I’m sorry about that, but the reality is…I get just a little fancier for you if I know I’m going to be meeting you, even if there is the CHANCE of a meeting. I want to feel like you did the same thing. Because I’m a business woman as well as a reader and reviewer. I’m probably not going to stop reading your books just because you decided to wear your “Mom” jeans or forgot to brush your hair…BUT I can promise you that I will talk and talk and talk about you and your books more if I feel like you put the same effort into meeting me.
Please know this is not a superficial thing. THIS is a business thing. You are an author, and you are the only person that is going to sell your books, and yourself (that sounds SOOO bad I know…), in the way you want to be remembered. So, before you head out to your next event, book signing, panel, convention (BEA is looming…)…remember that YOU are MY celebrity, and a million other readers as well.