Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Don't be afraid of your readers

I had just finished another enjoyable store appearance at Dymocks Parramatta on December 6, and was talking to the co-owner, when he said something fascinating, to the effect of that I seemed to have the hang of talking to people about books, whereas too many authors are afraid of readers.
Now this store has regular author appearances, so he was obviously speaking from experience, but nevertheless I found it intriguing.
I mean, surely authors love readers?
I have been averaging three store appearances a month for a while now, where I'm just out the front of a book store, chatting to people walking past, starting a conversation and then selling a few books. With The Risen Queen out in about a week's time, I have increased that and will be going crazy in the last few days before Christmas!
Over two hours I'm averaging about 20 sales, although speaking to more than 50 people in that time. It's great to talk to these people, to hear what they like to read - and an honour when they decide to buy The Wounded Guardian.
Even if people don't like fantasy, or don't like the idea of The Wounded Guardian, they have wished me all the best, congratulated me on getting published and generally been lovely to speak to.
But, on reflection, it is confronting.
I have got past the hesitation, the trepidation at hailing random passersby and talking to them about my book.
But I can see how some people would be reluctant to put themselves out there like that.
You are going to get knockbacks. You are going to get sneers and snorts of derision - particularly if you ask tattooed teenage boys if they like reading.
Still, if there is one thing I have learned from these appearances, from Newcastle to the Central Coast to Sydney, people LOVE reading and, even more, love talking to authors, even fantasy authors they have never heard of before.
Get past the initial barrier and you will be rewarded in spades.
Putting your book out there, putting yourself out there, is massively confronting.
But it is also massively energising.
There's no reason to be afraid of readers ... but every reason to embrace them.
To all those I have spoken to at various book stores, thank you.

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