I was at an event hosted by our local library the past weekend and I overheard an enlightening conversation between two librarians:
Librarian One: Did you get to meet all the authors you were hunting and get your books signed?
Librarian Two: Almost… I didn’t get books from _______.
Librarian One: Oh yea… I really wanted to meet her but I never found her.
Librarian Two: I don’t wonder why. She blew in like she was some kind of rock star, did a minimal signing and left again. I tried to talk to her when she was setting up but she was pretty unfriendly.
Librarian One: Well, dang. I’m glad I didn’t get a chance to get her books.
Librarian Two: Yea, I was going to buy three or four I don’t have, but now that I know what she’s like in real life I’m a not fan anymore. There’s too many other good authors to read that appreciate us… like ________! Did you meet him? I blew my book budget on everything he had. Can’t wait to review them!
I really don’t have to say much about this—the message is clear. An unfriendly writer lost two readers that day, minimum, and all the sales and reviews that may have come from it. And even worse? They weren’t just any readers, they were librarians, the most wonderful and influential readers of all. Every reader is a treasure, but librarians are professional readers and should be treated as such. I feel bad for what this author lost.
I do get it. Book signings can be overwhelming. Many authors are introverts, so our batteries tend to run dry from too much conversation. She could have been having an emergency, a bad day or her sugar was low. Regardless, the cold shoulder she gave her readers that day has already resulted in missed opportunity.
Just a reminder to us all that readers are what build us. We have to always treat them with appreciation regardless of how we feel. Yes, we go through a lot of hoops to do book signings, but so do they to come and support us.
It’s just the golden rule.