On Invading GRL Groups
by Erica Pike
J.P. Barnaby wrote an excellent blog post on August 19th on Prism Book Alliance where she said “Your authors are probably more afraid of you than you are of them.” She was encouraging readers to walk up to their favorite authors and say hi, even if the authors are already talking to a group of other people.
She couldn’t be more right. You’re the humans and we’re the spiders. We may seem intimidating and look like an ugly eight-legged species, but we’re usually more afraid of you than you are of us. Like spiders (at least the Icelandic ones) we won’t bite if you walk up to us and say hi. We’ll be flattered and happy that someone wants to talk to us.
J.P. also talked about how authors sometimes hang out in tight groups with other authors. This is to give us some semblance of security so we won’t stand alone in a corner and fiddle with our badge. See, most of us are either social phobic or introvert, even though we might not come off as such when we’re in the GRL high (I’ve been told I come off as very outgoing at GRL). Hanging out in groups doesn’t mean we don’t want to be approached. It’s just like how readers tend to hang out in groups, enjoying the security of having someone by their side.
Is your favorite author sitting on a couch with his/her nose buried in his/her phone? Interrupt! 99.99% of the time, that phone is a security device because the author feels silly about sitting there by him/herself doing nothing.
It’s much easier for me to walk up to another author and chat instead of a group of readers, possibly because I now know that authors are just as “normal” as other people. I sometimes want to invade a group of readers to talk, because they look like they’re having so much fun, but I don’t know how to, so I can very well put myself in the position of a reader afraid to approach a group of chatting authors. What am I afraid of? I’m afraid that the readers will put up blank faces when they read my name tag, so my attempt to chat will look like some lame promo endeavor. I’m afraid that I’ll be interrupting something important, because everyone is talking so animatedly, laughing and having so much fun. I wouldn’t want to ruin that. I’m social phobic, and although I’ve had treatment for it, it still always lurks underneath. Because of that, I’m afraid that once I start talking, I’ll say something stupid or clog up and look stupid. No one wants to look stupid! Be it authors or readers.
The point is that the two groups – readers and authors – are exactly the same. Authors are just people. We don’t look at ourselves in the mirror every day and say, “You’re a bestselling author – you’re on a higher tier than everyone else.” We’re very well aware that we’re on the exact same tier as everyone else. My daily life isn’t much different from anyone else’s. I just happened to write some books, because I love writing. The whole point of GRL is for readers and authors to get to know each other, and yet there’s this gap between us. I want to breach that gap – even if they aren’t MY readers.
Here’s my challenge for readers who really want to talk to their favorite authors, but are too afraid to: Write a list! Write down to whom you want to talk and a couple of questions or topics you’d want to talk to them about. It could be about a character you loved, your favorite scene in a book, questions about future books, insider information about a character (we all have those – not everything makes it into the books), why a character did this instead of that, etc. Or you could skip the book talk altogether and talk about the retreat. You could have the list in a small pocketbook you carry with you and glance at the questions before you approach the author. Don’t worry about the conversation ending up on an embarrassing note, because the author will most likely want to continue to talk to you. Be aware, though, that some of us have no idea how to take a compliment, so we might smile like idiots and say something like, “Awww, thank you!” However, most will try to shed their shyness and continue the conversation. You could write down questions for several authors in case you happen to see one. If the authors aren’t on the run into a conference room, they’ll probably have time to talk – or they’ll make time because meeting the readers and making new friends is what we’re there for.
Here’s my personal challenge: I’m going to “invade” a group of readers at least once during this year’s retreat. I want to be a part of the fun! I also have favorite authors I’d like to discuss with others and I like to hear about how people are experiencing GRL.
My question for your guys is: As a reader, if an author (known-to-you or not) stepped up to you or your group to talk, what would you think of it? How would you react? Or, if you’re an author, how would you feel if a reader stepped up to you to talk?
About Black Hurricane
Twenty-three year old Jasper Jones fell in love with Dean McQueen at fourteen, but after a disastrous relationship, Jazz would like nothing better than to see the rock star choke on his own vomit.
After a catastrophic reunion, Dean seems bent on destroying Jazz’s life. It all started when an impromptu bar performance ended up on YouTube and Jazz became an internet sensation overnight. The name “Jazdean” keeps popping up in headlines and the paparazzi stalk his every move. To make matters worse, Jazz is about to end up on the streets for the second time in his life.
In a desperate attempt to keep his home, Jazz signs a deal with Dean’s band, Black Hurricane, to perform at a couple of concerts. It feels like one of Dean’s feeble attempts to get Jazz back, but painted into a corner like he is, Jazz has no choice.
About Erica Pike
Erica lives in Iceland with her adorable little twin boys. She often says that her real name sounds like Klingon to foreigners. Seriously, if “Eyjafjallajokull” looks like a random string of characters it’s nothing in comparison to Erica’s name.
She’s been writing for several years, or ever since reading became an obsession. Aside from a business degree, Erica has taken English courses at the University of Iceland and gulped down anything that might help her in her career as an author. She takes great interest in English, but will break every single grammar rule for the sake of The Voice.
Erica loves hearing from her readers. She’s a friendly, easy-going (if a bit silly) person who doesn’t mind talking about herself in third person.
As part of her GRL stop, Erica is offering up a chance to win an eBook from her College Fun and Gays series! The giveaway starts now and will end next Monday, September 8, 2014, at 11:59 pm EST. After which the lucky winner will be randomly picked. To enter, just click the link below!
Please be aware that the only way to enter the giveaway is to click the Rafflecopter link above. Any comments on this post will not count towards entering the giveaway, except to verify your Rafflecopter entry.