Writers Meeting Readers – Making a Good First Impression

Master of the Opera, Act 2 Ghost Aria (ebook)

Here’s the cover for, the second episode (Act II) of Master of the Opera: Ghost Aria. I posted the one for Act I, Passionate Overture, last Friday. The next two will be revealed by Bookpushers on Thursday, August 15! I love how each cover is the same image, with a slight variation to reflect the theme of that Act. Here’s the blurb for this one:

In the second seductive installment of Jeffe Kennedy’s thrilling Master of the Opera, a young woman falls deeper under the spell of the man who haunts her dreams, fuels her desire, and demands her surrender. . .

With each passing day of her internship at the Sante Fe Opera House, Christine Davis discovers something new, something exciting–and something frightening. Hidden in the twisting labyrinths beneath the theater is a mysterious man in a mask who, Christy’s convinced, is as real as the rose he left on her desk–and as passionate as the kiss that burns on her lips. He tells her to call him “Master,” and Christy can’t deny him. But when her predecessor–a missing intern–is found dead, Christy wonders if she’s playing with fire. . .

If her phantom lover is actually a killer, how can she continue to submit to his dark, erotic games? And if he is innocent, how can she resist–or refuse–when he demands nothing less than her body and soul?

I love how they wrote these up – they sound ever so much better than what I would have written.

I also got this yesterday:

BRf_GkeCIAACtIt

Nothing like a shiny award to perk a girl up! This award comes at a great time, too, because the sequel, Rogue’s Possession, comes out October 7! Which no longer seems forever in the future, huh? The other day, a couple of book bloggers who loved Pawn heard about the sequel’s release date and were squealing with excitement on Twitter, speculating about what might happen next. I may or may not have succumbed to teasing them a bit about it. 😀

Still, there’s really nothing better than having smart enthusiastic readers excited about the next book. My favorite kind of conversation ever. Having someone else love my characters and story as much – maybe more! – than I do is a kind of transcendent feeling. This is why, if for no other reason, writers should find ways to communicate with their readers. It closes that loop, the one that starts with daydreams and hours alone at the keyboard, in a way that nothing else does.

It’s difficult for many authors, I know, to figure out how to behave in public. This might sound silly, but many people who become writers succeed because they’re happy being away from society for the huge chunks of alone time needed. Musicians and others in the performing arts are necessarily more social. They have to learn to engage with their audience, at some level or another. Visual artists have a long history of being cantankerous, cranky or just plain crazy. In times past, lovers of art and books rarely met the creators. Except for publishing house horror stories about autocratic and terrifying authors, for the most part no one knew what the writers themselves were like.

Recently a book blogger asked people about meeting their favorite author and asked if they regretted it. Of course, this is like asking people about car wrecks or kitchen accidents – everyone trots out the most horrific story they know. But they told of authors ignoring them, blowing them off, acting snobbish, being downright mean, etc. If I remembered where I read it, I’d post the link because it really was instructive.

The thing is, I could kind of read into some of the stories and know where the author was coming from. Not in an excusing-them way, but in a sympathy way. Often what’s read as snobbishness or a blow-off is the author not knowing how to behave. If they’ve never worked in corporate culture, never learned to deal with a range of people, they can come off as frozen, when they’re really overwhelmed.

I read this article recently. No, I didn’t click on it just because it’s about Hugh Jackman. Okay, maybe I did, but then I *stayed* for the content! It’s a terrific contrast piece about meeting a CEO and meeting Hugh Jackman – and the first impression each made.

For me the key part of the article is this:

In three minutes, Hugh Jackman turned me into a fan for life–but he didn’t sell me. He didn’t glad-hand me. He just gave me his full attention. He just acted as if, for those three minutes, I was the most important person in the world–even though he didn’t know me and has certainly forgotten me.

There’s the way through that deer-in-the-headlights moment (or two-hour signing). The ubiquitous “they” often give the advice to ask people questions about themselves, when you’re in conversations that are stalling. It never hurts to focus on the other person and, as writers, we’re all naturally interested in character. Give that person your full attention, treat them as important and learn something about them.

After all, it’s only three minutes.

Less, in social media.

6 Replies to “Writers Meeting Readers – Making a Good First Impression”

  1. Great post.
    I must admit I’m a bit nervous about meeting some authors in person this October. There’s a reason I have a blogging pig: Sullivan is much more social than I am. I’ve been taught to believe people will not be interested in me and I tend to arm myself against rejection in advance which can make me seem distant and reserved.

  2. Was this it?

    http://contemporaryromancecafe.com/kelsey-browning-july-post/

    If not, that is what I thought of when I read your post. My husband, kids and myself are all pretty introverted in public (I am internet-tough though!). We try to tell our kids that when they meet people and don’t know what to say ask the other people about themselves. People generally like talking about themselves and if you start off with some questions, it shows you are interested in them and that gets people to loosen up.

    There was one author I was nervous about meeting because I had interacted with her a bit online but not like I have with some others. She is also very private – uses a pen name and I can’t seem to figure out her real name is (not that I have tried, but sometimes you just learn it), never reveals where she lives or what the name of her kids are, etc. So, I was torn a little on what I should ask her and what was too personal. Surprisingly she was much more open in public. She did talk about her kids by their name, that they were going on vacation somewhere, etc.

    However, I also have to remind myself that some people have been around a long time in the book world or are pretty well marketed so they have a pretty big fan base which means they have more emails and social media responses to get to and less time to get too personal with people. I find that even if I like their books I don’t tweet as much about it while reading it because it is nothing new to their 5000 followers. Does that make sense? I mean, would anyone really care if I liked a Nora Roberts book? I am probably thinking about that wrong, but I tend to want to promote the newer, less known authors that I enjoy and I think a lot of that is the relationships I have built. So, this has been a long, rambling response and I’ll end here. 🙂

    1. That’s it! Such a good memory you have! (Certainly by comparison…)

      You know, I agree and I tend to do the same thing. I’m much less likely to be really vocal about loving a book by an author I see as having a huge audience. But then, I’m often pleasantly surprised when a “big name” replies to me. However, as one o’them newer, less known authors, I have no problem with your reasoning!

  3. I love this post, Jeffe. While I’m not (yet) in a position where people are lining up to meet me, I have stood (many times) in those lines to meet authors who’ve somehow touched me. And yes, many of them, gave me the blank stare. The one that left me hurt and checking to see if my arm pits smelled. (Ok, maybe not that bad, but definitely hurt.)

    I’ve told myself on several of those occassions: 1) No, you’re not a gushing kook (because I’ve seen those too), and 2) they’re probably just nervous.

    Maybe there’s a perspective I can offer that helps an author setting at a table: For some people, it takes just as much nerve to walk up to your table as it does for you to reach out to them. Two to tango (so to speak). How awesome is it that they want to get to know the person behind the words? I hope someday that’s a blessing I’ll be given.

    1. Oh yes – it totally takes nerve to go fangirl on an author. Nothing is more flattering to me than when readers deliberately seek me out, just to meet me and say hi. I’m sure you’ll be great when your chance comes along!

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