Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Is Face-to-Face Old-Fashioned?

The Writer

You sit alone in your room, writing . . . then promoting . . . hoping nothing makes you leave your room except for maybe a few local book signings so you can say you've done it, and to savor the feeling.

But go on the road? Uproot for two weeks of each month to visit conferences, bookstores and collective groups of readers? It's crazy scary. Or maybe it's exciting the first six times you do it, then you start dragging home tired, wondering what happened to the fun of writing because you haven't done it in a month.Even your publisher asks, "Why do you do that? Everything happens online now. Focus on that."

The Reader

You sit along in your room, reading . . . then once you close the book, wishing you could be so bold as a writer to but himself out there like that . . . exposing his inner being through such vivid characters and a cool story.  How long does it take to come up with such ideas? How does he paint the setting so you can hear and smell it? How does he enable you to live inside another's head for thirty chapters and make it seem so real? Seriously, you got so angry in Chapter 17 you could've thrown the book . . . and you cried in Chapter 22.

You hear about writers touring but it doesn't happen much anymore. You wouldn't mind seeing the real person who touched you like he did through words. But you work, are so busy. And what are the odds that this author would come to your town, then you find the means to see him?

The New Reality

Writers are promoting more online and less in person. Readers are less likely to see a writer other than on a website or YouTube interview.

That's why I catch myself conceding when asked to make an appearance. And I always come hope completely satisfied I did, intensely appreciative of the readers I meet. It's indescribable.

No, I'm not uber-famous, but I am the author who's poured herself into stories for years. Hearing someone recite a line back to me gives me chills. Those are my words . . . and someone remembers them. Listening to someone talk about my characters as if they lived next door, or had lunch at the table next to him, shoots me over the moon. When I say the name Savvy, Slade, Ivy, Wayne, Jesse or Alan, and someone reacts with familiarity never ceased to touch my heart. That connection is fantastic, as if we both have the same best friend in common.

We do a long of online marketing, and the conduit from writer to reader is undeniably more efficient. But as a writer, take the opportunity to meet some readers in person. And as a reader, take the opportunity to travel to where a writer makes an appearance. You'll both walk away amply and pleasantly compensated for the effort. Human appreciation is still in vogue.


Jessica B. Fry said...

This is a wonderful post. Thank you for being an author who pours herself into her novels and her characters. It's obvious that it isn't just about making money, and frankly, there's just nothing that can replace some face to face interaction. Keep up the great work!

Anonymous said...

The internet has taken on a mind of its own. Once I attended a book signing where the author admitted to that being his first public showing. It was his tenth book. We were all excited to be there but found him to be a bit withdrawn, almost uncomfortable.

I would agree with Hope that face to face is still an important relationship builder. Plus, I don't want a consistent bond with a laptop that doesn't talk back to me.