Tuesday, July 12, 2011

How to Talk to Novelists

I finally accepted that authors aren’t gods when I went to the Fashion Show. It was so cute! They strutted on stage in their costumes and struck silly poses that made us all bust out laughing. I felt much more comfortable and less star-struck afterwards.
Add this to my list of goals: I so very much want to participate in next year’s fashion show dressed as a Vestal Virgin from my book, Sacred Fire. What do you think? Could I pull off this look?
I made an interesting discovery while I talked to the authors. When I told them I loved their book or I couldn’t wait to read it, the conversation was short and sometimes even awkward. They would nod politely, say thank you, and some of them would blush. Then we’d just stand there.
Often I said, “Well, anyway, I liked it, and, uh… I’ll see you around.”
On the other hand, if you talk about history or writing in general, they light up and you can talk all day. What surprised me the most was how most of them were more interested in my book than they were in talking about theirs.
I spent a long time wondering why this would be the case. I have a few guesses:
Writers undoubtedly appreciate compliments, but there’s nothing they can add to the conversation. All they can say is “thank you.” Also, they’ve heard all these things before. If you want to keep a writer talking, you have to bring something new to the table – something that will open up a conversation.
As for talking about my own book, I can see how it would be exciting to hear about potential future authors. Do not mention your book unless they ask.
What’s your take on my advice? Do you agree? Disagree?


  1. I've loved reading all your posts about the conference - fascinating and fun stuff ^_^

    But this one I liked best, and I think you've made a valid observation. I hadnt' thought of it that way, but it makes a lot of sense. Something to keep in mind.

    And I definitely think you should give the Vestal Virgin costume a try next time around.

  2. You pose as a Vestal Virgin; I'll pose as a Victorian Aesthete. Deal?


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