I remember the very first author I friended on Facebook. It was Jess Lourey. I met her at Murder and Mayhem in Milwaukee, where she had appeared on a panel. After the session, I worked up the courage to speak to her. I told her I’d just signed a book deal and that my first book would be coming out in a little over a year. She was congratulatory and not only signed a book for me, she invited me to friend her on Facebook. This was even after an awkward moment when I may or may not have briskly rubbed her upper arm (in a totally platonic way, I assure you). Long story. Anyway, I was already a Jess Lourey reader. Her kindness made me a fan.
In the months before my first book released, other writers and members of the mystery community were also incredibly generous to this first-time author, including Dru Love, who hosted me on her blog, and Sherry Harris who invited me to guest on the Wicked Cozy Authors.
I connected with other authors at conferences and online, including some cool Chicks I now call friends. I corresponded with some, and they were nice enough to answer my greenhorn questions. (My agent is a patient woman, but she had already fielded countless questions from me and I thought I should give her a break.) As my books released, I asked some authors I’d never met in person to do bookstore signings with me—and they said ‘YES’! (Thanks, Peg Cochran, Allyson K. Abbott/Annelise Ryan, Julia Buckley, and Stephanie Blackmoore.) And I have a signing coming up in July with the fab Maggie Pill/Peg Herring.
My fourth book was recently released and it’s been two-and-a-half years since my first book came out. I still feel like a newbie author in many ways, but I’ve now had the opportunity to see book signings and author presentations from the other side of the table. In fact, I was lucky enough to be invited to lead a session at a regional conference last Saturday on “Writing the Traditional Mystery.” I had an attentive and interactive audience, who laughed at the right times and asked lots of good questions. And afterwards some people came up and said they had read my books, asked me to sign a book, related that they’d met me at a book signing, or told me they were working on a novel.
I truly hope people enjoy the books I write—but when folks who have (or have not yet) read my books meet me—I hope even more that they remember me as the author who was kind. And I try to remember to invite them to friend me on Facebook.
In the comments, share about meeting a favorite author or someone who was kind/encouraging to you at the beginning of your career.