The Birmingham Public Library hosted its Local Author Expo this past weekend. I went to support several published authors from my local RWA chapter and had a blast. I also discovered several local authors who I'd never read.
This really drove home the point about the importance of author-reader contact. As a reader, if I have met you, I am more likely to buy and read your books. Because everything in the world revolves around me (Copernicus, honey, you got it wrong - I am the center of the universe, and all things revolve around me), I feel a connection to the book more strongly if I have met the author. That extra personal investment makes a difference.
I'm not alone. Around Christmas, I was meandering up and down the book isles while the hubby drooled over electronics (too messy to stand close to him during those times). I saw a book by an Alabama author and pointed it out to the lady next to me (and, of course, pointed out I knew the author). She picked it up, excited by the book being part of the local creative scene, and bought it.
Authors spend so much time developing their online presence, and it is important. But don't forget to get out and press the flesh. Never underestimate the power of a little gripping and grinning.
What are your favorite reader/author events to attend? Any suggestions?