After mentioning that I would be at the Fiction Readers Summit last weekend, I got a few requests to share highlights. Well…if I really wanted to do that, I’d just start listing names. But since some of you would like to experience the actual event vicariously and not just listen to me gush, here are a few of my favorite parts.
- Watching at least four of the authors (possibly more too shy to admit it) declare that they came to the event to meet Lynn Austin and get a book signed by her.
- Listening as readers shared answers to authors’ questions in the reverse panel—from humorous confessions of starting with the last page first to heartfelt tributes about why they read Christian fiction.
- Surreptitiously taking notes on those answers because the reader panel was basically a focus group for what people are interested in seeing in fiction and I can’t shut down my marketing brain.
- Greeting some authors I’ve appreciated from other publishing companies. (Yes, I do read books that aren’t published by Bethany House occasionally.)
- Realizing that Jody Hedlund, Jocelyn Green, and I all graduated from Taylor University and posing for an alma mater photo.
- Learning lots of behind-the-scenes research details, including how suspense writers convince people they’re not serial killers, which tiny historical errors have accidentally slipped into print, and what the brainstorming process looks like.
- Hearing authors recommend books they love—including many written by other attending authors.
- Meeting some of our fabulous bloggers who have seen my name in emails but found out that I am an actual person.
- Laughing. A lot. Readers are a fun-loving crowd.
- Enjoying breakfast burritos with readers who stammered and jaw-dropped their way through celebrity author sightings…and then eventually calmed down enough to hold a coherent conversation.
- Applauding the amazing organizational committee and wondering what I have to do to become as awesome as Chris Jager (fiction buyer at Baker Book House).
- Giving away books as door prizes! (Seriously, I love doing that.)
- Seeing all the selfies from the book signing go up on social media, each one representing another autographed book on someone’s keeper shelf.
So, that’s the scoop on the Summit. There’s a second event planned next year in August, and we’d love to see you there! Check out the event website for the dates, with more details to come soon.
Have you ever gotten the chance to meet a favorite author in person? Tell us about it!