Last night I did something I never thought I would do. I gushed over an author.
I’ve worked hundreds and hundreds of events. I’ve been tongue-tied. I’ve blushed. I think accidentally gleeked once. But, coming from a long line of stoic Germans, I’ve never gushed.
It didn’t help that he was the first person I encountered after stepping out of the elevator, my stack of first printings in hand. I was as charmed by the writer as I was by his words, and I gushed. And I also had a clear view of a book signing from the audience perspective.
Now, before you tsk me for walking in with books not purchased at the event, let me assure you that I purchased the entire stack from the same local independent bookstore also selling books at the event. I just happened to buy and read them as they were released. And since this reading was not at the bookstore, but instead was organized and executed by a university creative writing department at a museum on campus, I wonder if that’s why I was able to fully experience it as a member of the audience. Whatever the case, it made me think about the super fans.
Typically my “300 Seconds” pieces offer tips and tidbits you can execute immediately. But this one is for the future. The next time you have an author event, allow an extra 300 Seconds for the fans. Not 5 minutes per fan, but cut the obvious ones some slack. Give each one a little bit more time with the author. Offer to take a photo. Chances are they drove in for the event, they have first printings, and they’ve read them all. This event that you’ve held for their favorite author might be the first time they’ve stepped foot in your store. This might be your only chance to make a good impression and win them as a fan of the store.