Encounter with a fan

By Jeff Salter

We have an interesting topic this week, one which presumably every serious writer has at least considered — what would be an ideal encounter with a fan of your writing?

How NOT to react

Well, let me begin with an example of how NOT to react to a fan. Have a look at the elevator scene from the movie, As Good As It Gets, in which Jack Nicholson is a famous-but-reclusive-and-antisocial author:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Y9BukEBI9c

There are many such film scenes of egotistic (or socially-maladjusted… like Nicholson’s character) authors who basically spit in the faces of their fans. Some because they’re cruel and insensitive… and others because they cannot seem to graciously accept a compliment.

My goal for fan contact

Long ago, before I began writing long fiction and while I was co-authoring two non-fiction books for a royalty publisher (who specialized in titles for professional librarians), I decided – if I EVER attained any degree of “author” fame, or otherwise collected even a single fan or follower – I would be as gracious and considerate as a human could be.

I used as my model Walker Percy – the best-selling author from my hometown who had achieved awards and acclaim (both critical and popular) – and remained a gentleman throughout.

My experience so far

Perhaps it’s not a huge surprise that I have not found myself pestered by fans. Maybe that day will come, but more likely not. And that’s okay — it keeps me grounded. As long as royalty publishers are extending contracts to me and Amazon (and other places) sell my titles, I will be content to create the best stories I can… and take pleasure in those positive reviews from readers who truly seem to “get” my work.

All that said, I have recently encountered a sweet lady with whom I’d struck up an acquaintance. As we got to know each other a bit better, I gave her one of my business cards (which lists my published titles) and said little more about it — except perhaps to reply to any questions she had. Some time went by and we continued to chat when we were in the same place at the same time, but never discussed my books again.

Until one day when she told me she’d looked up my name, found my photo (I believe on my Amazon author page), and ordered one of my E-books. I thanked her for what she’d done and I expressed the hope she would enjoy that story. She had other remarks about her surprise to find a person she knew was also a published author. Her contact meant a great deal to me and I told her so. It was truly a heart-warming experience. I hope she’ll read more of my stories and will enjoy them enough to tell others.

A previous post about fan letters

About 22 months ago, I blogged about a similar theme: fan letters. Take a look:

https://fourfoxesonehound.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/a-tale-of-two-fan-letters/

Questions:

What about you? If you’re an author, what type encounters have you had? What type would you want? If you’re a reader… have you ever approached an author you really love?

[JLS # 252]

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About jeff7salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Twelve completed novels and five completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015, "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015, "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015, "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014, "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014, "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014, "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014, "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013, "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013, "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013, "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012, "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012. Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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10 Responses to Encounter with a fan

  1. Interestingly enough, I have approached an author who I was girl crushing on! Roxanne St. Clair turns out to be a whole lot of fun and a great person to chat with at Nationals etc. Over the last year or so, we’ve corresponded and she laughed when I told her I was going to St. Clair’s school of writing as I read through almost every single book she’d ever written. 🙂
    This whole story has ended with me having a great friend and a NY Times best selling author writing a review for the cover of my new release! Wasn’t what I had planned, but it was a definite sweet surprise.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Jeanne says:

    I’ve been lucky enough to have not one, but THREE very close friends of mine who never became published until AFTER we’d been friends for many years. There are many authors whose books I have enjoyed, but at the moment I’m kind of infatuated with a FICTIONAL author named Richard Castle…

    Liked by 1 person

    • jeff7salter says:

      My wife really enjoys Castle. I’d probably like it more if they focused more on his writing.
      Glad you could visit today, Jeanne.

      Like

  3. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I’ve had long-time acquaintances tell me they’ve read some of my books and enjoyed them, and that’s always gratifying. I hope that I’m as gracious as your best-selling friend. But I think it’s every author’s dream to have a total stranger stop you with words of praise. I’m with you, though, it’s not likely to happen, except in my dreams.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jeff7salter says:

      yes, certainly, it’s VERY gratifying to hear praise from long-time friends or acquaintances. Generally, those who already know us might be some of our toughest critics to impress.

      Like

  4. I’ve had feedback from poems, articles and a story, but never approached in the flesh by a fan. I am having trouble getting my head wrapped around this one. I can’t imagine YOU not being a gentleman, Jeff.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. jbrayweber says:

    I’ve had very nice fan mail, but I’ve never been approached by a rabid fan. If that ever happens, I’ll be blown away. I’m just a regular girl trying to make my own way and likely won’t feel deserving of the accolades. I suppose it’s just hard to fathom until it is experienced. Great post, Jeff.

    Liked by 1 person

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