I meet a lot of readers when I attend a book signing, but one such meeting was EPIC. When I attended my first Book Bonanza in Denver two years ago, I had never experienced a reader coming to see me as one of their primary authors. Never. It was a surreal but the most epic meeting ever. Especially because she came all the way from New Zealand! New Zealand people! I was blown away that someone would have ME as one of the authors that they would come to a signing to see. Sometimes my life is so surreal to me. Like why would someone want to come to meet me? To marvel at my awkwardness? To admire my 12 chins and my stoob? To kidnap me, shove me in a suitcase and leave me in the woods? But I digress. Let me tell you what it was like to meet one of my readers, My Kiwi.
It all started with a tweet. No, really. I got a notification that someone had mentioned me on a tweet and I went to check it out. There was a tweet about a reader who was excited to get her tickets to Book Bonanza and meet her top three authors: Colleen Hoover, E.L. James and me. Wait? Did I read that right? Was I mentioned in the same tweet as Colleen Hoover and E.L. James? Nooooo. That could not be right. There was no way someone would want to come meet me. Like specifically have me as one of their top three authors. This had to be a mistake. Curious, I tweeted her back. Something totally as lame as “Me? You want to see me?”. That is how cool I am ladies and gents. I couldn’t even think of some good snappy reply. With that tweet, we started messaging back and forth, became the infamous Facebook friends and soon My Kiwi became one of those rare in real life friends that I was super excited to meet.
It took one year from her posting about getting a ticket to the signing in Denver. To say I was excited to meet My Kiwi is such an understatement. But I was also terrified. What if I did not meet her expectations? What if I was super lame? I was sure to be awkward as that is given. I don’t know if I will ever not be awkward when you meet me in person. It is just part of my nature. I was just worried I would not live up to her “favorite author” category. What if she was really a Hobbit in person? Well, I can’t say I would be disappointed if that was true. Wait. What if she was a stalker? Would she single white female me and steal my identity and become The Fat Girl Running? Would I end up on some true crime show because I have gone missing only to be never seen again? These are all the crazy thoughts that went through my head as I contemplated meeting My Kiwi. We got to the hotel and after checking in, grabbed some food and were sitting in the lobby. BFF asked if I was going to message My Kiwi and see if she was there yet. I admit it, I was so nervous! But, I took the plunge and messaged her to see if she was there and told her we were in the lobby. Then I waited. Would she know who I was is the first thought that ran through my head. DOH! Hello my picture is all over my profiles and my book covers! Of course she is going to know what I look like and who I was. What a dumb thing to be worried about. And if she is a stalker, then we know she already has a shrine set up to me in her house. And then it happened. My Kiwi came into the lobby.
Insert lots of squealing and hugging here. No really, I am pretty sure half the lobby heard us as we saw each other. I jumped up, food halfway to my mouth, when I saw her and proceeded to squeeze her so hard. I didn’t care anymore what she thought. I didn’t care if I would somehow end up shoved into a suitcase as my internet stalker killed me and took my identity. All I cared about was that she was REAL. A real reader came all the way from New Zealand to meet me. And no, she was NOT a Hobbit. I know, insert slight disappointment here. I might have been slightly awkward with the trip grime still on me and food hanging out of my mouth, but I did not care. It turns out she is just as sweet as I had hoped. I was so overwhelmed by My Kiwi that the next day, when I was on a panel about reader relationships, I actually started tearing up talking about her. Yeah that is right. I got misty talking about how she came all this way to meet me in front of like 500 people. It was awesome and not at all a little embarrassing.
Meeting readers is one of my favorite things whether I am at a signing or somewhere else. Meeting My Kiwi was epic. We are still good friends and I hope someday to go and visit her in her native habitat and hopefully we will go to Hobbiton together (a part of me still hope she is a Hobbit). Do not ever be afraid to come up to me in public or at a signing and say hello. I may be awkward with you and there is sure to be a hug given, but please come up and break that barrier. As long as you are not a stalker and will not put me in a suitcase and leave me in the woods to never be found. I really do not want to be part of a true crime documentary. So let’s keep the stalking and murdering to a minimum please.
Oh yeah. I didn’t die today. I did have an epic meeting with one of my readers and it was epic and I was concerned I might end up in a true crime documentary but I didn’t die today. I am Fat Girl who is slightly disappointed My Kiwi is not a Hobbit Running. The experiment continues.