Shannon Hale's recent blog entry about mortifying author visit experiences is such a fascinating read-- in a horrified, agonizing sort of way! As a librarian who regularly seeks out authors to invite to my library and helps plan, publicize, and host their visits, I am absolutely cringing at the way Shannon and other authors have been treated by some of the people hosting their events.
But most of all, I'm struck by the idea that authors feel responsible for the outcome of their events. I have honestly never thought of it that way. On the contrary, I always feel like the library (or school or bookstore) is responsible for making it a good event for the author! How funny (and a little sad) that both parties end up feeling responsible, when sometimes there are things that nobody has any control over, like a snowstorm that keeps the crowds away or an event schedule that conflicts with finals week. But aside from those sorts of things, it's up to the hosting organization to publicize widely, make sure the space is set up properly, have enough books on hand, etc.
Things running through my head when I host an author visit:
Is the author comfortable? Would they like a snack and bottled water? Would they prefer to give their presentation sitting or standing? Do they like my library? Are they having fun? Do they feel welcomed? Do they have the right kind of pen for signing books? Is there anything I can get them? Do they feel this visit is worth their time? (Please say yes!)
Things NOT running through my head when I host an author visit:
Who is this person again? Why are they here? What did they write?
Come to my library, authors. We'll treat you right.