American Christian Fiction Writers
Angie Breidenbach

Angela Breidenbach is Mrs. Montana International 2009 working with Hope’s Promise Orphan Ministries, the Jadyn Fred Foundation, and drawing awareness to Fair Trade practices. Angela’s calling is as a purposeful life coach and educator. She’s also certified in mentor/peer counseling as a Stephen Minister and Assisting Minister. She serves as the American Christian Fiction Writer's Publicity Officer and is a multi-award winning inspirational author and speaker. Not only did she walk the hard line of deciding to donate her mom's brain, but she is also on the brain donation list at the Brain Bank-Harvard McLean Hospital. She is married, has a combined family of six grown children, one grandson. Purposeful Living Educator & Coach. Personal growth = Powerful living! You can interact or learn more about Angela Breidenbach at these sites: on Wednesdays each week.

He Said/She Said:

How to have an amazing author event from the writer’s perspective.

Recently a friend of mine, Tosca Lee, and I had an interesting discussion about creating author events. We discussed the issue of writers being more introspective than gregarious. Being the outgoing sort, I’ve had trouble understanding why author signings and other events are sometimes painful for a writer. Then I spoke with a variety of author friends who explained the effects of public appearances on their more reserved personality types. The energy drain and feelings of discomfort topped the chart. It ran from outright fear of speaking to embarrassment over not knowing what to say to each individual. Sometimes it was a fear of repetition. They wanted to truly be sincere but felt uncomfortable repeating the same thing over and over. These concerns are strong and legitimate. So what does an author do?

Tosca is also an international speaker who has had to spend enormous time and energy meeting, leading, and conducting events all over the world. The perfect person to give a few tips. I thought sharing our discussion, with Tosca’s permission, might be helpful to others as well.

I interviewed Tosca Lee and some bookstore owners to create what I hope will be an enlightening series of articles for the readers of Christian Fiction Online Magazine. Please share your feedback for next month’s article, when we’ll discuss how to have an amazing author event from the bookstore owner’s point of view. I’ll be sure to watch for your questions to ask Shawn and Suzanne Kuhn, my guest bookstore owners, in September’s column. You can reach me at

Join a chat between author friends:

Angela: What’s the difference between the old model of a book signing and an author event?

Tosca: I'm not sure what the differences are, but I do know that the stereotypical idea is that an author shows up to throngs of people waiting in line. That does not happen, unless you’re Neil Gaiman or James Patterson.

Angela: What are the top tools an author brings to a bookstore event?

Tosca: Personality, smile, and an approachable attitude.

Angela: What are the most successful elements?

Tosca: Talking to and engaging the people who have come to see you . . . and those who didn’t come to see you but are perusing the store. You’ll find new readers that way.

Angela: What should an author never do?

Tosca: Be unapproachable, unfriendly, or unsmiling. Readers (current or potential readers) need to connect with you as a person. They will be ten times more likely to want to read your stories (if they do not already) if they feel they know you. You are a part of your own brand.

Angela: What fun elements should always be present?

Tosca: Be ready to talk about your story. Your pitch didn’t end with trying to nab an agent or editor—it continues here, with the would-be reader if they are not familiar with your work.

Angela: How does an author bring personality and individuality to an event?

Tosca: By being a real person. Many people view authors as odd semi-celebrities. Sometimes they’re stunned to know that an author lives in their hometown.

Angela: Is there a mind-set an author should have toward an event? A bookstore?

Tosca: That they are going to be gregarious for however long the event lasts. That they will be gracious and giving of themselves.

Angela: What happens after an author leaves?

Tosca: Booksellers will talk about you. Give them a good impression and a reason to want to hand-sell your books. They are a crucial part of your interaction.

Angela: What’s hand-selling, and how does an author earn it?

Tosca: By getting to know and earning the advocacy of the booksellers.

Angela: What creative ideas should an author be thinking about for promotion?

Tosca: Use social media. Contact the paper and any groups you are a part of.

Angela: How does the author partner with the bookstore for promotion and preparation?

Tosca: Contact and talk to the community relations managers ahead of time. Get to know them. They are your partners and potentially a great ally in this thing called Selling Your Books.

Angela: What if an event has low numbers?

Tosca: Talk to the people who came to browse. Introduce them to your books. I’ve met many new readers that way.

Angela: What if an event has super high numbers?

Tosca: Give everyone a moment of your undivided attention. Thank them for standing in line. They did not come to see you to be treated like a number or a widget in an assembly line. They came and waited to connect with you. Return the respect.

Angela: What’s the absolutely worst thing an author can do at a signing or event?

Tosca: Sit behind the table and expect everyone to come to you. Be unfriendly. Act like a diva.

Angela: Does media ever show up to an author event? Do remotes or interviews?

Tosca: It’s possible—but you have to be the one to arrange it ahead of time.

Angela: Does it help if an author can come early? Does it help if an author can meet the store personnel before the event (like days or weeks)?

Tosca: Yes. Yes.

Angela: Favorite author event story?

Tosca: I love meeting people at every event. I am truly grateful and humbled by those who come to meet and talk with me. I always leave inspired, wanting to write the best that I can for the people I just met. I keep their faces before me in weeks and months to come as I go into my next project.

Friends, as you can see the mind-set is the most crucial here. But what about the how-to? We’ll visit with bookstore owners next month and dig even deeper into this concept of a successful author event. Stay tuned and send me those questions:

More information on Tosca Lee can be found at