So, over the past couple of days I have been writing around preparing for the Decatur Book Festival and a couple of times I mentioned that I wasn’t sure what I was going to wear. Now, I am a fan of clothes, I will admit it; however, that’s not why I gave my outfit so much thought. What you wear, as much as what you say and how you say it matter when thinking about author appearances.
This weekend I met this author, Tarrin Lupo, who was also reading on the Emerging Author’s Stage. When I first met Tarrin, he was dropping off his books at the Emerging Author’s Tent…in his pirate suit. Tarrin’s most recent novel is about pirates, so he spent the entire weekend walking around both the Decatur Book Festival and Dragon*Con in that same costume–and it was hot on Saturday. The net result: in his pirate costume, people were coming up to talk to him, which gave him a prime opportunity to talk to them about his work and promote his book.
All authors do this. Last year I had the happy fortune to be at a Barnes and Noble the day of a Laurell K. Hamilton appearance. (SN: I have been a Laurell K. Hamilton fan since high school). Anywho, Hamilton’s style is definitely in keeping with her fiction. Black, bondagey, and frills. If you have ever read any of the Anita Blake series, that probably sounds really familiar.
This is not to say that an author needs to be outlandish or gimmicky. In fact, I would say that for both Tarrin and Hamilton, their choices in “costume” work because they are a natural extension of who they are as people. So who they are as authors doesn’t get lost in the gimmick of their ensemble. I think that is the key to making this choice. Does the “costume” accentuate my author persona or does it obscure it in some way?
Now, I have never worn a total costume for an author appearance…though my book has a multitude of costume possibilities (I may post pictures later, after I draw them), almost all of which would have to be custom made. I do, though, wear a costume of sorts for my appearances. I have been wearing green and black for almost all of my appearances. Green and black are colors that I associate with Interlopers, so I wear those colors to sort of channel the spirit of the novel. Maybe I will try a costume one day.
I was going to talk a little more about the author persona and actually presenting your work, but I think that topic deserves its own post. So more about that later.