Over the past couple months, I've been lucky to attend a few author fairs at libraries in the Chicago area. I started attending these events back in 2006 when Stones of Abraxas was first published, and I loved them then. Now that I've got my self-pubbed version of Stones out, along with the Heroes of Abraxas sequel and My Life as an Earthworm, they're even more fun because there are more books to talk to people about. For these most recent fairs, I also brought promotional postcards for the upcoming nonfiction book I wrote with my aunt, psychic Louise Helene. The book is called I Saw Your Future and He's Not It, and it's going over big with readers.
One of the things I find most interesting about author fairs and other book signing events is that you can never tell who's going to be most interested in your books. When a 12-year-old boy walks past my signing table, I used to automatically assume he'd like my YA fantasy novels with a dragon and gargoyle on the covers. And sometimes he is interested in fantasy, but a lot of times he's not. One time there was a kid who I thought would love fantasy, but he came over and picked up my nonfiction book about Muammar Qaddafi in Libya. When I looked surprised, his mom explained, "He's really interested in dictators." Go figure.
At least half of the people I talk to and sell YA books to at signings are adult women. Sometimes they're looking for a gift for kids or grandkids, but more often they're looking for themselves. I understand where they're coming from because at least half of what I read is classified as young adult.
Maybe most surprising is that it's not just women who are picking up the promo cards for I Saw Your Future and He's Not It. Men are curious, too. Mostly they're dads who have daughters, and they're eager for help in warning the girls away from lousy guys. The book's title really strikes a chord for those dads, I guess.
So, like books, it seems that you can't tell a book reader by his/her cover.