Readers, why you should go to author events

Matthew Arnold Stern
2 min readNov 22, 2023
Matthew Arnold Stern at Local Author Day in Fullerton, CA. Photo by Donna Judd.
Getting caught up at Local Author Day in Fullerton, CA. Photo by Donna Judd.

Suppose you’re looking for new books to read. You could get Fourth Wing or another Colleen Hoover book, but you want something different. Something outside your typical genre. Something from an author you never heard of before. But Amazon has millions of titles, your local bookstore has shelves stuffed with used and new books, and Costco has just one table with one half children’s books and the other half with bibles, cookbooks, and whatever is on the New York TimesBestseller List that week. How can you find your next read?

Let me tell you about auto shows.

Auto shows are my brother’s thing, but I have gone to a few. The most memorable one for me was the LA Auto Show in 1977. I had just become a licensed driver, and my mom and I started shopping for my first car. We could’ve gone to all the car dealerships in our area, but we’d be limited to what was in stock and get subjected to the salesperson’s hard sell. But at the auto show, we could check out all the new cars, including some that weren’t available at dealerships yet. I could sit in as many of them as I liked. A few were available for test drives. And I could leave with an idea of what cars and option packages to shop for.

You can think of author events as the auto shows for books. You get to meet different authors, listen to them give excerpts from their books, and learn the inspiration behind the stories. Here’s an example from the presentation I gave at the Local Author Day in Fullerton.

My presentation must have worked because people bought my book at the event!

Not into contemporary fiction about a homeless son and his troubled father? No problem! The event had poetry, science fiction, science fiction poetry, a coffee-table book about coffee, detective stories, and so much more. And if you love books, what could be more pleasant than spending an afternoon meeting authors and listening to their stories? (Unless you’re a UCLA fan. In that case, watching the Bruins beat the Trojans is the highlight of your day.) And you can come home with one or more new books, all of them autographed by the author.

If you’re looking for your next read, come out to an author event. You may discover your next favorite author.

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Matthew Arnold Stern

A novelist and award-winning public speaker and technical writer. My novels Amiga and The Remainders are available now.