Sometimes these folks wonder how it is I have met and/or know so many authors, actors, producers, directors, musicians and other artists and creators that I like; and how I've been lucky enough to have become friends with more than a few.
- Find out where they are going to be in public, be it a con, a book signing, a reading, a lecture, a showing, a festival, a small show, a big show you can get a backstage pass for, a public event of some kind...
It's easy... they'll tell you when these things are happening, and ask you to show up and support their work.
- Go there, while being reasonably well groomed and bathed, preferably with a few friends who also like the creator in question (though not a huge gang all at once... that can be overwhelming). Big Plus if you include an item of swag you bought from them in your accouterments. Big minus if you go as them in cosplay, because that's just creepy.
Bringing me to...
- Say hi, and tell them you like the stuff they create.. but don't be creepy. You may love everything they have ever done, it has changed your life, you have defined yourself by it... but don't gush... too much anyway. A little gushing is OK.
- Remember, creators are fans too... And if you're a fan of their stuff, there's a good chance they're fans of other stuff you like, and you're fans of other stuff they like.
Most creators were fans... and very big intense fans at that... long before they were creators themselves, and becoming a creator doesn't stop them being a fan. You may love their stuff... but you may both gush together over your mutual love of someone elses stuff.
.. actually I can say without doubt, I have spent far more time with my creator friends, obsessing about the stuff that we love that other people have created, than every other subject combined
- Say hi on Facebook, or twitter, or their blogs, and add them. Follow their posts, interact with them. JUST LIKE ANYONE ELSE.
Because creators are people too... No matter how remote they may seem
Often, they're very lonely people, especially on the road stuck away from their families for weeks or even months at a time. Someone being genuinely nice to them and liking their stuff, and being genuine and human and real, and not just wanting a piece of them... is great.
One step beyond...
Now... here's the advanced level course, for those of you who would like to be IRL friends with your favorite authors, or at least hang out with them:
Creators are often broke (or at least not rich and not on big expense accounts), and often like things such as steak and beverages.
Yes, really, you and everyone you know may love everything they do, but most authors, actors, directors, and other creators in general, don't make very much money most of the time.. and often, most of what they do make goes into trying to make more of the stuff you like.
It may be years in between books, or gigs with decent pay. In between, they're just trying to get by,often while living in the stupidly expensive New York or Los Angeles...
...and no matter what, creators have lots of non creators to pay... Lawyers, agents, accountants. publishers... It's not cheap to be a creator who wants to make a living from their creation
So, when they're out on the road promoting their creations, creators are often trying to maximize enjoyment and fan engagement, while minimizing cost to their personal wallets (most creators are eating on their own "thank god this is tax deductible" dime most of the time. Even if you can get one to do so, every dime another company fronts you for "promotional expenses" is probably 2 dimes taken out of your earnings).
So, if you're cool, and you're not creepy, and after interacting you seem to like them, and they seem to like you... If you get the opportunity, offer them free food and beverages.
This works particularly well if that food is something that your city is particularly good at that they haven't tried, or it's one of their favorites, or if it's beyond their normal budget.
How do you do that?
"Hey... we really like what you do. We're going to get some of this awesome food. If you've got time and are up for it, we'd love to have you come get some of this awesome food with us. Because we love what you do, we'd be really happy if you'd let us buy you lunch/dinner/breakfast/elevenses"
Yes, really, it's just that simple...
If they have time, and you've been cool and non-creepy, there's a very good chance they'll take it. And if they don't have time, they'll still be happy you offered, because they know it means you like them, and their stuff.
Because the most important thing you have to remember, is that mostly, CREATORS ARE JUST LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE.
...except usually more broke, and with less time, and less room in their heads for stuff other than what they are creating.