Monday, May 14, 2007

Book Signing Jitters

Book Signing Jitters


Heide AW Kaminski

I took a flyer to the local newspaper. I drove around with a flyer attached to my rear windshield for several weeks. Heck, I even got a local radio station to make an announcement.

And now I am sitting at the café.


Such is the fate of an unknown author. Just in case I brought with me not only the books I am here to sell and sign today, but also copies of my other print books (three more) and copies of all of the anthologies that include stories of mine: 15 all together.

You look at my books and you look at my resume and you must think “Dang! She’s got to be making a living off her books.”

Not so.

A few days ago, I received a royalty check. $2.01. Yup, two dollars and one cent.

I spent two years writing this book?

Calculate the hours I put in and figure out my hourly wage. Could make a spot in the Guinness Record book for lowest pay ever?

Not so.

I’d be competing with thousands of other authors for that spot!

So why do we do it? Why do we slave over this fruitless occupation?

Two reasons:

It’s an obsession. It’s a hunger, an addiction you just can’t break. I was born that way. From the moment I could speak, I told stories. From the moment I could maneuver a crayon across paper, I filled note pads, napkins, placemat, scrap papers with stories.

Some authors make it. Either they have a famous or influential parent or are already known as a singer/actor/politician, etc. (in which case the already wealthy person not only gets a hefty advance – regardless of talent – and also free mega advertising, or they have a publisher’s clearing house moment: sheer luck (in which case talent helps, but talent alone is worth nothing, you need talent and sheer luck.)

Just like millions of people waste their money gambling, thousands of budding authors waste their time and dreams hoping for the one moment when an important person catches a glance of their labor and enough of a glance to glance again and realize “Hey, this has potential!”

My book signing started half an hour ago. No one has come into the café yet, not even the people who promised they’d be there.

There are four customers who were already here when I arrived. One’s an older woman who looks as though she’s off the streets, lingering here for a comfy couch and free coffee.

Three men are avidly discussing topics such as yoga.

Should I approach them?

I am a shy writer.

Public speaking is not my forte. How am I ever going to make it in the lime light? Trust me, I’ll blossom!!!

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Blogger Henri de Montmorency said...

You should have taken dear ol' Henri with you, Ezra! Then, I could have scared them into buying them! Don't worry, ol' girl...the average booksigning sells two least you made the effort which is more than I can say for someone else I shall not mention...;o)

Henri de Montmorency

May 14, 2007 at 1:56 PM  
Blogger Janelle Dakota said...

I must agree with Henri. Book signings are best attended with a writerly friend ;)

You were sitting at the cafe when you posted this blog and you've left me hanging. How did the day end? Any signings? I love a good cliffhanger.

I'd say, "Next time, let me know and I'll be there" but it's easy to surmise that you weren't anywhere near my neighborhood. There is no such thing as free coffee in Seattle!

May 16, 2007 at 12:21 AM  
Blogger Ana said...

Dear Heide,

I've known you for so long and I know about your endeavours and efforts. You go, gal, and you will hit the spotlight... I mean, you will reach the limelight and the victory will be even more savoured by all that you had to go through...

June 23, 2007 at 7:58 AM  
Blogger Layne Blacque said...

I really got a kick out of reading this particular post. I'm a shy writer too, so I feel your pain. You're out there and doing it -- that's what counts.

August 30, 2007 at 5:12 PM  

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