Monday, March 29, 2010

The Author Paradox

I’ve decided that “author” is one of the most paradoxical careers someone can possibly have. Think about it. We start out spending all our time happily in front of a computer or notebook, writing out our stories. It is a quiet profession, characterized by long hours of peacefully plotting and editing…until you go from hopefully writer to published author. Then all of a sudden you have to turn into a salesman! You have to be out and about, pitching your story to everyone, calling newspapers in hopes that they’ll mention you book, writing things entirely unrelated to your story because you’re looking for new ways to get your name out there, and generally spending time you once used to write on hoping people will now buy your writing. It’s enough to send someone into culture shock!
Yes, this particular post formulated during a short conversation I had with a woman at my book signing this weekend. It was one of those “um, interesting” book signings. :P For the first hour to hour and a half I didn’t sell a single book. The managers were even starting to feel sorry for me. It was enough to make me wonder if I was going to go home that night and reconsider my career choice. But happily, traffic started picking up and peopled started making eye-contact with me. By the time it came to a close the stack of books on my table was reduced to one short pile which the manager had me sign and put out in the autograph copy section. (Praise God and deep sigh of relief) But still, one can’t help but stop and think about the emotional rollercoaster that is also known as authorhood. ;)
All and all, I really did enjoy talking with the people who were brave enough to approach my table. I got to meet a family of bibliophiles, several young writers, and a lot of sweet people who were willing to buy the book just because they knew it is my first. And there are those entertaining moments. I had one woman act like the book was literally singeing her fingers when she found out I write Christian fiction (a very strange “drop and run” maneuver followed). The last woman who came by was so excited to find out it was Christian based she bought several to give to others. That’s what I really like to hear. I didn’t write the book just to be an entertaining mystery. I’ve always hoped it would inspire people to think about the question, “What does it mean to say ‘I believe in God’?” I can hope and pray! :)

17 comments:

Lydia Kang said...

I would have been so anxious too. I'm so glad it turned out okay! Remember, so many of us can only dream of having a book signing one day....

T. Anne said...

It sounds like it went VERY well! If I ever reach that stage I'm sure I'll be a bundle of nerves. It sounds like you might have some new fans. i never forget the authors I meet in person.

Emily Ann Benedict said...

Meeting new readers and fellow writers really is the best part of the experience.
Whenever I feel a little overwhelmed I remind myself of all the great people I've met and it's worth it.

And I'm sure both of your will make it to the book signing stage! Trust me. :)

Karen said...

Thanks for the pictures and report, wish I could've been there. There really is a big change in lifestyle after writing. wow. Blessings

Joanne said...

Congrats on your book signing! It seems like such a nice way to connect too, with the readers who you spent so much time writing for. How wonderful to talk with and meet you audience like that :)

destrella said...

Sounds like it was a roller coaster of emotions. It ended well! :O)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Great pics, Emily Ann! Congrats on the successful book signing.

I met several author friends at a booksigning. I still keep in touch with them.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Jill Kemerer said...

My published friends have had similar experiences. It's scary, isn't it? I'm so glad you had a good showing. I'll bet your personality welcomed people!

Jody Hedlund said...

Oh, boy! The thought of a book signing does give me the shivers! I've been hearing that even very popular authors don't get big turnouts for their signings, and that book signings aren't really the wave of the future! My publishing house encouraged me to do a local "launch" party. But otherwise have let me decide if I want to do more than that.

Emily Ann Benedict said...

There us a big unknown factor that is most definitely scary. I've heard book signing horror stories too! I'm not sure what the future holds for it, but I get a chance to sell 20-30 books in a day so I'll take that chance! You really have to be engaged though. I've been told by the managers that a lot of authors just show up, but don't put much effort into meeting people. I'd feel so guilty if I didn't sell any books!

Carol J. Alexander said...

Congratulations again, Emily. Sounds like the day was a success. Have any more signings on the horizon?
Have they written you up in the local paper yet? I live in a rural area and everytime Jason F. Wright (Christmas Jar and Wednesday Letters who also lives nearby) publishes a new book they write about it in the paper. I'm sure that helps him out tremendously.

TereInSB said...

Sounds like you have a really healthy attitude and a good handle on what's happening. You are loved and supported. Also, looking good!

Brianna said...

I'm glad the book signing went well, Emily! I enjoyed the pictures!
Yeah, if I ever get to the book signing stage (meaning, ahem, I have to first finish writing my book and then attempt to get it published) I will be a nervous wreck because I'm such an introvert and normally avoid talking to strangers... :-O LOL! Course, maybe if I could keep myself on a "high" from the excitement over the opportunity to share the story I've penned with the world, I might do okay. ;-) I know one thing, if I ever have a book published I want lots of people to read it!!!

Emily Ann Benedict said...

I don't have any more book signings scheduled at the moment, but I'm hoping to get one soon!
So far I can get the papers to announce my signings, but as of yet I can't get them interested in a real write up. :? Maybe someday.

Thanks Aunt Tere! :)
Don't worry, Brianna, one you get to the book signing stage I'm sure you'll rise to the occation!!

Cara said...

I hate to admit this, but 'bibliophile' was a new word for me - I had to look it up. :) I'm sorry... maybe it has to do with not being an author. ;P

I'm so glad that it turned out so well, Emily! :D

CMOM Productions said...

It sounds like it went well overall. :) I can just imagine the "drop and run."

Tyrean Martinson said...

I'm glad your book signing ended well.

I hope that your next one is even bigger and better . . . praise God for your new fans, and hope that they spread the word about how wonderful you are and how great your book is.