Showing posts with label author events. Show all posts
Showing posts with label author events. Show all posts

Mar 5, 2018

Authors in Strange Situations


Image result for cartoon convict



Nobody tells you that promoting the books you write requires you to be adaptable and have a sense of humor. We picture authors jetting all over the country, sipping champagne and telling adoring fans about their latest novel, but that's not reality for the vast majority of us. I loved the story one author told about arriving at a bookstore where he had an audience of one. The fan told him he'd really liked the book, though he admitted he might not have chosen to read it except, "It was the only one they had in solitary confinement."

I haven't met any ex-cons who are fans (that I know of), but I have ended up in strange situations. I want to state here for the record that I am EXTREMELY grateful to libraries and bookstores who allow me to come for a Sit & Sign or, even better, a talk. However, it doesn't always go the way one might imagine.

*** There was the library where they'd booked two events at the same time in the same room. The other event was a League of Women Voters meeting (in a Presidential election year), so I ended up in the children's room, with those cute little 2-foot high tables and miniature chairs.
Image result for cartoon images roof collapse***I spoke once in the Library Annex, a building so old I worried about the roof collapsing. And if any of my audience had allergies to mold...








 ***Scheduled for a Meet the Author Sit & Sign, I arrived to find the librarian who'd contacted me had retired, and no one on the job seemed much interested in her program. They'd scheduled another author to give a talk at the same time, so I got to sit and watch people file into the conference room to hear him. (They didn't even have to pass by my table to get there.) I heard every word of his speech from my table in the hallway behind the door. It was very entertaining, and when he was finished I watched people leave with his book, not even aware I was there.

***I once sat in a bookstore promoting my historicals and heard a customer ask at the front desk if they had any historical mysteries. Asked what era, the woman said she liked medieval and Tudor. The clerk led the woman RIGHT PAST ME to a section where she introduced her to a few of her favorites. Ummm, chopped liver here?

***At one library my audience was very small--three people. When I started chatting with them I realized it was the librarian's mother and her two sisters. She'd called them when it became clear no one else was going to show up!
***Recently I stopped at a library where I'm scheduled to speak and found that nobody there knew about it. The librarian had been reassigned, and yes, they'd love to have me come, but could it be Saturday, not Thursday, and in the morning, not evening.* (It's a good thing I don't have a day job!)

Ask any author who's done a book tour and they'll tell you about being asked where the bathroom is, if "you" carry the New York Times, and what books you can recommend for a fourteen-year-old who really doesn't like to read. They'll tell of events where none of the employees knew an author was coming, and a table had to be cleared really quickly for her use. Of librarians who schedule a talk mostly so they can pick the author's brain about how they might get published. And about the homeless people who attend because there are refreshments afterward. And sometimes there's absolutely no one. Time doesn't fly in those cases.
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Still, it's fun. I enjoy the exchange with readers and with the people who serve as guides for reading: librarians and book store clerks. It's just that authors, like the rest of the world, have to adjust their expectations once in a while. The world doesn't revolve around us; in fact, the world doesn't ever intend to.

* The event is at the Port Tampa City Library, March 10, 2018, at 11:00 a.m. I'll be speaking on mystery writers who are very good but don't have the big name recognition.


Nov 3, 2014

The Winter Slowdown

I tend to book fewer author events once October is gone. In the first place, the tourists have returned home, at least the ones who shop for books. Visitors who come north in the fall and winter tend to have goals like skiing or snowmobiling, so they don't visit bookstores much.
In the second place, people who live up north start heading south. Michigan bookstores don't host many authors outside the summer months because there just isn't the return on the time invested.
In the third place, the weather is full of surprises, so booking a trip to Traverse City or Grand Rapids is a bit of a crap-shoot. Will I be able to get there, will it be a nail-biting ride, and will anyone else show up if I do make it?
In the fourth place, I need time to focus on writing. I plan one more Dead Detective book (though #3 has yet to appear). I got the cover art for the 4th Simon & Elizabeth (left), which comes out early in 2015, and I'd like to do one more of those. And my Maggie Pill books are taking off nicely, so a third one is forming in my head, sort of a cloudy mist right now with a title (MURDER IN THE BOONDOCKS) and a story line involving rescue horses.
I can't write more than one book at a time, so I need to get them prioritized and sketched out, possibly getting two rough drafts done over the winter. My rough drafts are always REALLY rough, but I write them (to get them out of my head), leave them alone for a month or two, and finally
go back and revise (usually I scream in dismay at how awful they are and THEN revise.)  :)
So winter is a good time to stay home and get back to what I'm completely nutty about: writing. That is not to say that if there's a sunny winter's day when someone wants to meet for lunch, I would ever, ever refuse.

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