Wednesday, 6 January 2016

IWSG Day! The HIGHS and Lows of being an Author

Welcome, IWSGers!  I'm insecure about books signings.  I have reason to be. 


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We all know the highs.  Those delirious times when you win awards and/or get a royalty cheque that takes you and your family to Europe rather than McDonalds.

I’ve had a few highs, winning the Derringer and the Arthur.  And I’m exceedingly grateful for them.

Because - thing is - authors get a lot of lows.  For some reason, most of my lows seem to cluster around that scariest of all activities:  the book signing.

Some people think the worst thing that can happen is nobody shows up.  Or when you’re on a panel of 4 authors, and only three people show up.

But that’s not the worst.

1.     Worse is when five people show up for your reading.  And they’re all pushing walkers.

And half way through, when you’re right in the middle of reading a compelling scene, one of them pipes up, “When does the movie start?”

Sometimes, even large crowds don’t help.

2.     I did an event this year with two hundred people in the audience.  I was doing some of my standup schtick, and it went over really well.  Lots of applause, and I was really pumped.  I mean, two hundred people were applauding me and my books!  A bunch of hands shot up for questions.  I picked the first one and a sweet young thing popped up from her seat and asked in a voice filled with awe, “Do you actually know Linwood Barclay?”

3.    Another ego-crusher:  I was reading in front of another large crowd last year.  Same great attention, lots of applause.  I was revved.  Only one hand up this time, and she said, in a clearly disappointed voice:

“You don’t look anything like your protagonist.”

So I said, “Sweetheart, not only that, I don’t look anything like my author photo.”

4.    Have you had any lows associated with being an author in public?  Let us know in the comments below.

Read other IWSG Day blog posts!  Follow this link:
 http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html

21 comments:

  1. Hmmm.... Sounds like book signings are something I should avoid. Oh well, I have to finish the damn book first before I worry about that.

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    1. It will come sooner than you think, Ken! Thanks for commenting.

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  2. Well played. I think you can handle yourself in front of a crowd. Or lack of crowd, for that matter.

    Though personally, if someone had asked me "When does the movie start?" I would have said "Right now!" and started acting the whole thing out scene by scene.

    IWSG January

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    1. Love it, CD! I shall quote you on that.

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  3. Loved this post. You made me giggle...a lot. Book signings. Been there, done that. The sad part is all the time we put into getting ready for the big event. But I guess I would be glad if only a few people come and we connect. Maybe 3 readers who are interested in your stories are better than 200 just looking for the freebies? Best wishes.

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  4. Loved this post. You made me giggle...a lot. Book signings. Been there, done that. The sad part is all the time we put into getting ready for the big event. But I guess I would be glad if only a few people come and we connect. Maybe 3 readers who are interested in your stories are better than 200 just looking for the freebies? Best wishes.

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    1. JQ, a well known author once told me that 'books are sold one at a time." I've always tried to remember that, when I travel to a book store, and only sell three books. But - those three people might tell another three, and then another...

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  5. I have to apologize. I could not stop laughing while reading this post! The visual of all the walkers ... Haha! In all seriousness, you've now scared me to death about ever doing a presentation to anyone over the age of thirteen. No, still kidding. (I write for kids and I've done writing workshops for elementary and middle grade kiddos.) I'm debuting at the end of this year in both the young adult and middle grade realms. I'm terrified to even hear about book signings. Also, I just read JQ's comment and there's a great point in there. Three seriously interested readers are better than a ton looking for a freebie. I'll have to remember that.

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    1. SA, you'll get a kick out of this. I was to have a grade 10 class at that 'movie' reading, but the teachers went on strike. So the library, in a panic, tried to get more for the audience. I think they bused in a nursing home.

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  6. LOL! Thanks for co-hosting the IWSG today and for tickling my funny bone! I've not had a chance to do a book signing yet, because I'm still working on that first book. I've certainly done presentations on writing and co-worshops with one of my sisters who is a published writer. I don't think anything about this writing process is easy. One of the things that keeps me going is that incredible writing high I feel when I am "in the flow." Wishing you fulfillment in your writing in this coming year!

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    1. Thank you, Fundy! Appreciate your commenting.

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  7. Your sharp mind has quick comebacks! My low came during an elevator ride at an author/reader convention. The woman looked at me, looked at the badge on the end of my lanyard, then asked, "Are you somebody I should know?" My high happened at the same convention when I won an award for my book and walked across the Las Vegas stage to make my acceptance speech.

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    1. I can't think of a better place to walk across a state to receive an award! Talk about a HIGH! Super-congrats for that, Sheri. And thanks for commenting :)

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    2. By the way, to that woman, I would have immediately replied: "Yes! You certainly should." (and indeed, she should)

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  8. Great post! I haven't yet had the opportunity to make a public appearance as an author, but I'm nervous about the prospect. Normally I'm fine in front of crowds, but the idea of one of these types of scenarios playing out makes me think hiding away with my writing might be a better idea.

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    1. I used to teach Public Speaking at college, LG. But it's totally different when you're talking about your own books - your babies!

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  9. An author event with 200 people? WOW!!! Events terrify me. I'll do them when the opportunity arises, but I'm not one of those authors who aggressively pursues them. In fact, if I can sell books another way, I do that instead!

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    1. I tell my students that when you get a book published you become two people: the writer and the author. The author has to be the public persona, and most of us are insecure about that. I sure am! Thanks for commenting.

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  10. Books signing are stressful. Once a woman got angry with me because one of my characters, who was adopted, referred to her birth mother as her real mother. The woman in the audience was adopted and resented the comment. I couldn't convince her it was all about character development, and I wasn't the character. Very strange. I love that you're sharing highs and lows. Makes the lows seem easier to take.

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    1. Kristina, that is SO typical! Readers often can't separate the writer from the main character, I find. Thanks for stopping by!

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  11. Hi Melodie.
    Your energy and sense of humor jump off the page. I love it. No surprise to read in the header that you are Canada's "Queen Of Comedy".
    Thanks for visiting my blog. Nice to meet you.
    Happy New Year!

    Michelle@Writer In Transit
    January co-host.

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