It’s like I’m standing in the wings, waiting my cue to step out on stage. Even though I’ve practiced my lines and my stage directions until they are second nature, the butterflies still cavort in my belly. The “what ifs” rattle around in my brain. By contrast to a stage performance, however, this Saturday’s event isn’t rehearsed. I have to improvise, and hope that gobbledy-gook doesn’t come out of my mouth. Even though I wrote the darn thing, I’m afraid when someone asks me what my book is about, I’ll spout “Sasnao alwekn raov ane sdkfn.”
I’m nervous I’ll be the wallflower of the party, standing in the corner with no one to talk to. Which means, I’ll counter this possibility by throwing my few social graces to the wind and being the obnoxious one who gets in everyone’s business and rudely interrupting conversation. Either way, it’s a win-win for everyone (*snort*).
Before I became a writer—when I was “just” a reader—I confess I never knew author signing events existed. Other than the name-in-lights sort of Big Author Signing in a Big Book Store in some Big City far from me, I didn’t know it was possible to spend an afternoon in a room filled with other enthusiastic romance readers, rubbing elbows with people who actually write what I read.
Surely, these events are more like a circus side show, with authors acting as their own carnival barkers, hawking their particular feature attraction or freak show to a curious audience. Step right up, folks… forget about the bearded lady or the two-headed goat, I have an intergalactic love story of a stripper and a thief on the run for their lives with nothing to do between moments of panic and certain death but make hot love to each other! I’ve never been a fan of “the hard sell” and usually turn tail and run the other way.
However, I hear these events are less used-car-salesman selling tactics and more simply a casual opportunity to meet your favorite authors and spend a few minutes actually talking to them as if – gasp!—they’re normal people. It’s like “who would you invite to dinner,” only you don’t have to stress about which is the salad fork and what’s the proper way to pass the salt& pepper… you can just… talk. And while you’re talking to a favorite author, you can also take the opportunity to maybe meet an author you don’t know. With all the awesome indie authors out there, who knows what next diamond in the rough you’ll find.
Seriously, I know it will work out just fine and everyone will have a blast. I might sell some books, I might meet some new readers. I might have the best time of my life. Scratch that, I’m sure it will be an awesome time, because I know I am in the company of fabulous and fun people—authors and readers alike!