You know all those Facebook and Twitter posts that show me at one bookstore or another with my books spread out in a lovely fan shape and a possum grin stretching my face? Well, I AM having a good time. I DO love to meet new people and, of course, I ADORE talking about myself and my books. But here’s the truth, and I’m sharing this because I believe that all this fairy dust I sprinkle over my life in order to show myself in the best possible light for all this social media, well, it’s another fancy-spancy word for lying.
This past weekend, I drove from Fayetteville, Arkansas to St. Louis, Missouri. My good friend and talented writer, Ruth Weeks, came along with me. The main event of the weekend was my speaking engagement at Saturday Writers in St. Peters. Ruth and I were also scheduled to sign books at All on the Same Page bookstore on Friday afternoon and, on Saturday, directly after my presentation, at The Book House in St. Louis.
Now. You should know that I am nervous about driving in city traffic. Particularly in big city traffic when I don’t know the area. However, I have a GPS, and on this trip, I had Ruth, the red-haired witchy woman, riding shotgun. So, while I fretted a bit, we zipped across traffic, and on and off exit ramps and side-streets, and down alleys with no major problems. Yes, I made a wrong turn or two or three. Didn’t matter. We just went around the block, or to the next on-ramp and gave it another try. These little side-trips were accompanied by Ruth’s roaring laughter and my serious cussing.
My point is, we got where we were going and I feel pretty darn good about myself for making it happen. Thank you Jesus, and to the bitch in the GPS I offer sincere apologies for making you go nuts and blat ‘ Reee cal cu lating’ four dozen times when I got tangled in that detour. All six times.
Here’s what I want to share with you. Ruth and I had an absolutely glorious time on this trip. Saturday Writers is one of the most talented group of writers it has been my pleasure to meet. The members are kind and funny and smart, oh my Lord, so smart. The auditorium where I spoke is gorgeous. I would drive twice as far to speak there every weekend if they’d let me. Dennis and Robyn Tidwell, owners of All on the Same Page bookstore in Creve Coeur were gracious and I enjoyed visiting with them both. Michelle Barron and her daughter Kim at The Book House were awesome. Ruth and I talked about everything under the sun from philosophy to politics to religion to book plotting. The entire weekend was a delight.
I sold a total of five books.
Here’s why I’m sharing this little tidbit of information, the number of books I sold at all three events, with you. Because as authors, as shameless promoters of our own books because no one else is going to market our beautiful babies, we are told to “frame posts on all social media sights in a positive light.” Well, I get that. I do
But, here’s the rub. It sets us up. I click on Facebook and see my brother and sister authors at one book signing or another, or speaking from a podium or laughing at one event or another and, I think, wow, what the heck am I doing wrong? My last book signing I not only didn’t sell one single book but someone stole all my bookmarks and a dog peed on my book bag.
So, I’m going to tell you the truth.
If you love writing and you get off on speaking, and meeting new people and hearing their stories is a joy for you, then write and publish and enjoy the heck out of your life. For me, the experience IS the joy. The adventure is in the journey, not the destination. But if you think writing six hours a day and promoting and speaking and traveling and racking your brain for new, different, intriguing ways to make readers look at your book–if you think all of that is going sell boxes and boxes of your novel and make you money? Well, I hear Walmart is looking for greeters.