I must admit, I am not really a people person. I’m a bit awkward, and not really sure of myself, and I have a sense of humor that is too off-the-wall for most people. That is one reason why being an author is such a good fit for me–I can work from home and most of my interactions are imaginary.
Nevertheless, there are times when I must put on the public persona of the Successful Author. I’m not really that good at this one-on-one public thing…yet. I’ve had the good fortune to be involved in multi-author events with other indie authors, with more experience at it, and I’ve been able to see how they approach the gig.
It’s tricky–you can’t just assault people, shouting “Buy my book!”
Walking the line between being obnoxious, and telling people what they want to know about the book is tricky. The minute someone asks me what Huw the Bard is all about, my mind grinds to a halt. It’s almost like I never even read it, although I do remember writing it.
My first public event was last month at NorWesCon, and that was interesting because I was a vendor, so I was there all four days, but in the vendors’ room. For me, that was a tee-shirt-and-jeans event, because I don’t own any costumes, or ren-fair clothes (yet).
My second public event was this last Saturday. Two other local indies, fantasy author Lee French, and steampunk author Jeffrey Cook joined me at the Two Sister’s Tea Room in downtown Olympia for a book signing. This was a very different situation, and was much more pleasant. This signing was timed for the middle of one of the largest festivals in the the city, the annual Procession of the Species, so we had many people stopping and conversing with us.
Several people really stand out in my mind–I was moved to tears by one lady from Hawaii who bought Dawn of Steam, First Light, from Jeffrey. She said she was a new reader, that she had come from a place where reading was not encouraged. She also said she was currently enjoying Charles Dickens’ classic novel, The Pickwick Papers. I was awed by the absolute joy she took in the written word as she looked through Jeffrey’s book, and by how happy it made her that he signed it for her.
It was really brought home to me then that reading is still a privilege denied to many people of the world, often not by their wish, but by circumstances beyond their control.
Then there was the wonderful character who was absolutely crazy for dragons. He not only bought Lee’s book, Dragons in Pieces, but insisted on buying one of the little plastic Dragon heads she had created with her 3-d printer as decorations.
Lee was selling books like she owned the only snocone stand in the desert.
I wasn’t, but I had a great time anyway, and handed out a lot of book marks.
For that event, I went all out clothing-wise. I went to the Goodwill and shopped the fat-lady rack on senior citizens’ half-price day, and found what seemed like the perfect, brilliantly-garish, machine-washable, fancy-label jacket to wear with my rather boring black blouse and black trousers. It was only about twenty years out of style, and was the perfect price for my tapped out pocket-book: $3.99, with my old-peoples’ discount.
I am still looking for the right event-outfits. I want something a little wonderful, but with not quite as much purple as the flashy jacket. I love purple, but as an accent color.
Our next event is in three weeks, so that gives me a lot of time to find something suitable for the comfy grandma who writes RPG game-based hack-and-slash epic adventures, and also sometimes writes literary fantasy.
Maybe what I need is a green velvet renaissance faire dress, with Cloud’s buster-sword from Final Fantasy VII in a shoulder scabbard. That should get my style of writing across well enough.