Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Good Karma?

Last weekend was exhausting for me. In addition to the luncheon (see Angel’s post from yesterday), this was also the weekend of AC’s dance recital. That meant I spent hours on Friday at dress rehearsal before getting to go hang out with the author guests that evening. Saturday morning, I got AC ready, went to the luncheon, did my thing for a while, then ran over to the other side of the Civic Center to see AC twirl her baton, came back to the luncheon, did my thing again, then ran back over to the concert hall to see her ballet number. Everything got done – I was able to be a mom and the HOD president and an author all at the same time. But I was in bed, fast asleep, by 10.00 Saturday night.

Because the fun didn’t stop there! Oh, no, I was scheduled to give a Publishing 101 workshop at the local library Sunday afternoon!

Our local library system received the first ever RWA Library Grant to promote awareness of the genre and increase their collections of romance. Heart of Dixie is their partner in this grant, and we have a wonderful line up of workshops set up through the summer and early fall. My workshop was the kickoff, and while I was excited about doing it, it was tough putting on makeup and heels and psyching myself up for another event when all I wanted to do was sit in the recliner and recuperate.

But everything seemed to go really well. I had a good crowd, and they seemed to enjoy it. I certainly saw lots of folks taking notes, and we ran over by 45 minutes from all the questions.

I don’t claim to be an expert on anything, but I think I answered everyone’s questions – or at least gave them enough of a clue to find the correct answer – but one question did kind of throw me. One soft-spoken lady asked what I got out of the workshop. Why was I there telling them about publishing? What was in it for me?

I have to admit, I had to think about that one. Most of the attendees weren’t romance readers – and the few that were I already knew through other events like the luncheon – so if I was hoping to sell a lot of books to these folks, I’d be sadly disappointed. The best I could come up with was “Good Karma.”

Folks seemed surprised.

Publishing isn’t a zero-sum game. Your success or failure has no effect on my success or failure. Your sale doesn’t mean I lost a sale. I’m not damaging my chances of selling my next book by giving you advice on how to sell yours.

It’s one of the many things I love about RWA in general and HOD in particular. I’d probably still be stumbling around in the dark, trying to figure out how this crazy business works, and storing books on my hard drive if not for the fabulous FABULOUS people in RWA and HOD. No one is climbing to the top and pulling the ladder up behind them. How do I pay back the people who held the ladder for me? By holding the ladder for the next set of writers coming up.
If nothing else, maybe these folks won’t bad-mouth me on the internet. Maybe they’ll recommend me to someone they know who does read romance.

Good Karma. Paying it back by paying it forward. (Or there’s always the chance I just like to hear myself talk. Teaching habits die hard.)

Is there a better answer for that question? If you were in the audience, what would you have expected me to say? Or, if you’ve done something similar – given a workshop, shared your knowledge or experience – what was your motivation for doing so?



Smarty Pants said...

Building a good name is invaluable. Whether it sells your books or earns you brownie points, its never a bad idea.

Playground Monitor said...

I think "Good Karma" is an excellent answer. Paying it forward is a wonderful concept. More people should practice it instead of always operating with a what's-in-it-for-me attitude. Right now I'm going through a 40-week grief recovery program so I can then take the facilitator training and help others navigate this very emotional and devastating divorce process. There's no way I could ever begin to pay back for all the things friends and family have done for me over the last year, but I can sure as heck pay it forward by helping others.

Great post!

Instigator said...

Nope, I think that was an excellent (and true) answer to the question. We all love what we do and we're happy to share that love with other people.


Kathy said...

Don't you just love questions that take you off guard and make you reevaluate life? :D

Excellent answer, PC! And all of us in HOD love the time and knowledge you continue to pass on to us. ;)

Lynn Raye Harris said...

That's pretty much the answer I would have given. Because I am very aware that I got where I am because I had help in the form of information, support, a cheering section when I needed it, inspiration by example, etc. I was inspired, and I want to inspire.

Angel said...

One thing I have learned as I've become immersed in the romance writing/reading community, is that the people here are incredibly giving. Yes, there are a few bad eggs who are spiteful and mean, just as in any organization or group. But the majority (which is unusual, I think) are more than willig to go out of their way to offer advice, a helping hand, monetary gifts (like books for libraries in need), and the like.

Good Karma is a good phrase to describe it. :) Romance readers and writers are the most loving, giving community I've encountered. But then, who better to demonstrate love in action. :)


Problem Child said...

"love in action," Angel? Really?


Okay, so I'm acting like a 15-year-old today...

(so much for that good karma...)

Angel said...

Well, if they were in MY books, that could be taken LITERALLY... :)