We laugh on the Playground about how real friends keep you from getting too cocky about things. Should your head get a little too big, or your attitude a little too smug, your friends are the ones who will burst your bubble and remind you not to believe your own press releases.
Forcefully, if necessary. ~grin~
While the Playfriends haven’t had to smack me down recently, I’ve found the Universe will do a good job of that on its own. “Feeling a little cocky are you, Kimberly, with your USA Today tag and a NRCA award and a whole bunch of ‘friends’ on Facebook? Think you’re hot snot because RT gave you a nice review? Well, here’s a little something to take you down a peg or two and remind you of your place in the food chain: a book signing.”
Book signings are something I dreamed of before I was published. Avid readers lined up for the chance to say Hi and get a book autographed by me. The photo ops, the strokes to the ego… ahh, *that* would be so cool.
And book signings can be quite cool. I really do love meeting the readers and nothing thrills me more than signing a book for someone.
Book signings can also be the most soul-destroying things a writer will ever face. There’s nothing quite like going to a book signing and no one shows up. That stings. Even though I know it’s not my fault, that it’s not personal, that it may be the time or the place or the weather keeping the crowds of fans away, it still stings.
I’ve also spent time at multi-author signings where there’s a really popular author present (and for some reason they always sit near me), and the fans are headed to that author’s table without making eye contact with me. (And if Popular Author is close to me, their line will eventually snake past my table, and that’s really when everyone gets uncomfortable. The reader is right there, stuck in front of me and my books – which they’re really not interested in – and desperately avoiding eye contact.)
Or readers meander by, look at my little name placard and disappointment registers on their face when they realize I’m not Popular Author.
Oh, yeah, *that* will bring me right back down to earth.
My rational reader brain reminds me that I’m not a fan of every book by every author and that it’s not personal. But the needy, neurotic author still pouts and craves a drink.
But I’m not going to quit doing book signings. As long as there’s a single reader who comes by, tells me they enjoyed one of the books (whether or not they buy the one in front of me), it’s completely worth it. I’m still awed anyone – other than my mother – reads any of my books.
So, yeah, it can be a bit of a smackdown, but it’s also a good reminder of why I write books in the first place: It’s not for the lists I might hit or the awards I might win or the reviews I might garner. It’s because someone, somewhere, wants to read what I write.
Oops, there goes that bubble inflating again…