As you read this blog, I am at the Romantic Times Conference in Chicago. Last week my book came out and this week, I'm doing the big author thing. A sort of baptism by fire. Two booksignings, a luncheon, an author event and unlimited social opportunities for authors to mingle with writers. Bless my poor, unprepared, introverted heart.
People like me. Really. It just uh, usually takes a while for me to warm up. Initially I come off a bit snobby, arrogant, shy, bored or disinterested. I am incapable of getting hit on in a bar unless my friend attracts a pair of guys and I get the wingman by default. It's counter-productive for me to hide in my hotel room, I'm trying to sell my book. So that just leaves alcohol. Which they frown upon at breakfast, so I'm going to have to at least go half the day without any social lubrication.
Sans tequila, my default defense mechanism is just to shut up and be invisible. I have the option to simply not speak to people. Seems snobby, but really, I'm just protecting us both from an awkward exchange. But when I do the author thing, I have to be sociable. I have to talk to people I don't know. I have to smile and nod when they start going on about their medical conditions. I'm scared to death that I'm going to be bad at the public persona-thing. That I'm going to make one of my faces without knowing it and offend someone.
But I'm even more frightened of being ignored. The luncheon has presold seats. As of the cutoff, I have a whopping 7 left over. Fortunately, they sold a lot of tickets so someone will have to sit at my table. Hopefully I will figure out what to say to them. Not the case at the booksignings. I just have to sit there while people avoid eye contact and scan over me in the search for the author they want. With my luck, I'll be near someone popular, like Sherrilyn Kenyon, and my table will be blocked by the mile-long line of people who wouldn't read my book if they were paid to. Then the one person that did come to see me, can't get to me.
But I can do this. I have my whole alternate persona together. I have snappy clothes. Flashy jewelry. Cute clothes. I'm getting my hair done and some cool nails. My facade will be carefully crafted. Let's just hope it holds up!
What kind of questions do you like to ask authors when you meet them? Give me some ideas so I can prepare answers. There's still two whole days of this thing left...