Friday, December 28, 2012

Just Do It...A Book Signing Tragedy

I have been neglectful.

With the hype of the holidays and the excitement of publishing my second book (Daughters of Night: Possession, now available through CreateSpace and Amazon), I'm really really glad that I took some time away from committing to promoting other authors, because I would have failed them miserably. To say I've been busy is a gross understatement. Very gross.

I'm not making any commitments here, because I know me better than anyone (except for perhaps my best friend) and I know that I'll fall short of any commitment this week. My schedule is just too too hectic. There is one post that I wanna put out for you, that will be coming tonight or tomorrow, depending on when I can put the finishing touches on it. It should have been out a week ago, but again, I'm a bit unreliable right now on these things. But the upcoming post is a great interview from my good buddy +Eddie McGarrity. Well, it's from Elrood the Elf, but his typist is Eddie, and he's the one that put me in touch with the coolest elf I've ever met. Who just so happens to be the ONLY elf I've ever met. But I don't wanna give away too much yet, this upcoming post will be fun fun fun, and I don't wanna spoil it!

So, I have to share with you my fail moment today. I had two-well, I suppose really three-but they're combined into one major fail that was my Friday.

I finally got the balls to try for a book signing. I won't lie, I was absolutely TERRIFIED of the rejection. Yes, yes, I know rejection is all a part of the indie author experience. But I don't have to like it. Anyway, I changed my outfit three times on my way out of the house, which was 2 hours later than I had planned because I suddenly started chickening out. I actually called myself a pussy and berated myself in the car for chickening out. Then I went to my local indie bookstore, Carmichael's. I tried the one closer to me, and realized quickly that there was absolutely no parking lot for this building and all the parking lots around it were strictly marked for the other businesses. I drove around for probably twenty minutes looking for a spot to park where I wouldn't get towed away. No luck. I decided, then, to go to the sister Carmichael's a short drive away (I'm talking, 7 min in traffic). Barely found a spot there. I was off to a rocky start. 

I sat there, pumping myself up, yelling at myself for being such a baby, and texting my best friend for a confidence boost for several minutes before I worked up the courage to get out of my car. Forgetting my coat at home in my rush, I shivered as I walked back a block to the bookstore, opened the door and went inside. I perused the shelves of the tiny store for a few min to buy me more courage and to listen to the conversations around me, trying to gauge how friendly and receptive the people there might be. 

Finally, tired of looking at nothing in particular, I marched right up to the counter and asked for a manager or something of the nature. The guy pointed at a girl near my own age, and I immediately felt like a fish out of water, gasping for air. She didn't look friendly at all. At first. I soon found out though that she really was friendly, and she told me about a program they do, but the guy I needed to talk to about a signing was out. So I stressed myself out for nothing. Whew! I shook Miranda's hand and she gave me some info, and then I was out the door and in my car in less than a breath's time.

Now, I should add here that Miranda most likely did not look as intimidating as I had originally seen her. She was a really friendly and helpful lady, and I really like her now, but at the time, my nerves were so horrible that I was imagining all sorts of horrible terrible scary things. Things like Medusa and dragons and vermicious knids. (Who got that reference??)

Back in the safety of my car, I turned the radio up to calm me down and then I realized I was still chewing gum. The same gum I had been chewing in the store. Through the whole meeting with Miranda. 

OMG. Etiquette Rule #1, remove gum and other obstacles that could slur, blur, or otherwise inhibit clear speech, or that may seem rude, nervous, or otherwise distracting and potentially revolting to anyone you do business with. I felt so stupid. And I chastised myself yet again for not only freaking myself out so bad that I forgot to take the gum out of my mouth before I went into the store, but also for being so rude as to chew gum during what was supposed to be my first professional introduction into the world of bookstores as an author. I totally blew it. 

A little less terrified, though embarrassed at my stupid mistake, I drove on to my favorite Barnes and Noble. I pulled in, and as I parked, suddenly, I was filled with terror and dread. This was a majorly massive bookstore with thousands upon thousands of titles and authors much more accomplished than myself coming in regularly. I was a peon and I was terrified of the big bad bookstore.

I don't know why, I'd been in there a thousand times before. I suppose things change when you're on the other end of the book.

So the first thing I did was roll down my window and spit out my gum. I was NOT making that mistake again. Then I rolled the window back up and panicked. I decided perhaps some lip gloss would give me the courage I needed. Then I decided the circles under my eyes were too noticeable. The blemishes were too obvious. I ended up applying full face makeup, simply because I was too nervous to go in without a mask on. I will admit, I felt more confident when I was dolled up, and with renewed confidence I grabbed my bag and walked in the doors. (PS, that's me dolled up on the right. The lip gloss didn't last long, I hate the stuff!)

I browsed for a few minutes, trying to get my bearings even though I knew the store well. I browsed and browsed, and finally got the guts to walk up and talk to the customer service desk. On my way there, I passed the restrooms and my bladder screamed, so I took a few extra minutes for a potty break and a touch-up in the mirror for one last confidence boost. 

I strutted out of the bathrooms and made my way to the customer service desk. There were two people there, so I patiently waited my turn. The lady working finally looked at me and I stepped up. I asked for the event coordinator. He had left less than fifteen minutes before. I thanked her for the time, rushed to my car, and jetted out of there, tail set firmly between my legs and hating myself for letting my nerves waste my chance at talking to the person who handles book signings, therefore wasting my time. Had I not browsed for 20 minutes, I may have a book signing scheduled right now. Maybe not. But now I'll never know, because my chicken nature was a-cluckin' away. 

So, that being said, I would like to give a word of advice to any brand spanking new authors out there who, like me, are horrifically intimidated by the daunting idea of asking a bookstore to let you do a book signing. Do whatever you think gives you the most confidence. Even if you think you don't need it, do something that will make you feel beautiful. Put on those spectacles and look smart but sassy. Give yourself an extra confidence boost before you leave your house, and bring something to push that confidence up one more notch for when you get there. It's scary. Yes, it's scary for no reason, but it's scary nonetheless. For those of us not accustomed to walking up to strangers and asking them to promote you as an author, it's terrifying, and it makes you feel like you don't deserve to be there.

But when you're done, at the end of the day, you will feel so much better about putting yourself out there than if you had pulled up, got too scared, and drove away. Go for it. The worst they can say is no, and then you're no worse off than you were, save for a bruised pride that you WILL get over. I sit here sharing my embarrassing moments with you in hopes that you will realize that your pride will recover no matter how dumb you think you feel or how poorly you think you did. What matters is that you put yourself out there. No one can ever take that away from you. So go for it. And when you do, come back here and give me a virtual high five!

Oh, and don't chew gum.

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