Sunday, April 4, 2010

Signings and Wannabe Writers

I have been doing a number of signings and library events over the last while.  They've all gone pretty well.  It's fun to meet folks, and to talk about the book.  People have generally been interested, enthusiastic, supportive and all around really good. 

However, I have to let loose with a minor ketch...

At almost every event, there is an aspiring writer who has lots of questions.  Now, I am more than happy to share my experiences and to give whatever bits of advice I have, but...

I remember reading a great book on writing ,publishing and editing called:

78 Reasons Why Your Book May Never Be Published
and 14 Reasons Why It Just Might
- By Pat Walsh

It was a great book and I learned a lot from it.  In it, he (I assume Pat is a he) describes a meeting with a wannabe writer - a friend of a friend situation.  He agreed to meet with the aspiring author.  Turns out, the person only had ideas for a book, but had not actually written anything.

Now, I get it! 

Some girl at the signing I did this weekend monopolized my time for a good 20 minutes.  I am not an expert on how to write or how to get published, but she decided to pick my brain.  (I'm not sure there's much there to pick, but that's another story...)

I was a bit irked - I was in the store to sell books, after all (sold 15, so I guess that's okay).  I am still trying to build a reputation, develop an audience and all that.  I am happy to share my own experiences, but of course every situation and story is different.  Anyhow, this girl kept pushing and badgering me and seemed angry that I wouldn't tell her THE SECRET to getting published.  

Finally, I asked her about her writing.  Turned out (drum roll please) that she had not written anything yet, she just had an idea for a book. 

Now I totally get the Pat Walsh anecdote.

And - I have to say this even if it is cranky - I think it was kind of schmucky of her to gab with me for so long and then not to even buy my book.  Kind of rude, IMO.


  1. I guess I can see both sides to this. Obviously, if this gal was preveting you from chatting with others who were in line, waiting to see you, then what she did wasn't appropriate. Getting upset because you wouldn't reveal "the secret"... LOL That's just plain funny. Well, from this side of things. I'm sure it wasn't for you.

    However, the fact that she didn't buy your book isn't rude. Maybe she doesn't read that genre, but was excited to meet a real author. That's a big deal for someone who dreams of some day becoming one. The fact that you took the time to talk with her will probably sit well with her (unless she's totally unstable or something). I'm sure if she knows readers who like the type of books you write, she'll be more than excited to share her story about how she met you and that you were so helpful, etc. Who wouldn't want to buy a book from the author that was sensitive enough to talk to their aspiring writer friend? Just a thought. ;)

    Lynnette Labelle

  2. You make a good point Lynnette, and I confess I hadn't really thought of it this way. You're right: something may happen down the road that results from my chat with her. You never know :)

    Thanks, Jill

  3. I agree, write something put in the effort to learn from every resource, and if you ask a published author-- ask 2 to 3 pertinent questions, and then move on.

    But what do you do?

  4. Thanks Jeff.

    What do you do?

    I guess you just smile & nod & hope they (eventually) buy the book :)

    But I have to say, yikes, this girl was quite miffed that I wouldn't give her the MAGIC PILL to create a bestseller (if there were such a pill, I'd overdose on it!!!!)

  5. It sounds like you handled yourself with grace Jill. I'm going to look for that book...Lord knows my own novel has been languishing for too long. LOL!!!!

    Doing any signings in the States?

  6. Congrats on selling 15 books! :o)

  7. LOLA- thanks!

    JTT - nothing yet planned for USA but I really want to! ANd yes, JTT - get the Walsh 78 Reasons book - I found it immensely helpful!

  8. Ha ha. As an ex-bartender and waitress, I totally feel for you--the ones who monopolize you are rarely where you make your money. Next time try telling her you need to share your time with other people, but if she wants to stay in touch with you online and ask more questions, here are your Facebook and Twitter details...