Sunday, August 27, 2006

Book signing

It’s 3:09 and I haven’t sold one book. I started at 2 pm, reluctant not so much negative as kind of realistic in my expectation, hopeful, but realistic.

To not even sell one book, that pretty much sucks more than a rejection letter.

Not one friend or relative today. I think I have worn out my welcome by the second book.

I don’t have the energy write now to be witty really. I thought as I sat here what a good blog entry this will be. I can make fun of all this and wow it will just be hysterical.

It’s not.

Let’s see…not only have I had two book signings in the last month completely BOMB (the last one it was only relatives that showed up and they couldn’t buy a book cause they already own several copies). But my fall writing classes, for the first time in two years have an enrollment of less than 2.

Not that I had an ego before but man this is kind of a blow and it doesn’t make me sit up and ask myself, Did I do something? Almost like did I offend anyone like maybe GOD? What the hell did I do wrong to scare everyone away?

Where once I worried about classes overcrowding and my hand aching at book signings, now I worry that maybe I have lost the magic touch as a teacher and my hand only hurts write now from typing this.

I have no humor or wit left for this ever so suckily humble moment. No readers and almost no students. No humor.

Reality is that while I teach and write because I love to do both I also have to make a friggin living or even half of a friggin living.

Yes, luckily tutoring and client work has increased and yes I do like both of those things quite a bit I LOVE to teach my writing class though. LOVE.

Shit, another ten people just walked in and smiled but didn’t look at me. What that means is I am smiling because that’s the polite thing to do and I am not looking at you because if I do then I have to have polite conversation with the pathetic author whose book clearly doesn’t interest me and I might do a pity thing where I buy and have you sign the book–

Actually no one does that. Wish they did today.

I had the an author show up and give me some unsolicited advice. Actually, she was lovely but I am in no mood for discussions about how hard it is to market yourself as a writer and nor am I interested in hearing helpful tips about marketing. Not now. Not today.

Oh and backstory to today is that I am moving.

You know what I just actually thought back to that author who showed up earlier, she kind of appeared in this apparition like way. Just as I was trying to convince a lovely customer of my creditability because Amazon.com just agreed to publish a short story of mine, she appeared, floated, tired and red faced. I know that look. It’s the look of an author who is tired of the pushing and pulling that the business side of writing requires…well requires if you want to sell anything.

The thought I had and shit I just had another, which I had first in the bathroom a few minutes ago:

1. Internet marketing is key to low budget ways of getting the word out.
2. Man, I just want to write and publish without worrying about selling. Can’t I just do that?

3:22 and still not one book.

I am done. I think it’s time to go. No more book signings. Ever.

But the booksellers are so generous and kind…I feel their support…and pity!

1 comment:

kbbate said...

Hey Hannah -- you're my idol! What I wouldn't give to have your problems -- sitting in a bookstore trying to sell the book I not only finished writing but actually published! And not just one book but TWO -- do you realize how amazing that is?

As I struggle to even make the time each day, or every other day, to work on the book I so ardently and desperately want to write, I honestly can barely envision the day when it might be done, never mind the dream of seeing it with a real cover and my name on it. Selling it is so far down fantasy road that I've never even strolled that far in my own head --I just want to finish it and (self) publish it.

So while I can imagine what a bummer it must be to sit in a store and not have people approach, to worry about your class having low attendance and dismay about your bottom line, you are a published author, an award-winning published author! (In Bird by Bird, Anne LaMott says the thrill disappears all too quickly once you experience it, but I find this very hard to believe -- being lazy and a slacker, I think I could coast on it for life.)

And now you're sharing what you know with other writers like me who want to accomplish what you have. So whatever the reason no one wanted your book that day, you are my current hero (OK, you and Bertrand Russell) and I sweat you SO bad, as my teenaged daughters would say!