I was recently asked by a sweet friend and fellow author to provide some feedback to her on some of the things I thought were most important when preparing for a book signing/convention. There were several incredibly important and well thought out questions. Everything from deciding how many books to bring with me to the type of swag I think readers like. Some of the answers were based on logistics, like driving or flying to an event, while others were really more a matter of preference.
However, the first question is what really stuck with me: How do you decide which events to do?
I thought on that one for a few minutes before I answered. There were several things to consider: time, money, location. I also consider who the organizer is. As an example, if they’re an author who typically writes steamy romance, those are likely the type of authors who will attend, and thus, the type of readers that will come. Since that’s not what I write, then I have to consider if that’s the right event for me to do.
But after everything I considered, I realized that my answer and went far beyond signings and conventions: people. The crux of my decision mainly comes down to if “my people” will be there, too. Now, it might seem silly to make that the main issue, but let me explain why it’s not.
No matter where you go, school, work, or social clubs, there is someone creating, participating in, and/or perpetuating drama. You know who they are. They make you feel like you’re in 7th grade again. Just like Hollywood has its train wrecks and trouble makers, so does the writing world (or any world for that matter!). There are those who demand to be placed next to certain authors at events. Others will try to explain to you why they should have hit the NY Times or USA Today Best Sellers list while someone else didn’t deserve it. And still others who will pout and want to know vote counts when they don’t win an award.
These are NOT my people.
You know who are my people? They’re people who lift each other up and are encouraging. They’re sounding boards for when the words won’t come as eloquently as I want them to and they’re there to help. And they find validation in the creation of their work, writing because it was what they were meant to do. These are the people I surround myself with because, when push comes to shove, we can never guarantee how successful a signing or convention will be. But if people who I know and trust to be kind and positive no matter how it turns out are there, then it’s all good.
As I said, this really goes so much deeper than signings and book events. Yes, these are the people I want by my side in this unpredictable career. We face trends and economic highs and lows. We fight with online pirating sites and people who think we should offer all of our books for free. We are all working hard to make it in this field, so having people by your side who will celebrate your successes and let you cry when thing don’t go as you hoped is invaluable. I know without a shadow of a doubt that I would not be where I am in my career without them. But my relationship with them transcends the writing world. We celebrate personal success, birthdays, and holidays. We’re also prone to making up any reason to grab a drink together. Our husbands have become great friends and even have a (not-so) secret group on Facebook where they share only loving and complimentary thoughts on us. 😉 They are my people. They are my best friends and confidants, and I am so grateful for them.
My life and career may not go the way I plan all the time, but if it doesn’t, I’ve got some solid people to help me along the way. And that’s what it’s all about.