Yep, here is the blog that may kill me. I have to be honest and say some negative things about authors. By the end of this blog, I will probably have my sad on. This blog is going to be a tough one for me to write because I hold authors in such high esteem. I know they are regular people and have off days and get crabby. But when you are meeting people who have taken the time to drive and sometimes fly to see you, you should suck it up and be nice and welcoming because your livelihood depends on them in a way.
Okay, you have read about my wonderful first meeting with Sherrilyn Kenyon. She is the gold standard to which I will probably always hold authors. I met her once more since that first time. This time I drove three hours to get my books signed. I have to say that Dianna Love once again was a hit with the crowd. We were in a small Barnes & Noble with very little room to seat people. It was hot and crowded. You could literally see people starting to wilt before the signing even started. I waited in line for about two hours and had the chance to meet up with Dianna as she walked the line talking to people. She was so funny and seemed to genuinely care about what the fans had to say. A few times she would run up and make notes and then comeback and talk some more. By the time I got to the front of the line, I was once again nervous (but not so much that I wanted to run. Sherri was most definitely running out of steam and you could tell it, but she sucked it up and kept on chatting and signing. She was rushed by the managers of the store because they wanted to close, but she kept saying that it would be just a little while longer. She made it through everyone with a lot of grace that I wouldn’t have had.
Moving on to my next meeting with authors...
One night in RP (it was Kris Cook Chatters then), a group of us were yappin. I know shocking, right? Anyhow, someone mentioned AAD, Authors After Dark. I had no idea what they were talking about so I had to ask. Well, it was explained, and I was okay big deal. A few days later several of our authors mentioned they were going to go. I started looking into going, as well. I had to figure out the whole money thing and if I could work up the courage to go and be there with no one I had actually met before. Kris Cook and Melissa Schroeder said I should go. And then Christie Von Ditter and Marcy Barr McDermott said they were going to try and make it as well. I was still hem-hawing about it—until Bonnie Hoffmaster told me she was also going to be there. That sealed my fate. I booked my flight and made my hotel reservations.
I had never flown before so I got all my tips from my boys at work. I made it to St. Louis, which is about an hour’s drive from my house, about 2 hours before my plane was supposed to take off. I had copies of everything I thought I might need and was nervously awaiting boarding. I was so happy that when I got on the plane, there were plenty of empty seats. I moved to the back next to the bathroom in case I got airsick. I told you I had never flown before. The take off was good. No problems. The landing in Philadelphia was rough, not a good feeling for a first time flyer. I was the last one off the plane and made my way to the taxis then I was off to the hotel. I was so nervous that I thought about just hiding in my room. Bonnie had told me to text her when I got to the hotel. I went up to my room and sat down for a few minutes. Now the conference started on Wednesday, but I didn’t arrive till Friday. I sat there thinking I have to text Bonnie or she will worry. I finally did it. She was down in lounge getting lunch so I slowly made my way down there. I had only talked to Bonnie on the phone and online so I was still really nervous. She saw me before I saw her, and she ran up and gave me the biggest hug. I instantly fell right into ‘This is my friend’ mode and relaxed.
We chatted a few moments and she had to get back so I went to check in at the AAD desk. I picked up my welcome pack and went to the bar to peruse what was going on. I picked out what panels I wanted to sit in on and waited. The first one I wanted to go to was one on ebooks. Why, you ask, would I want in on that one? Well, two reasons: Melissa Schroeder and Kris Cook. Both of them were going to be on the panel, and I wanted to see them before they knew who I was. Yep, still chicken bawk, bawk, bawk. That didn’t work out so well for me. I took the elevator up and walked into the room and saw Christie and Marcy at the same time as they saw me. Hugs all around and then I noticed, damn it all to hell, Kris and Mel were standing there, too. My heart started pounding, and I thought I was going to pass out.
Kris looked at me took a step toward me and gave me the biggest hug ever. He then passed me off to Mel, who also hugged me. I thought I was going to die. Two of my favorite authors had just hugged me. We chatted a few moments, and I have no recollection of what was said, then I lucked out and the panel was ready to start. We found our seats and I was able to take a breath. As the panel went on, I noticed several other authors. Some I knew, others I had no clue. I looked back when someone asked a question and there was Eliza Gayle. I had chatted with her online but did not know here that well. She was talking and looking around, and she smiled at me. I think I smiled back, but I am not sure. It was all a blur. I am not sure what happened next either. But then I found myself sitting at a table down in the lounge area with several people I didn’t know. Kris and everyone was chatting like crazy, and I was just trying to take it all in without looking like an idiot.
Then the worst thing happened…
Melissa came down to join us. I was at the end of the table and she sat right next to me. Once again, I was beset by nerves and I think I mumbled something but I couldn’t concentrate on anything from that point on. After a few drinks, everyone went their separate ways for dinner.
By nature, I am a lurker. I am not outgoing or a social butterfly. I people watch and, sometimes, I see things that others don’t. I met a few more authors and was not overly impressed by them. Overall, I liked most of the ones I met. Eliza Gayle made a big impression on me. I liked her books but now I liked her as a person as well. It made me want to buy her books and help her in some small way become more successful. I also met Kendra Egert. Wow, what a wonderful woman. I have met her again this year. And yep, she is still amazing. I wish I had gotten the chance to spend more time with her.
Now moving on to the ones that I didn’t really like. Nope, I am not mentioning names. They didn’t really do anything that pissed me off, but they really were not friendly either. Most I was very ambivalent about. That is never a good thing. As an author, when you are making public appearances, you always have to be onstage. You are not just selling your books. You are somewhat selling yourself. I am more likely to buy a book from someone who made me feel welcome and like they were interested in what I had to say than someone who just looked bored and wanted to be anywhere other than where they were. I know that a lot of authors are shy or kind of introverted but you have to suck it up and put yourself out there and sell your books and yourself (no, for all you dirty minded people, I didn’t mean that one literally). If you don’t think you can do that then you need to either take a class or stay home and just be more outgoing online. I know what I am speaking of, believe it or not.
For those of you who don’t know me, I hate everyone and go from there. I am not really outgoing but since I work in retail, I learned to tolerate people for 5 minutes and then move on to the next crazy. Sometimes you are surprised and like someone or, at least, make a connection for a minute. That is all it takes for a reader to decide whether they want to read your books or just ignore you forever. I know that when I tell customers that I have met an author and what they were like it helps sell their books. I still have to suck it up and convince myself to go to conventions but sometimes meeting an author makes it worth all the stress.