by Malena Lott
Last Saturday I participated in a local author book fair. While I thought it was strange that a bookstore (we have a great indie) didn't handle the book sales, I bought the books from said indie and schlepped them to the event and managed to sell 7 (seven) in three hours. Why would *that* make me love being an author? Well, here's the deal. Out of the thirty+ authors there, only four were published by a recognized publisher. I pitched my book to every white-haired sweetie that passed my table (no one over 70 bought my book), but I sat there feeling REALLY happy that I didn't have to do book fairs and hand-sell my books every weekend like the self-published authors. The recent article on self-publishing services flourishing while mainstream publishers falter proved itself in 3D. I was outnumbered 10-1.
I admire their perseverance and passion. To PAY to get your book published, you'd really have to believe in it (the story) and yourself, let alone be able to handle the demands in cover art, distributors, marketing and sales. As much as I wanted to be published, I can tell you I never even considered going down that road. I was enthralled - and overwhelmed. Each author is not only competing with books in regular bookstores, but against e-books and all other Publish-on-demand books, too. Wow.
Which gets me back to that Magic Seven. One aspiring author (youngish) bought my book and I swear I got an e-mail from her the NEXT DAY saying she had stayed up until 4 a.m. to finish the book. She loved it. She went on to tell me all the reasons she loved it. She had paid close attention to all the nuances in the book. I ate it up! Ego Monster, nom, nom, nom!
Then the next day I get two more great e-mails: one from Single Titles.com, a book review site telling me Dating da Vinci was named a Reviewers Choice Best Book of 2008. And another from a reader who thanked me for sending the Book Club Questions because she picked Dating da Vinci for her February book club so her friends could read it during the Valentine month.
Yes, it's an uphill climb. What isn't these days? But for me, being an author is just WHO I AM. It's not really about ego; it's about identity. I always believed deep in my soul, as far back as the sixth grade, that I would have books on bookshelves with my name on the spine. I'm just happy to be here.
CONTEST! Want your name in a book? Submit names for a health spa (mind/body/spirit retreat) that will be featured in the current WIP I'm writing and if i pick yours I'll name a character at the retreat after you! Either send your names in the comments here or at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll announce the winner on Valentine's Day! Thanks for playing!