Worst. Author Event. Ever

At a recent book signing, attendance was so poor the “public” I encountered for most of my allotted time was made up of the other two authors present. We shared a table so I couldn’t run away, even as some of the dumbest comments on publishing ever flew from their mouths. Nope, I’m not as sweet as I look, but at least my filter works.

Author 1: “I double-spaced my book. It’s been a hit with the senior set.”

My silent response as I thumb through the pages of the “Christian Thriller” in question: I have never read or heard anyone in the publishing industry recommend double-spacing a novel. Large print is an option, but costly, and the line lead varies from book to book and publisher to publisher, but this thing is printed in 16pt font and double-spaced. It’s gigantic! I could render someone unconscious with a book this thick. And what the heck is a “Christian Thriller?” Smile and nod, Jodie. Smile and nod. (If you are unaware as I was, Christian Thriller is an actual sub-genre on Amazon. Thank you, Google.)

Author 2: “Why did you use a traditional publisher? I don’t want to share my money.”

I responded, “Because I wanted to, and I couldn’t afford to hire an editor.” My inner diva begged me to say, “Watch that tone, Lady. And what’s with the snarl? I hope your face sticks that way.”

Author 1, joining in: “Oh, I didn’t use an editor. I wanted to see what I could do by myself. Sure, there are mistakes and quirks, but that’s what makes my book unique.”

My inner monologue: Don’t laugh. Don’t bang my face against the table. Don’t pick up this guy’s “Christian Thriller” and bonk him on the head with it.

Instead I said, simply, “I love editors.” 

Author 2, later: “According to my publishing agreement, I had to buy 1,000 copies of my book, so now I have a good stock of books in my garage. You really should consider self-publishing.”

More smiling. More nodding. More screaming from my inner diva:Are you kidding me? You didn’t self-publish. You vanity published! And who on Earth is going to buy 1,000 copies of your book out of your garage? Good job with that whole not-sharing-your-money thing.

Toward the end of our time together, I asked my tablemates if they are members of the South Carolina Writers’ Workshop. They both nodded “no.” Then Mr. Double-space proposed the following question:

“I mean, what could a writer’s group actually do for me?”

“My chapter, Columbia II, makes me a better writer,” I told him. “They are my first-line defense against bad writing.”

“That wouldn’t work for me. I don’t need other people judging my stuff,” Author 1 told me while straightening his unsold stack of books.

I smiled. I nodded. Then I turned forward in my seat and stared at my own untouched stack. No more talkie-talkie. Let’s play the quiet game.

 

Originally posted on the SCWW Columbia II Website. For more information on the South Carolina Writers’ Workshop and the Columbia II Chapter, click here.

2 Thoughts on “Worst. Author Event. Ever

  1. Yep, Columbia II makes me a better writer, too. And that guy’s kidding himself if he thinks other writers aren’t judging him. Everyone wants to see where they stack up. That doesn’t mean we can’t support one another, too. Glad you survived. Hate that you didn’t sell more copies of your FABULOUS debut novel! Mu-AH!

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