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Rolling with the Punches

So, the first stop on the Murder & Mayhem Tour is done. How'd it go? Not great. I wrote about it over in my person LJ. Then I realized that it was important to talk about "not successes" over here in the pro-blog—especially where it concerns the business and PR around writing and not the act of writing (or submitting) itself.

One of the main places that disasters can happen to an author is at a signing or a reading or a combination therein. Authors, for the most part, are shy creatures who prefer to stay behind the screen. However, that is not possible in this day-and-age of necessary appearances. Of course there are the pre-event jitters…what if they hate me…what if no one shows up…and my favorite, what if I mess up? These things will happen—just not as you imagine they will.

All sorts of things can muck up an event: There's construction next door and no one can hear you. Check. There is a much more well known and popular author there. Check. You forget your copy of what you are reading. Check. Someone pulls the fire alarm during your reading. I heard about that one. And the list goes on. Whatever you can imagine, your event will be worse and better than that.

My point is: no matter what happens, you must roll with the punches. There is nothing else to do. Smile. Nod. Commiserate. Apologize if it needs doing. Smile. Sign whatever people want you to sign—even small children—and chat with those people who did come to see you or did the work to put on your event. Crying about it, stomping your foot or being unprofessional will get you nowhere.

Personally, I recommend always bringing a friend with you. Someone who will laugh at your joy, understand your pain and save you from that person who really, REALLY wants you to read their story. This person will get you out of the public if things go horribly wrong and allow you to cry on their shoulder in private.

Honestly, when it comes to disastrous events, no one wants to see you fail. The world is not out to get you and you need to just roll with it. It may still sting but you'll come out of it with awesome war stories for convention panels and "no shit, there I was…" stories at BarCon.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 11th, 2010 08:58 am (UTC)
Oh, man, seconding the bring a friend. Or two.

Signings can be rough, and I've never been to one where I was the only person signing. I can only imagine how awful it must be when it goes badly and you're alone.

But no matter how badly they go, it's just another day, they can't take your book away from you just because nobody showed up, and it will make a good story for later.
Jul. 11th, 2010 09:02 am (UTC)
We have to go through these horrorfests to balance things out. You'll have a rip-roaring success next time, and chalk all this down to experience.

Jul. 11th, 2010 02:30 pm (UTC)
I had just posted my apologies for having to leave early in my own LJ and then read your post ... sorry some of it didn't go so well. If not before, I'll hopefully see you at RadCon and actually be able to say something this time :)

-- Christine
Jul. 12th, 2010 07:20 am (UTC)
Jennifer, I want to apologize for missing your reading, I really did intend to go but my mind was on several other things and I completely spaced it until today (I'd even told amina I was planning on going).

I'm so sorry I missed it, and if it went bad I'm even more sorry I wasn't there to support you. I hope you will have a better time at the next one, and at future readings.
Jul. 13th, 2010 04:50 am (UTC)
You have a completely awesome life. If there weren't some rough patches you wouldn't be able to accurately measure the degree of awesome.

And it was a great turnout. All the problems have to be balanced against that. I've been to other signings here that were far less well attended.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )