My first booksigning–and you should join me next year
One of the advantages of writing a lot of the material in this blog is the ability to write posts that are gratuitous self-indulgence. I hope this post isn’t one of those.
Earlier this year, I submitted a short story to the Florida Writers Association’s Collection #5, called It’s a Crime. The entries are judged and the top 60 are selected. Of those sixty, author Michael Wiley selected his ten favorites to be featured in the beginning of the book. Mine was one of the short stories deemed to be worthy.
Outside this august, high-quality blog, I have never been published in my life. Opening the book and seeing my name, Chris Hamilton, in print, in a book (and having it not be the fictional character of the same name in one of Jodi Picoult’s books) was quite the rush. Even more so was sitting at a table with a bunch of other authors in the collection and signing books.
Imagine, having someone give you a book and smile at you while they ask you to sign it. It’s quite a feeling–quite the rush. It’s exhilarating, both ego-building and incredibly humbling at the same time. This person spent money (in part) to read something I wrote. And now they want me to sign it.
Having said all that, this post isn’t about me. It’s about you. If you’re sitting there reading this thinking that’s cool and neat and everything, but I could never do that–well, I thought that, too. I was convinced that book signings and people saying how much they enjoyed the writing was for other people. For writers.
If you’re thinking that, I have two things to tell you. First, I’ve been there. And while I’m no Stephen King, people have paid money to read something I wrote and they’ve asked me to sign it.
Second, stop it. Stop doubting yourself. The difference between me and you is a lot of hard work, a fair amount of doubt, and a lot more hard work. It’s reading what other people write about writing and trying it. It’s listening to critiques and doubting myself and my supposed talent. It’s quiting, swearing I’ll never freaking well do this again. And then doing it anyway.
So here’s the deal. I’m entering again next year. I expect to produce something of the same or similar quality. If I’m fortunate enough to be selected again next year, I want you to be sitting next to me at the signing.
You can do it. Now get to work.