I just attended my very first reader event: Angels & Sirens in Washington, PA. That might not sound like a big deal but when you're an introvert, the prospect of putting yourself "out there" in the middle of hundreds of strangers can be a little daunting.
It's not that I can't "turn on"--in addition to being in the fire department, I also worked retail, so I can generally flip my internal switch and make it work. That doesn't make it any less daunting…or less exhausting. But I committed and yes, a small part of me was actually excited about it.
Of course, I stressed the two weeks prior, wondering what to bring. Swag? Check. Chocolate? Check. Author banner and table runner? Check. Books?
Okay, yeah, that should be a no-brainer. Of course books. I mean, that's the whole purpose of going to a book signing, right? But how many? Should I bring copies of each title (that's 16 titles in case you're wondering)? If so, how many of each? Just focus on the new release? On the last two releases? Five copies? Ten copies? Eek!
The better plan: just throw a bunch of books in several boxes and load up the truck and be done with it. Okay, maybe not the best plan around, but I made it work. Mostly.
So I loaded up my truck and headed west, arriving entirely too early on Friday. Unloaded the truck (and I swear those boxes of books and swag multiplied during the 4-hour drive!) then…then what?
Well, I surprised myself by not hiding in my room. I actually went to the lobby, grabbed a coffee, and got in some writing. Sounds brave, huh? Not really: a handful of my hockey romance buddies were also attending, so I was hanging out, waiting for them.
We had already made plans to grab dinner Friday night then go to the Pens game. Part of me thinks that was harder than playing extrovert! Why? Because I'm a Caps fan and felt like I was going deep into enemy territory! I still had fun, because I got to hang with my fellow authors and even a few readers who joined us, which made it worthwhile!
|(L-R): Representing my Caps deep in enemy territory; me and Cat, my uber-awesome PA, before the game; yes, I brought way too much stuff!|
Then it was Saturday, the day of the event. I lugged all my stuff over to the signing room (making a mental note to never bring so much crap with me again!) and, with the help of my uber-awesome PA, Cat Parisi, got everything set up so it looked nice and pretty.
Then I sat there, wondering what I had gotten myself into. Would anyone buy my books? Would anyone stop by to say hi? Would people just blow by my table, carefully avoiding all eye contact?
Thankfully, no. And after the first hour, I was finally able to bury my inclination to crawl under the table, curl up into a little ball, and hide. And I had a blast! It was so much fun meeting fans (who knew I actually had real fans!!) and talking with everyone. Was I exhausted afterward? Absolutely. But it was a good exhaustion, the kind where you're tired but it's the kind of tired you get from being busy and having a successful day. So yeah, I'd count my first reader event as a success. And yes, in case you're wondering, I came back with quite a bit less stuff!
Would I have been as comfortable if not for my hockey romance buds? Hard to say. Maybe, maybe not. But having them there certainly helped--we're a team, helping each other out, just being there to support one another.
Kinda like the hockey teams I write about! And speaking of hockey teams…
I recently launched a new hockey series, The York Bombers. Book 1, PLAYING THE GAME, came out last month and is receiving some great 5-star reviews (hooray me!). The next title in the series, PLAYING TO WIN, releases next week. The hero in PTW was so much fun to write. Jason loves to win, on and off the ice, but he doesn't always notice what's right there in front of him--until it's almost too late. When he meets Megan, he realizes that winning isn't always easy…and fighting to win makes the prize that much sweeter!
Playing The Game is on sale now for 99 cents, so you can pick up your copy here. And, of course, you can preorder Playing To Win by clicking here.
So how about you? Are you an introvert or extrovert? Any tips or tricks to surviving those social situations? I'm all ears and eager to learn…because yeah, I have a few more author events to attend this year (you can check out my scheduled events here). Maybe I'll see some of you there! Don't be afraid to stop by and say hi--I'll have lots of chocolate and goodies to pave the way, and I'll be eternally grateful for the company!
Until next month!