No one showed up at my first official bookstore book signing. Actually three people did: the editor I worked for at the newspaper, a woman who thought she might like to get the book for her daughter and the bookstore owner.
I had spent the weekend preparing a presentation that explained how I ended up having a book to present at all, and the only person who got to hear it was my husband.
“I’m sorry mom,” hugged Little Sprout.
“That’s really sad,” moped Middle Sprout, and the guys in the house didn’t know what they should say.
“It’s really okay guys,” I comforted them. “It just wasn’t a good day for a book signing.”
And it wasn’t. The sun had come out for the first time in what felt like months, and even I had a hard time coming in from the vitamin D bath.
I still shared as much of myself, and the book, as I could, without the formality of a large group.
I sold six books. Three to the two attendees and three that may sit on the bookstore shelf for years and years.
It is okay. I’m not just saying that to convince myself. I really do believe it. My intention for the book was to record how I have, and still do, invest in the healing of the relationships in my house, and I offer it to anyone who might want to do the same.
I am coming to grips with the fact that I will never be able to force this on people…cajole them to buy it…demand them to buy into it. It is there for the taking and I will simply continue to offer.
It is thinking like The Giving Tree, I suppose. The sacrificial tree that ends up as a stump at the end, but who offered any kind of love the boy needed. It was always there, waiting for the boy to ask. I have always loved that book.
For much of my life I identified more with the boy than I did with the tree, but I understand the profound presence of that tree.
Rooted in fertile and loving ground, we all have something grand to offer those around us. Sometimes the offering is shade, sometimes it is a tire swing to enjoy, sometimes it is the materials we need to build something new.
When I got back to the cabin, from my book signing, I spent the next hour picking up strewn branches from the latest wind storm. Our cabin yard is full of the biggest, oldest, strongest trees. There are some dead branches there though, and a whole bunch of them found their way to the ground.
It got me thinking about the offerings of strong, healthy trees, and that even they have some dead branches along the way.
I wrote a post a few weeks back about Books and Knives. It was actually titled Knives and Books, but I am having a shift in thinking, and I really wish I had put books first. The post was about selling my recent book, and how much I hate that part of being an author. I am starting to think about this book, Choosing to Grow: Through Marriage , as an offering of love, rather than as a product to consume.
It was a commenter on that post, a conversation with a respected author and friend of mine, and a current book I am reading that started my heart toward transformation.
The blog commenter has become an incredibly important part of my definition of my life as a writer…and as a person. I have never met him, and I am just now starting to read his stuff, but I am compelled to be changed by him.
I read his posts the minute I see he has written something and I am profoundly changed after every one. The title of his blog is PrivilegeofParenting, and if you are in the business of self-growth, deep thinking and contemplation, I strongly encourage you to check him out.
My award-winning author friend, and amazing woman, Karen Pavlicin, challenged me to define my goals as a writer. When I think about what it is I want to offer the world, I keep coming back to love. I want my day to reflect as many offerings as I can make, and one aspect of that comes in my writing.
I am a writer. Deciding what I want my life to look like has shaped the way I want writing to work in my life.
The book that has had an impact on this evolving self-definition was recommended by a counselor who read my book. He must have read between the lines some other healing I have yet to do.
So I have started reading Healing the Shame that Binds You, by John Bradshaw, and I am loosening my grip on hyper-achievement. I have spent my life trying to be the best, and I have some lifelong habits to break. My efforts with my own book have revealed some of those needed changes.
So it is Dr. Bruce Dolin , Karen Pavlicin, and John Bradshaw, who are helping me to realize that sometimes just offering is enough.
So this post is dedicated to readers and writers alike who want the inside scoop about the writing life…well, at least my writing life.
22 thoughts on “Confessions of an Unknown Author…”
I wish I could have gone to your book signing! All is well…
You are right…all is well! More well than not!! MMF
Meagan, I’m so sorry I didn’t know about your book signing. I would’ve at least stopped in for a chat, even though I already have my copy. I didn’t see anything about it in the DCN or on your website, so I truly think a lot of people didn’t know about it. That, along with the first sunny Sunday in Lord knows how long, conspired to keep the crowds away. Knowing you, you’ll turn this into a life lesson for your wonderful children, write about it, and we’ll all be better people because of it!
I completely blame myself for the fact that the word did not get out enough. It was in the DCN one day…I announced a little on FB, but I didn’t do as much legwork as I needed to do. Learning experience for sure, and I do not blame people who picked sun over presentation 🙂 It is not the last time I will try to sign at a bookstore! MMF
Dear Meagan…beautiful reflections. It really *is* about the process and not the end result, isnt it? When we internalize this then everything…everything…seems to make a whole lot more sense. Thanks for sharing your heart.
I so need to add you to the list of “lights” along my way. Your perspective and blog are also a part of how my impressions of the world are changing. And more people need to hear your heart too!! MMF
I used to do tarot readings at a women’s festival in Iowa City. I’d have to do a “seed” reading for the friend or companion I brought with me to get things flowing. Someone would come to watch, and then there was usually a line.
Other times, I’d be sitting in some bookstore tucked out of the way…and again, I’d end up trading readings with the resident psychic, or reading for the resident psychic’s daughter…it was always humbling and amusing, but there was usually some gift in it…though not the one I expected.
Good luck with the next event! Maybe this was the seed reading, the line forming for your next, I do believe.
You may be right about that seed reading. There was much learned on that day…not what I expected to learn, but more of what I needed than I thought. MMF
Meagan, Had more than one attendee, you would not have been able to compose such beautiful prose. Disappointing as it was, your insightful reflections accurately speak of how many of us have felt when no one shows up to hear or see us. Don’t give up!
Absolutely Molly! Material hardly comes without challenge…no worries. I am no where near giving up! MMF
Meagan, you’ve given new meaning to the saying of “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.” I’m happy that you’re not measuring your success, fulfillment, or personal growth by the number of people who were at your book signing. The fact that you have internalized the concept of giving is a wonderful thing. In spite of not having a large audience, you still shared of yourself and in doing so, I’m certain you inspired those listening to your presentation. Indeed you are like the Giving Tree and in offering what you have without making any demands or having any expectations, you are demonstrating a generosity of spirit that is rare in us humans. I would respectfully suggest you think of this book signing as a warm up. Don’t give up and stay ready for when the “real” presentation comes along!
Thanks so much Bella, for your encouraging words. I am absolutely still fired up to share the message of my book with as many people as need to hear it. I feel incredibly blessed that I am able to do it at all! MMF
What amazing introspection … an offering of love rather than a product to consume … I do believe that will stay with me for a while – thank you.
It’s a shame there were not more in attendance though perhaps that day was just a dress rehearsal? I wish you every success – I’m sure your offering of love is both that – AND an offering of love to be consumed 🙂
A dress rehearsal indeed…I know there are ways to improve every aspect of what I am doing…and none of it is a waste of time. Thanks for taking the time to comment 🙂 MMF
I was going to say what Bella said. But she beat me to it.
So, instead, “ditto”.
Thanks for sharing with all of us.
Thanks Wosushi…I appreciate it. MMF
I wish I could’ve been there at your book signing! That is such a scary part to me about publishing a book…having to promote it. It’s a hard enough job just to promote articles and blog posts on the internet. But to get someone to pay money…it makes me nervous just thinking about it! I love the perspective you offered. And I definitely think your book is an offering of love. Those who want to buy it will be so grateful they did and will be so glad you took the time to put your healing words out there into the world.
I anticipated parts of how this promotion and selling would go, but if you believe in what you are doing, every part of it is worth your time. Naomi, you of so many writers I know have so much to offer the world, and if you need a hand to hold when you jump off that cliff…you know I’ll be there! MMF
Oh Meagan, so sorry about your book signing. But, I am currently reading the book and I’m sure this book will touch many hearts for long ways to come. 🙂
Thanks Johanna…I really do hope so 🙂
I loved your post and yes, you are most definitely a writer 🙂
Thank you…a compliment received most certainly. MMF