Monday, November 26, 2012

Author, Author!

By Deborah Sharp

When I sat down the other night to check my email, I found three gems buried under Viagra pitches and pleas for emergency money from ''friends'' supposedly stranded overseas. (Really? Does anyone actually rush to the bank to wire money after reading one of those emails?)

Anyway, the happy surprises were invites from organizers asking me to speak at writing conferences or other events. I haven't been writing fiction all that long. My first Mace Bauer Mystery came out in 2008. I remember all too well when no one invited me to go anywhere; when I had to kick down the door for a chance to talk about my books. 

Now, three invitations float across the e-transom in one day. Granted, that was a very good day, not to mention an unusual one. But, wow! What a difference a few years -- and four published books -- make. 

Don't get me wrong. It's not like I'm fielding speaking requests like Mike Trout snagging balls in the outfield. 

On the other hand, it's been a good while since I've had to beg somebody: ''Please, PLEASE, won't you ask me to come appear at your conference?'' 

Funny thing is, at least one of the recent requests came from a conference I'd contacted three or four years ago. I pleaded. I plotted. I groveled for an invite. Back then, I got a rather snippy letter in return, telling me I could pay to put up a card table in the vendor area and peddle my own books. I imagined being sandwiched between the hot dog cart and a vendor with a display of kitty-cat bookends. I didn't take the organizers up on their offer.  

Now, it's two free nights in a hotel and a cocktail reception for featured authors. Clearly, they don't remember blowing me off back in 2009. By 2012, I'd earned a polite invite with this nicely worded promise: I am at your service, so please do not hesitate to contact me for anything you may need 

I wonder how they'd take it if I told hotel room service that I needed Champagne?  

Not that I'd do that. And, really, I'm not gloating. Well, maybe a little. Most authors work incredibly hard for not a lot of money. Getting invited into the spotlight to talk about your work feels like one way to measure success. 

How about you? What makes you feel like a success? What makes your self-worth soar? 


Dru said...

Congrats on the invites. Are you planning to do all three?

Success is when you're proud of the work you've done. Bonus is if someone else shares you joy.

Deborah Sharp said...

Hiya, Dru ... no, won't do all three (one was for a weekend I already had something else planned) So true about the definitions of success and joy. I'm JOYFUL today!

Shannon Baker said...

Celebrate! That sounds like success to me. But then, the books--and writer--are deserving!

Beth Groundwater said...

Congratulations, Deb! A recent invitation came my way that really got me excited. I'll be speaking at the Puerto Vallarta Writers Conference in Mexico in February, and they are paying my airfare and hosting me in a member's home. We decided to pay for my hubby to fly with me. The host graciously is allowing him to stay, too, and for us to add a couple of extra days (of course, we'll be taking the host family out to dinner as a thank you). We're looking forward to soaking up some sun while we're there, something you know a lot about. ;-)

Kathleen Ernst said...

Go for the champaign, Deborah! You've earned it!

Deborah Sharp said...

Hiya, Shannon, Beth and Kathleen. Thanks for the comments. PS to Beth: Puerto Vallarte? Wow! Quite a coup ... I'm headed to Wetumpka, Ala in January (LOVE the folks and the conference there, but Alabama in winter ain't exactly sunshine and margaritas!)