Sunday, November 09, 2014

No NaNoWriMo but I did go to a fair

In a previous lifetime, I dreamed about being a writer. For a while, I wrote pieces for a local small town newspaper, and I did manage to publish a few articles in national magazines before falling down the rabbit hole of software development. My ability to write in complete sentences frequently helped me land jobs because engineers are notoriously poor writers.

I still harbor that dream, so when our county library (which I LOVE) sponsored an authors fair, I decided to attend. Over 70 writers hawked their wares in the Great Hall, plus there were several panel discussions in Meeting Room B. I had never been to such an event, but I thought, Hey, I write (blogs), maybe I should go.

I'll say up front I was not interested in buying any books. I am not much of a book buyer in general - my house is too small - plus there is the library I LOVE so much. But I did want to see who these people were and chat up a few.

I'll also say up front that I am a rather shy person, not given to talking to strangers. After running the gauntlet without making eye contact, though, I put on my big girl panties and sidled up to the tables. Some authors must be as shy as I am, as they did not look up from whatever reading materials were currently capturing their attention, but most were eager to discuss their books. I probably insulted a few by asking if theirs were self-published; I wasn't being condescending, I'm just ignorant.

Many of the books were "young adult" (there was a panel discussion on that topic). None of the titles sounded familiar. I recognized the name of just one author, Betty Tonsing, only because she used to live here and was CEO of the Women's Bureau. Her book, Stand in the Way!, interested me because of my recent experience with my dad's hospitalization. (More information on the book may be found here.) So I did make a purchase, and Betty signed it, a plus I didn't expect because, you know, I'm ignorant.

To relieve some of my ignorance, I attended one of the panel discussions, "Reach Your Readers: How to Survive and Thrive in the World of Self- and E-Publishing". The panel consisted of Stephanie Cain (whose blog includes a series of posts categorized as "Self-Pub 101"), Lillie Barnett Evans, Jan Hinds, and Laura VanArendonk Baugh. I came away with lots to think about and lots to research.

And I am also a little excited because I *do* have some ideas for books. Surely, if these people can do it, so can I. All I have to do is apply my butt to a flat surface and start writing. Even if I only publish a dozen copies and force them on friends and family, I will have accomplished something I have always wanted to do.

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