Authors, Writers, Publishers, and Book Readers
Sound familiar? Dr. Seuss wrote the poem as an inspiration and promise to children.
Writers go to many places, often inside our heads but sometimes to book signings, conferences, libraries and Starbucks. Usually we pay our own way just for the opportunity to put our books in front of readers.
Imagine my shock and disbelief when I was contacted by the Puerto Vallarta Writers Conference and invited to be a speaker. They apologized that they wouldn't be able to pay for anything but airfare. Were they kidding? I had my passport out and dusted off in record time.
If someone had told me five years ago that I would be a featured speaker at any conference, I would have laughed myself silly. I had one published novel, a few short story trophies under my belt and I was paying my proverbial dues to the writing gods. When did my life take a leap forward?
There was no leap. There were tiny steps, cautious ones at first. As I got my footing, I began exploring. The Internet came into its own and I eagerly embraced cyber-socializing, blogging and marketing. I sprinted ahead when curiosity made me volunteer to do acquisitions for my publisher. Now I was experiencing a runner's high, enjoying the rarefied air of helping other writers get published.
On the plane to Puerto Vallarta I kept reminding myself that I'm a woman living in a rural town with small (but growing!) readership for my astrology-based mysteries who doesn't get out of her bathrobe most days and is one feline short of Crazy Cat Lady. Yet, someone recognized all the hard work I'd invested in my career and felt I had something to offer those taking their own tentative steps in the business.
After a wet winter in California, PV (as the ex-pats call it) was all sunshine, music, exotic smells and terrifying traffic. The cobblestone streets were made for burros, not SUVs. I was a guest at a charming hotel and awoke every morning to the deep cathedral bell in the town square. The Mango Library turned out to be a beautiful venue, the audience friendly and casual, a state of being in this part of the world. I spoke about publishing for two hours straight after a tamale lunch, fighting jet lag and the urge to take a siesta. I got to spend the rest of the time enjoying my fellow speakers and taking pitch sessions with writers.
Something in me had changed by the time my plane landed in the U.S. I felt, for the first time, like I was worth every penny people were willing to pay me. I have information to give to other writers, secrets and strategies that will help their careers. I've paid my dues and are reaping the rewards for hard work in a field I have always loved.
Dr. Seuss said it best:
Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen,
don't worry. Don't stew.
Just go right along.
You'll start happening too.