From Writer to Author, a Tale of Springing Forward (Complete with KERSPLAT)

WordcraftersBooksonSaleGotta be honest here: I’m exhausted! I’ve got a day-job situation (no surprise), and I’m sitting here on break during a week-long training session (painful), and … oh my god … I so painfully want to sleep. The need is an ache deep inside my eyeballs that’s telling them to close.

Last week I wrote about attending the Wordcrafters retreat and conference. I was sleep-deprived as I began this week. I haven’t caught up because I’m completing Kilmoon launch tasks late into the night. (Uh-oh, the instructor is starting up again. Time to pretend I’m listening … back later …)

(Later – shh. I’m not listerning to the instructor. This is what my life is right now—squeezing tasks in any way I can.)

I’m continuing with my Wordcrafters thoughts because in keeping with the theme of this week—springing forward and the kersplats we encounter along the way—I’d say that conference was a huge defining moment for me as an author.

For me, the word “author” connotes the public life that comes with having a published novel out there in the world. It’s the word for writers who have to think about marketing, promotion, and sales; who have landed on the other side of the book-signing table; who answer questions from aspiring novelists.

During the Wordcrafters conference, I sold books, signed them, and answered questions as a so-called expert. All firsts. (My launch isn’t until next week—woohoo!—but I got early copies to sell just for the conference.) I presented as an author for the first time also. Come to find out that I know stuff! For the first time, my name was listed in a conference schedule.

It was surreal, and I surprised myself by enjoying authordom. I stretched my comfort zone mightily, and I was proud of myself. However:

KERSPLAT.

Along the way, as sometimes happens on a learning curve, I kersplatted pretty mightily. It’s a pretty funny story too.

The writers retreat ran from Monday through Thursday, and the conference from Friday through Sunday. So there I was, Friday morning, relaxing in my hotel room while my retreat instructor, New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs gave the opening keynote downstairs. She’d told us retreaters to feel free to skip the welcome since, well, we were already pumped and had spent the week with her. So I did. I needed some downtime, introvert that I am …

So what happens? I receive a text from my friend Stacy. She writes, “Susan just announced you. She bought your book. She wants you to sign it in front of everyone.”

OH. MY. GOD. Susan Wiggs plugged me, and I wasn’t there to savor the moment! Instead, I was holed up in my hotel room feeling like a total turd and catastrophizing the whole thing as if I’d ruined all my chances … for what, I don’t know.

Susan ended up making a joke about it and got some good laughs, and I got a good ribbing for the rest of the weekend. Promotion is promotion though—people knew who I was, that’s for sure. (And my books sold out!)

But, yeah, that was quite the authorial stumble. I figure there are going to be a few more (or many more?) along the way. Does this make me nervous? A little, but if that’s the embarrassing price I pay for going after what I want—so be it.

(And whew … I’m done with this post and almost done for the day … and I didn’t fall asleep!)

Have you ever blown it in a public way? Tell us about it!

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Lisa Alber is the author of KILMOON, A COUNTY CLARE MYSTERY (March 2014). Ever distractible, you may find her staring out windows, dog walking, fooling around online, or drinking red wine with her friends. Ireland, books, animals, photography, and blogging at Lisa Alber's Words at Play round out her distractions. Visit her at www.lisaalber.com.

16 thoughts on “From Writer to Author, a Tale of Springing Forward (Complete with KERSPLAT)

  1. I’ve done training sessions at work, and sometimes I look out at all of those eager faces, some looking at me and some at their laptops, and I wonder how many are actually on Facebook or whatever. (Actually, I usually have a TA, who stands in the back of the room, and so I know that the Facebook etc. contingent is usually at least 50%.) Maybe some of them are blogging, too. 🙂

    As for blowing it in public, you can trust me that professional musicians have many more opportunities for that than authors do. 🙂

    • Our poor training instructor. I came right out and confessed that I’m distracted this week because a of novel release. 🙂 He seemed OK with that. Hah!

      I could never be a musician. Can you imagine getting up there and blanking about on the lyrics? Yeeee-ikes!

      • I think that’s a valid reason for being inattentive. I had a co-worker once who sold his first novel, for an advance which was so lavish that it was reported in the New York Times. We never saw him again.

        Everybody’s forgotten lyrics (or dialogue in a play) at some point. The pros just manage to carry it off. I still remember one gig where the lead guitarist in my band didn’t read the set list correctly. While the rest of us were playing the fourth song, he was cheerfully playing the one after that. I still remember his look at me across the stage, his frown seeming to say, “Hey, this doesn’t sound like it did in rehearsal.” I wanted to yell, “You’re playing the wrong ****ing song!” When we got to the chorus, he finally figured it out.

  2. I love that she called you out! Ha! That would be just my luck, too. But it’s wonderful that they all know who you are and way to sell those books, girl!

  3. That is amazing that Susan called you out and plugged your book! I agree that the fact that you weren’t there actually made the moment MORE memorable for people. Fun fact: Susan Wiggs is repped by the same literary agency as me.

    • That IS a fun fact indeed! I gotta check out your agency. 🙂

      I think it might have been more memorable — I certainly became “mysterious.” And later, other conferences goers would see my badge and say things like, “Oh, you’re the Lisa Alber that … etcetera.” 🙂 Instant conversation opener!

  4. I am particularly proud, that when, from the podium she announced “Okay, every tweet hashtag Lisa Alber is a Loser”, I did not join in the reindeer games! It was an exciting moment, but like you said, people DEFINITELY knew your name. It was horrifying for a moment, and honestly I would have loved for you to be able to jauntily make your way up to the podium and sign the book. But those of us who know you well totally understood. And you did get the chance later on to autograph her copy. These defining moments will stay with us forever. 🙂 xoxox

    • “Horrifying” was indeed the word in the moment — gad!!!! I wanted to cry, actually. She has such as great sense of humor! It certainly makes for a great anecdote!

  5. I love this. I think we often find some of our biggest kersplats usually serve to humanize us and make us more relatable to people. And definitely memorable 🙂

    HUGE congrats on selling out of your books! During your first event, no less. I think I’d call that a fabulous start to a book launch.

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