Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dinner with authors.

Continuing my recounts of the Book 'Em NC event, today I want to talk about the Author Meet-n-Greet from the night before the big event.

Let me first go into my expectations.

This was my first big conference, out of state, and I wondered if I'd have to deal with the shunning that comes with being an Independent Author. I was really dreading the first time the question about my publisher was asked. Now don't get me wrong, I've met sooooo many authors online, both indies like myself and the traditionally published ones. Ninety-nine percent of them are the kindness people you'll ever meet. Yet there's still that one percent that will look down on anyone who didn't publish in the same manner they have.

With my worries settled into the pit of my stomach, and the excitement of just being there set my nerve endings twittering, I walked into the banquet room. It only took a moment to spot one of the ladies I had been talking to online. With an excited greeting and a big hug, all that anxiety melted away. Soon I was meeting new people, all as friendly as ever. With Tim to my right, the round table we'd chosen to sit at filled in with other authors & their guests.

It took another half an hour before that most dreaded question was asked.

In line at the buffet, the author in front of me asked, "And who are you published through?" Eek! I thought my brain would explode. "I'm an independent," I replied, holding my breath.

But. . . my brain didn't explode. I wasn't looked at like I'd lost my mind. She asked how sales were, if I enjoyed it, who my printer was, and then she mentioned a friend of hers interested in the process and promised to send him to my table the next day.

YAY!!!

Throughout the weekend I answered this question a total of four times, and each time I responded the same, receiving almost identical polite responses. After being in this business as an independent author for almost 7 years, I am so happy to see that the tide is turning when it comes to the ridicule. Most readers don't care who handled the printing and distribution of a book, just so long as the book provides a good story to entertain them. And now I'm happy to see that most authors don't care either!

With the shift in publishing toward the independent side, and many traditionally published authors taking things on for themselves, I hope the question of publishers continues to dwindle in the future. No author should have to feel that ball in the pit of their stomachs over the idea of being put down for their publishing choices.

And as I told the first author to ask, I love every minute of being an independent. I have never regretted my decision to take this route and each day brings a renewed happiness of choice. Choice over deadlines, choice over cover designs, and choice over presentation of a story you've worked so hard to produce.

But I digress... I haven't gotten off the topic of dinner here.

The dinner was held at Village Station 1893 Restaurant, with the owner Arnold West greeting each author like a new best friend. The food was delicious, the staff friendly, and the conversations lively with a room full of writers. It was so much fun being in a room of people with similar interests. We talked about books, e-books, Kindles, what genre we write in, where everyone was from, introduced our spouses/guests, and discussed our children (or lack thereof). All the normal stuff. It was great fun!

At the end of the night, we had all made some new friends to talk to the next day, and hopefully long into the future. I've already friended several online since returning home and others have friended me.

As a side note story, one lady really tickled me at the dinner. She was handing out her card to everyone and came to our table. I was talking to the author on my left when this lady came up to Tim and asked, "Are you the writer, or just the husband?" Tim replied, "I'm just the husband." We laughed for days about that. I said, "You're not JUST the husband, you're also the chauffeur!" LOL.

Stop by tomorrow when I share links to some of the authors I enjoyed speaking with at the conference. They were all great people. :)