Or, a nervous author faces her first solo booksignings.
Let me preface this by saying, I am an inherently shy person. Those of you who know me personally… Shut. Up. And quit laughing. It’s true. I am painfully shy and always have been. It just manifests itself in weird ways. See, if I’m introduced to someone first, I’m okay. I can talk about any subject under the sun. If I’m part of a small group, you’d be hard pressed to shut me up, really. Tell me I have to walk into a room full of strangers and introduce myself, you’ll find me over in the corner in a fetal position clutching my blanky. This is, essentially, what a booksigning feels like to me. Add that to the horror stories I’ve heard about authors sitting at a table and the only people who talk to them are the folks looking for the bathroom and mix in a healthy dose of overactive writer imagination and you can figure that sleep’s been pretty hard to come by lately.
Now, I’m not a complete booksigning neophyte—I’ve done the RWA literacy signings and various other group signings and I love those. I do enjoy speaking to people and when you’ve got other authors on either side of you, it takes on a distinct “comrades under fire” sort of feel if people are constantly passing you by on their way to see Nora or Sherrilyn or anyone else who tends to command the long lines. There’s almost a sense of relief, even, because, hey, how can you be expected to compete with that, right?
But a solo gig? It’s all on you, man—no excuses, no Nora to fall back on. And in come the nightmares about sitting by myself, for two hours, directing people to the bathroom and telling them which coffee drink is the best one. These aren’t just signings, either—I’m supposed to read. And talk. I have no idea what section I should read from. How do people even choose these things? It’s all so… stressful.
There is a bright spot, however. As part of a large Cuban-American family, I have, at my disposal, what I lovingly refer to as the Cuban Grapevine. My mother is marshalling her forces and sending out, God help me, invitations. My sister works at a hospital and is handing out, God help me, invitations. So at least the Miami signings may have more than me and the baristas. According to my mother, I may even have a city councilman attending. NOT going to ask how she swung that. It’s probably better that I don’t know.
At the same time, though, I’d better make sure I’m all stocked up on my heavy duty concealer.
IT’S NOT ABOUT THE ACCENT September, 2007
ADIÓS TO MY OLD LIFE July, 2006
2007 RITA WINNER Best Contemporary Single Title Romance