The first writing conference I attended had no authors with published books, which was discouraging. The second conference had several, which was intimidating. Although these published authors were in a minority, they loomed large. We, unpublished attendees comprised a silent majority.
At the first conference, our speaker said only three percent of writers make their living by writing fulltime; the rest need a day job to pay the bills. At my second conference I was further dismayed to meet an award-winning author who cranked out nine books in five years—he, too, needed a day job.
This author taught a session on memoirs at the conference—teaching, incidentally is his day job. I was also fortunate to have a fifteen-minute personal consultation with him, where we discussed one of my book ideas. I still relish his encouragement.
Knowing my habit of buying books faster than I can read them, I’ve given myself a one-book per conference limit. I used it to buy one of his memoirs. I asked him to sign it. (Is it proper etiquette to read the inscription right away or should you wait until later?) He simply wrote, “Thank you for buying my book.”
I look forward to the day when I will be on the other end of a book signing transaction. What will I write? I don’t know now, but I have time to contemplate it.
After all, if publishing a book was easy, then everyone would do it.
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Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.