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 We, unpublished attendees comprised a silent majority.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.