Somebodies Helping Nobodies

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Me and Wes talking to Robert at the signing. For those of you who don’t know me well, this is a quintessential Erika face. I was probably cracking a lame joke. I do that sometimes.

I had the pleasure of attending Robert Dugoni’s book signing last night at Parkplace Books in Kirkland. For those of you who haven’t heard of Robert, here’s what you need to know:

  • He’s smart. You can just tell by the way he speaks and explains things that he’s got a lot going on upstairs.
  • He’s an excellent writer. He read us a passage out of his new book, My Sister’s Grave, and it’s an undeniable fact that he has an ear for dialogue.
  • He’s a kind, interesting person. I met him at the ITW ThrillerFest in July and, when I sent him an email afterward asking him whether he might consider writing a blurb for my new book, Bai Tide, he didn’t hesitate. He was in super crunch mode writing a sequel to My Sister’s Grave and doing promotional stuff, but he made time to read my book and then wrote a glowing blurb of it for me.

When I got to the front of the line to have him sign my copy of his book, he remembered me and told me HE liked MY book. Isn’t that a kick? I mean, that was totally MY line!

Robert’s kindness only reinforces to me the prevailing truth I’ve seen confirmed again and again since the start of my writing journey and that is, authors take care of each other. I’ve yet to meet a snobby author who refused to talk to a nobody like me, and almost all the big authors I’ve met have either offered to help however they can or given me a kind word to keep me going.

I’m sure there are snobby authors out there, but I’m lucky in that I haven’t met any yet. It’s a singular experience to have someone like Jon Land or Robert Dugoni read your work (both of them provided blurbs for my book!), I imagine it’d be similar to having Picasso or Matisse take a look at your painting and tell you you’re onto something.

There’s absolutely no impetus for these successful authors to help nobodies like me. There are SO MANY underling authors who are happy with a small handful of reviews and will almost certainly never amount to household names. It’s not like a strategic alliance thing, wherein they’re guaranteed future success by aligning with the right people at the right time.

No, they do it because they’re kind. Because they want to help. Because they remember what it was like to be the little guy, and they haven’t let themselves forget it.

If you want to thank these wonderful people for being wonderful to me, you can do so by buying their new books! They’re both fantastic, entertaining reads and by buying them you’ll be supporting nice people who do nice things for nobodies like me. You can find My Sister’s Grave at the link above, or Strong Darkness by Jon Land here.

A Prelude to Shower Crying

Earlier this year, I made all kinds of plans and scheduled all kinds of author-y type events for May and June and August. I figured, “These months are forever away! I’ll schedule them for then, and that way I won’t ever have to worry about them! I’m a genius!”

Alas. Not a genius. It’s May now, and that means I actually have to do one of those author events tonight.

To say I’m nervous is an understatement.

When you’re a new author, you have to resign yourself to the fact that no one knows who you are. No one is going to pre-order your book, you will not have lines out the door at your book signings, and if you manage to sell enough books to cover the cost of your advertising and overhead, you should call it a day and pat yourself on the back.

You will not be Stephen King. You will not buy a fancy Manhattan penthouse with your advances. You are obscure. So obscure, in fact, that the hipsters don’t even know who you are yet.

This means that, unless you have a lot of really longsuffering friends and family, your book events might be a tad…lonely.

I’ve acknowledged this. I’ve prepared myself for it.

Still, I’d be lying if I said that the prospect of sitting in a library by myself on Monday night didn’t bum me out.

Oh, well. This is me paying my dues. I’ll chin up, maybe bring some Bailey’s in a flask, and have a good evening. If I have to, I’ll just play Scrabble on my iPad all night. That, and maybe indulge in a little Tobias Funke-style crying in the shower afterward.

Tobias-Funke-Crying-in-Shower-Arrested-Development

Just like that.

All silliness and pessimism aside, I’m really looking forward to it. If even one person shows up and wants to talk about my book, I’m gonna call that a success. If there’s one thing I can talk about forever, it’s writing.

So, if you care to hang out with me and you’re in the Eastside area of Washington tonight, please come to my Meet the Author thing. I’d love to see you there. I’ll be at the Issaquah Library at 7 PM tonight.

Wish me luck :)