It isn't easy being a writer. It's like living perpetually on a roller coaster. We have our ups and our downs. But we love the ride. The bumps, jerks, and deep drops are startling at times. The climb upward can be thrilling, and at the same time strenous, snatching our breath and sapping our energy. It is all worth it, however. Every single minute. Every stroke of our keyboard. Every hour we spend writing, planning, working out character lists, outlining, dreaming and ruminating over a storyline. Writing boils in our blood. It nags at us to sit down and get that story written. Writing is more than a career for a follower of the Way. It is a ministry. We have something to say, and there is someone out there we need to minister to through our character's lives and the meaning of our prose.
We face rejection, and it can hurt. But we move on, on a wing and a prayer. And when we do become published the hard work gets harder. Edits, marketing, and then reviews. But the hard work is sublime.
I attended a mass book signing recently with five of my fellow ACFW members. I mentioned in an earlier post, I would write more about it. We all worked together on the event to promote it. That day, we were all placed in a line together, each of our tables overflowing with books, postcards, bookmarks, and banners. We were all smiles, greeted people, talked with them, and if any lights were shining that day it was the light within us. We may not have sold out our stocks of books we brought with us, but being together, meeting readers, having a late lunch at the local Shoney's made for a joyous day.
Behind us a row of young fantasy writers sat stoically at their tables, all but one self-published.
(Note: I am not against self-publishing persay, but I do understand the drawbacks. Many aspiring writers will go with a self-publishing company out of impatience, or that they are told traditional publishing is a ripoff.)
Their tables were books only. I wanted to bless them, and so went over and spoke to each one. Two smiled and told me about their books. The rest did not. One eighteen-year-old stood out to me in particular. She emulated so much pride that she barely spoke a congenial word to me, but subtlety made a snide remark about traditional publishing. She said she was in control of her career, her books, and owned the rights. I smiled and complimented her on her ambition at such a young age, how wonderful it was that she wrote a novel.
I chalked it up to her age and inexperience. My heart went out to her as I looked at her hardcover novel that had to be more than 600 pages long, that must have paid a lot of money to have published. I would have loved to have chatted with this young aspiring writer, but when she glared at me and looked away, I moved on. Someday, I really believe she will remember the encouragement I tried to give her. Perhaps she will seek me out, or see me again next year at the same event. I hope so.
So that is the jest of the book signing. If you are a light in this world, and you attend book events, whether you are a published author signing books, or an attendee, or a helper, let your light shine before people. A little will go a long way, even if you don't see it right away.