I just got home from the New England Chapter’s conference in Framingham, MA. This is the third year I’ve gone. I always meet up with old friends and get to put faces to authors I’ve only met on the internet. In the grand scheme of things … it’s a wonderful weekend.
It was a weekend filled with speakers and workshops, free books and socializing. I had fun. Really, I did. But the one thing these things always do, which they shouldn’t … is depress me. I know. I know. I’m supposed to leave re-energized and ready to tackle new writing projects. But writing conventions always seem to have the opposite effect on me.
It’s so hard for me to pick up books by the keynote speakers. Books that are in print by major NY publishers and for which, the author got a real advance. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m happy for the authors. I am. But at the same time … I’m envious. Yes, these women have worked very hard. They have toiled at their computers creating amazing characters with wonderfully compelling stories to tell. I don’t begrudge them their success. It’s just that … I want it.
I have been blessed with many things in my life, patience just isn’t one of them. I wanted to sit at my computer five years ago, pound out my first manuscript and become an overnight success. Yeeeeeah, well that didn’t quite happen. Not even close. I’m still working to build my readership and therefore increase my sales so that my writing makes me a decent living. (I was a teacher before this … so really, I’m not asking much. *g*)
I know when I go to conventions that seeing the success of others will set me back a couple of days. Never mind that it took some of these authors 10, 12 and in some cases, 20 years to reach the point where they’re at. Every new multi-book contract celebrated, every contest win, every print book signed just digs at me a little tiny bit and ratchets up my frustration. Then I have to come home and settle myself and remind myself that very little in the publishing industry happens quickly.
So you’re asking yourself why I go. Why do I put myself through all of that? The answer is … the authors. Authors are about the most generous, giving people I know. They commiserate with you over your heartaches and celebrate your triumphs. They share their journeys without reservation and help smooth the road for those that follow. There aren’t many professions that can boast the same. Besides … what’s not to enjoy about hanging with everyone in the bar? Oh, yeah, that’s another definite plus, enjoying the easy camaraderie of the profession.
I have no doubt I’ll go again next year. I just know that when I return I’ll need to set aside a couple of days to recouperate and get back on track. Unless of course I have my own six figure three book deal in the works. Hey … a gal can dream!