View Full Version : The Fear

05-12-2009, 06:01 PM
I just attended a reading by a writer in my field who I respect. The event was a big success, and the place was packed, mainly by people who seemed to be lifetime friends or fans or colleagues of the writer.

With my own new book due out in September, I've been telling myself that this time I'm going to do everything in my power to promote it: readings like the one I went to last night, for instance.

The only thing is, when I pictured myself up there instead of the other writer, I was terrified. For instance, I'm not sure I have any friends or fans or colleagues (none who'd show up at an event in New York City anyway).

The last time I had a book signing (in 1992) no one came.

How do I get over the fear of great humiliation and numbing failure.

On other threads it seems the consensus here is that these things don't sell books anyway, so forget about them and just continue writing. But I've been doing that for years. And sitting home doesn't sell books either.

05-12-2009, 06:24 PM
It sucks to throw an event and have nobody show up. But it isn't something you have a whole lot of control over.

Just tell yourself that, if nobody comes, it'll make a funny story someday. They can use it as an anecdote on your A&E Biography episode: "Today, popmuze's book signings create lines that stretch around the block. But in the early days, before the publication of Tome: A Novel, he couldn't even fill the seats in a small public library." Then they'll cut to a clip of you being charmingly self-deprecating.

Ms Hollands
05-12-2009, 06:24 PM
Well then, give it a shot!

A friend once told me: "Expect nothing, and anything more is a nice surprise." So, call in favours from close friends. Ask them to bring their friends. Tell them how much it means to you that some people turn up and that you're worried it will just be you. Get networking now! Put an invitation on Facebook, and if you haven't set yourself up as an author who can have 'fans', get on there now and start growing your friend list. Go, go, go!

Claudia Gray
05-12-2009, 06:25 PM
I've been terrified before every single event or reading I've done. Doesn't matter if the last one went well or poorly -- the terror really never goes away.

Honestly, the best thing to do is to prepare for the worst. Ask a couple of friends you trust to come by so you can be sure you have a few on your side. If nobody much is around, try to use the time to get to know the booksellers. (Without dragging them away from work they have to do, of course.) Sign some stock. Focus on the productive stuff you can do even in the worst-case scenario -- and then, when that doesn't come to pass, you are pleasantly surprised.

Wayne K
05-12-2009, 06:53 PM
How do I get over the fear of great humiliation and numbing failure.

You don't. If you've written the book and it's being published it's not a failure.

Humiliation is something you predetermine--like happiness.

05-12-2009, 07:51 PM

Maybe we should form a club and our "meetings" will be at other members' readings. Then at least we'll have a few people in the crowd!

05-12-2009, 11:31 PM
The title of your book sounds interesting. I'd show up if it were in Minneapolis.:)

05-13-2009, 09:37 AM
Was it Uncle Jim's advice to head off such a scenario by having multiple authors and maybe a bowl of candy?

05-13-2009, 06:56 PM
The title of your book sounds interesting. I'd show up if it were in Minneapolis.:)

I'll make sure the publisher puts Minneapolis on the tour (the tour??????).
Do you know Prince?