A couple of years ago I started listening to a podcasted novel called Nocturnal. I have to admit, I was just as entertained by the author as I was the story he was narrating. Scott Sigler made me laugh.
He was also doing something I found quite daring. He was defying the publishing gurus and gatekeepers by giving away his work for free. Even more intriguing, he was succeeding in a big way. His fans - or junkies as they're called- responded to his call for action and managed to score him the #2 position on Amazon for his print novel, Infected. This gained him some attention and soon enough he had signed with Crown Publishing.
He's now a New York Time's best-selling novelist. One who continues to make his work available to the masses through free podcasts.
I must admit, I'm in awe of this guy. He has skills.
So when one of my hubby's high school friends contacted us about attending a book signing down in Royal Oak, I was interested. I was also worried I would miss it because I had to work that morning and make time afterward for an open house. Add on the time if would take me to get from here to there, and I knew my chances of making it to Barnes & Noble were slim.
Luckily, this friend of ours had connections. She had gone to college with Scott and assured us it would be okay to just meet up with them at the bar.
I'm glad I took her up on the offer. Even happier that the hubby allowed her twist his arm and he ended up joining us for the evening. If he had opted to stay home, I'm certain things would not have played out the same way.
After getting my booked signed, the hubby and I sat down with our dear friend and chatted. Eventually, Scott and some of his childhood and college friends joined us.
Now, before I tell you how I likely managed to make a complete fool out of myself, I must admit there were a couple of things working against me here. First, I'd had a late lunch, which means I wasn't hungry. Second, we were at a sit-down bar. And it was muggy hot. This unfortunate combination would have consequences.
With any luck, though, Scott and his old friends didn't find my martini-induced idiocy to be too painful an experience. Because, my friends, it is a bad idea to sit down with people you don't know very well and drink way too much, especially when said people make you feel like you've known them forever.
My eyes look focused in this picture, which I think this is a good sign. The first impression might not have been as unkind as the last. I remember at one point during the night I could not remember the name Deidre, had a hard time spitting out the word "self-promotion", and likely laughed a little too loud.
The biggest surprise of the night - other than the fact that for the first time EVER I was actually sick from overindulgence - was that once Scott found out I was a writer, he was determined to talk to me about the writing. Not just any writing, though. He wanted to talk about my writing.
To start with, he asked me to give him my elevator pitch. This was a colossal fail. Instead of dismissing me as a hopeless hack, though, he gave me some solid advice. Get my pitch together and practice it on my boys. If I can get some kind of positive feedback from them, then I'm ready for the agent or editor at the next Con.
He also called me out for being modest. Instead of declaring myself the best thing "evah", I must have said something more along the lines of "I'm okay". Seconds after those words - or something like them - passed my lips, our conversation looked something like this....
After a little bit coaching, we moved on to the next topic.
Rejections. He wanted to know how many I had. When I said two, he told me he couldn't take me seriously as a writer until I had at least 100 rejections. Now, some people may have been offended by this, but I get it. Collecting rejections shows determination and belief in the product you're trying to sell. Lucky for me, I already have two! Although, I wonder now if I'm supposed to count the simple form rejections that don't provide any individual or thoughtful feedback because I normally don't. If that's the case, I need to go through my e-mail because I might have 7 or 8 rejections total on this latest novel.
Either way, I've got a long way to go.
Now whether the offer was sincere or not, I appreciate the fact that, if I begin to flounder at 50, he offered to give me another pep talk. I would call him a sweetie for the offer, but I think that might ruin his rep as the Evil Overlord.
What I will say instead is that the man is passionate about writing and doesn't humor any excuses.
It's an attitude I need to adopt and make my own. No more excuses. No more wimping out. If I really want this, I need to go after it with everything I've got and know that I'm strong enough to handle any rejection that comes my way.
Thank you, Scott, for challenging me.