There was a book signing tonight at one of my local bookstores, and I decided to go. I hadn’t read any of the author’s books, but he writes fantasy; something I enjoy reading anyway, so why not, right? Additionally, he’s a name author who lives in Oregon, so I thought I’d go out to support him.
Let me just add, that this was not my first book signing, and I had a pretty good idea what to expect. I’d buy the book, listen to a reading or brief Q&A, and wait in line to get it signed.
This was nothing like that.
Although I arrived well before the signing, the place was packed, with every seat either taken or ‘saved’ and a standing room only crowd, with more coming every minute. You had to have a ticket (free, but WTF!). At least three hundred people, many of them with multiple books stacked up for signing. Not only that, but these were big, thick, honkin’ 3-inch thick hardcovers. I’ve been to NY Times best-selling author signings with half that many in attendance. I had no idea he was so popular. I confess I did a quick check of his website, and I guess I’ve been living in oblivion for the past 5 years, because he is huge. He’s got a big name agent, a video, a book tour and everything.
It freaked me out.
I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. On the drive home, I caught myself envying this guy (a wonderful fellow and great writer, I’m sure) and his multitude of fans. And then I started feeling bad. About myself. My writing. Even the story I’m working on right now. I hate this feeling. The fear that I’m doing everything wrong. That I’ll never be good enough. I’ve learned to recognize the onset symptoms of a pity party, and know that if I let myself wallow in it, I can waste days or even weeks circling that drain. So when I got home, I reread a nice blog post Chuck Wendig wrote today that was eerily appropriate. Basically, he says (and we all know this) that you will never get anywhere comparing yourself to others. Heres the link if you want to read it.
So no more book signings for a while, for me, I think. I’m not strong enough. I’ll be getting back to work on my manuscript now.