Writing is a lonely business and most of us handle that well. You have to be comfortable talking to imaginary people in your head in order to do it at all. But we’re human, we want other people to read and enjoy our work. Engaging with actual humans can be hard because we aren't sure they'll be nice to us. We're supposed to be "competing" for readers. Actually readers are addicted to fiction, so they can probably consume more than all of us combined could create. It takes way longer to write a book than to read it! But that doesn't stop the anxiety and self-doubt.
So you ask yourself: How to prepare? What if they are so much better than I am? FYI, some of them probably are, but if they’re snooty about it, screw them. Actually nobody proved to be snooty at this event. Au contraire, everyone was warm and welcoming with no necessity to retort or retreat.
A couple of people who participated on April 12th were surprised and touched at the supportive nature of authors to each other. Michael J. Elliott’s posted about his experience.
The kindness of strange authors was less surprising to me because I have seen so much support, knowledge-sharing and mutual aid among authors in the past, particularly in mystery circles such as Sisters in Crime and the DorothyL list. I've also been to marvelously supportive events through Pearlsong Press. But last Sunday the interaction was both real time and extended, through fast-moving discussions on Facebook and Twitter that stayed up for responses to contribute hours later.
I put together a semblance of a competition to give away a copy of Gravitas: Valkyrie in the Forbidden Zone. There were no takers. If nothing else, this amused me (ya know, "can't give it away and all that").
Those who want free stuff from me will have another chance if they sign up for my new mailing list--another thing I was inspired to try. Sign up here for new book and free story info.
The verdict: A good time was had by all, friendships forged and future projects launched. Also, I was totally trashed for a couple of days but that goes with the territory!