by Caren Crane
Gentle Reader, I have a confession to make. Though you will hear the Banditas and others quiver at times with insecurity about whether people like our writing or how a book will be viewed by the public, we are only half insecure. As the incomparable Claudia Dain has said, "Writers are a mountain of ego, surrounded by an ocean of insecurity". Claudia nailed it.
After all, ours is an avocation - the thing we love to do. And yet, it is enormously draining, difficult and full of rejection (and the potential for rejection). Ask yourself, what sort of person knowingly takes on a job where they will be rejected 99 times out of 100? Oh, a salesman, perhaps?
Yes, like it or not, we are called on to sell, sell, sell our stories. First to agents and editors, then to booksellers and librarians and finally, Gentle Reader, to you. Such crass commercialism! Surely Jane Austen did not have do such a thing? Well, maybe at one time writers were not called upon to sit at a lonely table in Barnes & Noble and direct customers to the bathroom. To bribe people with chocolate to talk to them. To make them feel guilty enough to buy a book and - please, oh, please! - let them autograph it.
Yes, perhaps the readers and writers both were spared such humiliation at one point in time, but today it is a reality. Today, writers must produce a great book, sell it and promote it. That is rather daunting to many writers. Unlike your Banditas (*g*), most writers are solitary creatures, who would rather sit at home alone with their keyboards than direct potential buyers to the restroom. Being subjected to such things is, to them, too high a price to pay.
I, for one, will be happy to sit in a bookstore and direct people to the restroom. I will invite several friends along, who will plant themselves in the romance section and allow their conversation about that fabulous writer who is here, OMG! to be overheard by romance browsers. Ones who will pass out chocolate and keep me company. Even if unaccompanied, I will make friends. Not because I was born an extrovert, but because I can become one for the sake of getting my book in your hands.
I can sell. Heck, I can hard sell, if that's what it takes. Anything, Gentle Reader, to get the fruits of my fingers into your (perhaps unwilling, but ultimately happy) hands. I have to. I chose to be a writer.
So, what have you done that was against your nature but necessary for your survival? Gone out with a guy so you would have something to eat for dinner? Sold jewelry for gas money? *gasp* Suffered through a booksigning?