For someone who doesn’t really like being around a lot of people I sorta miss events. I miss conventions. I miss putting them on and I miss vending them. I sorta miss going to them but not a ton because it just gives me angst about what I can’t afford to do or get. I do miss shows though.
To a degree.
I mean, I still don’t like being around people, and am not comfortable with humans as a whole anymore, but there’s something about vending for me that reminds me why it’s so fun to be a creative in the first place. It’s the opportunity to let people see what you do, to pitch it, to learn how to sell it, and to better understand what it is you have.
I am a terrible salesperson when it comes to my own stuff.
And I have been putting work out into the world for just shy of thirty years and if anyone knows the work it’s you. The problem though is that you are so entrenched in it that it’s hard to really see outside of it. It’s hard to know how to sum up all of the things you were trying to portray or to say. Hard to disseminate all of the inspirations and themes you may have tried to convey.
For me, I have a hard time telling people about the books I write because I want them to discover them on their own. You have to ‘sell’ the book but I want to do it in a manner that makes them curious but doesn’t ruin the mystery and discovery. So much of our entertainment is telegraphed and given away, it’s nice to discover things for ourselves.
I had this very problem recently at my first event in months.
Someone asked what Reliquary In Black was about and I was like, uh…um… Because I didn’t want to ‘give it away’.
I remember trying to pitch my novel A Shadow Over Ever to two publishers at a convention – neither were interested in either me, or my pitch, but that’s neither here nor there – and I struggled with it. I had lived with this book for years but still didn’t know how to tell people what it was.
It’s that my writing’s that deep or that nebulous but that I just am not sure what to tell and what to leave out.
A pitch is a seduction, not a follow through.
It’s funny but I also think part of the problem, for me, is that I have so much stuff that it puts people off.
I want to write and get my work out because you never know when that ability will be taken from you. I have known too many people who died with stories in their heads and I just want to get out what I can.
I won’t be remembered.
I won’t be beloved.
But I want to make the impact I can while I can.
But I think that folks see my setup and the mass of books and where I think it gives people options it may just put people off because it’s too much.
Which is so strange to imagine but I do get it.
We love choices but too many can freeze us.
Then there’s the whole stress events put on the creative and the potential customer.
You want to be polite and inviting but not pushy.
I hate pushy vendors at events.
I figure hey, come check my stuff out and I am here if you have questions.
I try not to loom or linger, just to be there if they want to know something.
I totally get that what I write or create isn’t for everyone and I accept it and don’t try to pressure people into buying something they won’t be into. I create stuff that’s not for everyone, but in saying that, there is something for just about everyone. I have written SO much stuff that it hits a lot of categories and topics. And heck, I am pretty good writer. I don’t brag but, girl, I gots some word moves.
I’d love to have fans but I sure don’t want to create people that hate my work because they were conned into buying it.
All of this said though, the thrill of someone you have never met buying something you created is amazing.
Better is that I have made friends this way.
Which is crazy.
Being around other creatives is inspiring and drives you to want to do more and do better.
Being around customers makes you want to hone your skills at selling what you do and to do it in a way that doesn’t misrepresent the work but which does seal the proverbial deal and makes the sale.
I have a problem with that.
I don’t sell a lot.
I will get browsers from time to time but not a lot of buyers.
Which is even more frustrating because I have done this long enough that I get pricing things in a way that gives customers options.
That book is $15 but this one is $5.
Take your pick.
I miss doing events.
I miss being out there and getting my work in front of people.
I miss selling, darn it.
I don’t miss people though.
I don’t miss crowds.
I don’t miss the health risks.
I wish there were more folks doing what I try to do, creating smaller events that want customers but don’t need crowds.
Events where folks can do what they do with little stress, with no pressure to have to sell to ‘make table’.
Events everyone can leave feeling good.
Everything of late is so big, so overstuffed, that unless it’s a weekend thing or one of the legit bigger shows.
Not everything needs to be huge though.
Not everything needs to be two days.
Not everything has to be overstuffed so you can sell more tables and charge higher admission and sell more concessions.
Sometimes it’s just about getting some like minded folks together for a low cost, low key event and just having fun.
I miss events.
I just don’t necessarily miss them completely.
I write books. Go check it out!