Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Debut Author Series--Book Launch: Reading to an Empty Room

Yesterday I talked about the day my book launched.  I was full of nerves and craziness!  It was an exciting day and it turned out better than I imagined. 

Today, I'm going to tell you what happened after I tumbled back down to earth from that high.  Before my book was published, one of my biggest fears was that I'd be scheduled to do a reading at a library or a book store and no one would show up. 

While it wasn't quite that bad, it was close.  The rest of my book tour, the "crowds" ranged from a low of 4 people to a high of 8. 

 Although I knew to expect this, I won't lie.  It hurt. After such a great out for the launch, I had hoped that I'd at least have double digit crowds at the rest of my signings.  Obviously, I didn't.  It was hard not to get disappointed after driving two hours each way to talk to four people. 

This has been the most difficult thing to deal with.  Even though you know it's likely (it's notoriously hard to draw a crowd as a debut author), there's still a part of you that hopes you'll be the exception to the rule. 

Most of the time you're not the exception, you're the rule.  And that's disappointing.  You spend years pouring your heart into a project and when the heavens don't open and shower you with rainbows, it hurts. 

I'll be honest with you, I went home and cried after a few readings.  I questioned whether I should be writing at all.  Then I woke up the next morning, washed my face, sat down in front of my computer, and kept writing. 
The only cure that I've found for disappointment is to get back to work.  The truth is, if you're a writer, you can't not write.  You'll write even if no one reads your work.  Even if you're afraid you're a hack.  If you're a writer it's what you are, not just what you do for a living.

We writers are a resilient breed.  We keep going in the midst of rejection and disappointment.  We put words on paper (or computer screens) without knowing whether the world at large will ever see them.  We do this because we believe in the power of words. 

Debut authors, veteran authors, authors-in-waiting I hope you hold onto the power of words when you face disappointments and setbacks in your writing life.  Know that you're not alone.  There's an entire community of us pecking away at our keyboards, hoping to touch lives one word at a time.

And if you hold a reading and no one shows up or only a few people show up, know that what you're doing is valuable.  Hold your head up.  Give the best reading you can.  Then go home and eat an entire chocolate cake. 

Because chocolate fixes everything. :-)


  1. Next time you wonder if you should be writing, remember an agent and a publisher have already answered that question. They saw value in your work. YOU ARE PUBLISHED! There ya go...:)

    As to the writing life, wasn't it Hemingway who said (paraphrasing), "Writing is easy. You just sit down to a typewriter and bleed"? That's so messy. Who needs an audience for that?

    1. Thank you Doug! I can always count on you to be positive!