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In a 72-hour span, yours truly has been humbled no less than twice. One was a lesson in overestimation. The second was an awe-inspiring experience that every author wishes for.

On Thursday evening, I drove down to my old haunt of Southbridge, Mass. for a book discussion and reading of TURNING BACK THE CLOCK. I set up the reading a couple of months ago, and I thought that with my base in that town -- I was the sports editor at the Southbridge Evening News for a year, and I also broadcast local games -- would fill the Jacob Edwards Library's Reading Room with people that I hadn't seen in a couple of years. I always felt I had been appreciated during my tenure, working hard to promote youth sports and the like.

I got there at about 5:45 p.m. and was greeted warmly by librarian Margaret Morrissey, a lovely Irish woman, and by Ashley Malouin, who set up the event; it turns out Ashley is originally from Fitchburg, and I know her grandmother from when I was in school. Margaret told me about all the promotional work the library did -- social media, Internet listings, displays inside the walk way -- as well as the nice announcement The News put in the paper that day. Along with the work I did through my personal Facebook page, I hoped it would be a smashing success.

As the clock inched toward 6:30 p.m. (the start time for my discussion), I noticed a peculiar thing. The room was practically empty except for a gentleman doing research. Even the crickets hadn't arrived. Ashley came in at 6:28 and saw the lack of people. She frowned. I really think the library wanted this to be a success, too.

Not wanting me to feel bad and coming all that way with no one to talk to, they were able to recruit a couple of workers from the children's library downstairs to come up and listen. A few seconds later, an older couple -- I believe from a writer's group -- came in and listened. Margaret and Ashley joined in. About 45 minutes in, the gentleman doing research joined in.

All in all, it turned out to be not so bad. It did, however, taught me to not overestimate and get geeked up for such an event. As I've read before, you really can't gauge what an event will draw, especially on a gorgeous Thursday evening at the end of July. I want to thank Margaret and Ashley for making me feel so welcome; I'd love to come down again, perhaps in the spring when the next baseball novel comes out.

The second humbling happened yesterday.

I increased my readership by leaps and bounds toward the end of the month; I promoted tirelessly to the point of avoiding everything else (note to self: the dishes and laundry need to be done). I decided to do a sponsorship of Kindle Nation Daily's free book listings. My sponsorship day was yesterday.

The results are staggering.

Whenever I go into my local Barnes & Noble, I see stacks of hardcovers from many different traditionally authors; sometimes the big name authors will have stacks of anywhere between 25-40 books on that table; Star Wars usually has a good bunch.

If digital copies were hardcovers, I would have sold out my allotment yesterday, as well as anything put on back order.

(Quick aside: If you're not on Kindle yet, what are you waiting for? You have access to a 24/7 bookstore, and there is no waiting list, no such thing as back order.)

I had an incredible day yesterday, gaining many new readers; 68 to be exact, and all were Kindle readers. I gained one this morning as of this writing. The humbling lesson here: Be thankful that someone, people I've never met before, is/are reading what I've written. That is a thrilling -- yet humbling -- prospect, especially when it was 69 readers in less than 24 hours.

And I'm not going to overestimate how many new readers I will gain today, or in the future, either.

John's Amazon Author Central page
John's Smashwords page


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Aug. 2nd, 2010 04:14 am (UTC)
And no experience, no matter how humbling, is wasted on a writer. Somewhere, at some time, a John Fitch V character will know the bewildering ache of an empty room and it will ring true on the page.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )



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