|Signing books at the Cambria Veterans’ Memorial Building.|
This past weekend, I participated in the Celebration of Authors event in Cambria, where all of my books are set. The event was put on by the Cambria Historical Society, and it featured more than two dozen authors, including Catherine Ryan Hyde of Pay it Forward fame, and Sharon Lovejoy, who spoke to the crowd about her experience writing and illustrating gardening books for children.
I wasn’t sure what to expect in the way of turnout. On the one hand, a lot of people were in Cambria for the Fourth of July weekend. On the other hand, most of those people would probably be out at the beach, in the restaurants, at the wineries, or doing other things that didn’t involve meeting a bunch of authors. Just to hedge my bets, I brought free gifts and a secret weapon: a bowl of candy for my signing table. Snickers and Reese’s Cups, of course. None of that crappy hard candy. If you want to draw a crowd, you’ve got to spring for the good stuff.
|Turnout for the event was good, with dozens of authors participating.|
As it turned out, a lot of people showed up to hear the talk, chat with the authors, hear the live music performance, and partake in the snacks and beverages offered by the Historical Society. (I’d like to think most of them showed up for me, but that seems unlikely. Still, they were all kind enough not to set me straight.)
Some authors debate the value of showing up at in-person events, saying that the cost of traveling to an out-of-town venue isn’t a smart investment. If you’re strictly looking at the financial aspect of it, that’s true. But writing books is hard, and what’s even harder is convincing yourself on a daily basis that your work is good enough to be worth the time you’re putting into it. Meeting people in person who have read my books and enjoyed them—seeing them react with genuine excitement to what I’ve done—gives me enough positive energy to keep going a little longer. I find that every time I visit Cambria, I love the place and the people a little bit more. So, in that respect, I can’t think of a better way to spend my time.