I volunteer at the San Francisco Writers Conference doing my “get sh!t done” thing. Specifically, I do logistical management of the 8-minute consultations (previously of just the editors, now of all of them). Having done this for several years with a core group of editors, I’ve become well known for my ability to perform scheduling magic.
The 2020 conference was just before the COVID shutdown. We missed 2021. 2022 was in July.
My book, How to Be a Writer Without Writing a Book, came out in March of 2020.
So, it was July of 2022 when I was finally able to share my book with this huge gathering of book writers.
The person I take care of during this weekend of “get sh!t done taking care of my people” is Mary Knipple. In preparing for 2022, Mary asked if I planned to offer my book in the conference bookstore. <insert much spluttering here> I was not able to easily figure out how to do that, so I let the idea go. I brought a few copies, gave one to Mary and to Mary Rakow – another editor I’ve become pals with.
Enter 2023. Conference is back to February. Mary Knipple admits she’s read some of my book. That’s more than I’d really expected, so no harm. I did mention that, at some point, I would like her opinion.
Mary Rackow not only read it, she sent me feedback – that I never saw.
If you don’t know, my book is from my perspective of I’m a writer, not an author, I DON’T want to write books. Funny thing about perspective, it can be difficult to see others than your own.
Mary R. wanted to know why I don’t have my book in the conference store. My instant response was that this is a group of people who DO want to write books; they’re not my audience. Mary’s response put me on my butt.
This is a group of people who dream of writing a book, they aren’t living off of book income (few people do). This is a large group of potential authors who have day jobs and they probably are not using their writing aptitude in said day job. My book tells them of ways to monetize writing. Translation: these people may want/need to know how to make a living by writing – because they are not making a living by being authors!
OK, there went my perspective of my book.
So, I went up to the store to ask if they thought there might be interest in my book. As it was the end of day 2, and they were not planning on being open on day 3, my timing really sucked. HOWEVER, what I learned was that if I bring a few copies to the next conference, they will put them out for sale. If any copies sell, they get a significant cut and I can say that I sold a copy of my book at the San Francisco Writers Conference!
Well, damn. Now I have to wait for February. Will I need a second edition for 2024?
In my defense, I got the courage up to give a copy to another one of the editors. She is someone I’ve admired from afar since I met her, but it’s only been the last couple of years that I feel like she knows who I am. I offered the copy with the statement that I would be very interested in what she thought. She accepted and even seemed interested. Maybe I’ll hear back from her about it.
In the meantime, are you a potential author? Do you love to write regardless of your published status? Do you want to make a living off of writing, if not off of being an author? May I suggest you read How to Be a Writer Without Writing a Book for reference? It’s a quick read and people have told me they like it. (I even have three reviews on Amazon – all positive!)
– Lorrie Nicoles