Apologies to Myself… (or, How I Blew It With Jonathan Maberry)

The other day, I posted on Facebook about the coolest thing that happened to me this weekend at Context 27, so now I have to talk about the worst.  Join me for my tale of woe, would you?

The guest of Honor for this year’s convention was Bram Stoker Award winning author, Jonathan Maberry. He’s written many books for both adults and teens, and if you’re into horror or zombies at all, you’ve at the very least heard the name.  Ghost Road Blues…Patient Zero…Rot & Ruin, to name a few.  Over the course of the weekend, I said hello to him as I passed him in the hallway, and he seemed very nice.  He held two signings in the dealer’s room, one of which he sat right behind me.  However, I did not attend either of the signings simply because the books I have of his are on my Nook.

Well, the show was wrapping up yesterday, the place was dead and I was just about to start packing up when guess who walks by my table and stops.  Yup, one Mr. Jonathan Maberry.  He said hello, and we talked briefly about a couple of his books.  I told him I had read a couple and that I liked them very much.  Nothing fanboy, just one artist letting another know that he enjoyed his work.  As the conversation continued, he picked up one of my shiny new business cards, looked it over and stuck it in his shirt pocket.

Are you with me so far?

So this very successful and internationally known author then looks over at my stack of Bone White copies and asks me what the book is about.  Very cool, right?  Here’s my chance to impress him and maybe even sell him on it.  What small time indie writer wouldn’t love to have an author of his stature voluntarily pick up their work and read it?

Right now, you’re probably thinking, ‘I thought this post was about the worst thing that happened? So far, it sounds pretty cool.’

Well, hold on.

This is where it all goes south.

I froze. I think the first word out of my mouth wasn’t even a word, but more like ‘Uhhh…’  I mean, total deer in the headlights.  I then went on to give him a five second rundown of the book that was so horribly bad, I guarantee he dropped my card in the next trashcan he saw.  Opportunity blown.

You see, I have a real problem pitching my book. I know this about myself, and it’s one of the reasons I get nervous for signings or events.  No matter how many times I recite the pitch in my head, I choke every time I’m put to the test.  Stage fright, I guess.  So although this wasn’t the first time I’d blown the pitch, it was definitely on the biggest stage, and it sucked.

So there you have it.  The reason I’m a writer who should just stay locked in his office writing his books and not out selling them.

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Onward and Upward!

I had three main goals heading into the Imaginarium Convention last weekend…1) to learn a lot and come back a better writer than when I left.  After attending many informative panels and talking with fellow writers, I feel I accomplished this one.  2) to meet a lot of cool people and even come away with a few I can call friends.  This one I can also check off my list.  Rubbed elbows with some really cool people and met some FB friends face to face for the first time.  3)  I hope I can sell enough books to at least help pay for all the books I will undoubtedly be buying for myself.  While I did come home on Sunday in the red, I did sell a few books and it did help offset what I spent.

Now, Context 27 starts tomorrow, and I am heading into the weekend with the same three goals. If I can accomplish all these goals in the span of two weekends, then there is no excuse for not accomplishing whatever goals I set for myself, right?  (okay, that’s pretty thin as far as goal oriented pep talks go, but it beats paying someone to stand behind me with a whip…)

Pass the bourbon…

Twenty-four hours from now I will be hitting the road toward Louisville, KY for the Imaginarium Convention.  Very excited, as this will be my first of what I hope to be many writing conventions.  I have three main goals heading into this weekend…1) to learn a lot and come back a better writer than when I left.  2) to meet a lot of cool people and even come away with a few I can call friends.  3)  I hope I can sell enough books to at least help pay for all the books I will undoubtedly be buying for myself!