The day I got my first Huffington Post blog published (about how I pee in my pants all the time now that I’m old) I peed in my pants. And then I called my kids and my husband, and emailed everyone I know. And then I quickly got in touch with the guy who does my website to make a few changes. “We better check all the links to Amazon. My book sales could easily go through the roof with the huff post exposure.”
After the blog went up, I spent the whole day sending and answering emails from fans. Fans like my kids, my college roommate, the lady who gave me my first set of highlights, who still has my email for some reason, my next door neighbor, the secretary from my kids’ middle school, my mom, my sister, and the woman who waxes my moustache.
“Wow!” I thought, wiping a tear from my eye. “What a great day for my career!” I guess this is how it all starts. First the huffpost, then the emails, then I’ll probably want to set up an account exclusively for book sales royalties. As of now it’s got just the $3.74, but that number is certainly about to change.
So I made some more calls, took a shower, checked my website a few times and decided to check my post. Just to see if it had gone viral.
I hit the button again to see if 164 was short for 164 million.
I decided that it’s better to build an audience slowly. You don’t want to overexpose yourself and then burn out. The idea is to stay under the radar until you build a solid fan base to protect you from the haters.
I checked the post again.
I remember my first book signing at Womrath’s in Tenafly, New Jersey. I parked a few streets down to leave spaces for my fans. I was wondering if some of my old teachers might show. I imagined pointing them out in the crowd and telling them to give themselves a hand for knowing me.
I pictured my kids setting up a little lemonade stand for parched fans while they waited on line for a signed copy of, “She’s Got Issues.” And then I blotted my lipstick a little so I wouldn’t look too done.
When I arrived at the bookstore for the signing, the owner, Bob, had set up a bunch of chairs. I’d say about twenty chairs. I was surprised to see that only three of them were occupied.
“Where is everybody?” I whispered to Bob.
“Oh, this is it. This is a typical turnout. Authors aren’t rock stars.”
“Right, right. So, who are those three people in the audience?” I asked.
“Oh, that’s my wife, Meryl, and her sister, Arlene. They both read and loved your book. That other woman is from the chair rental company. She has to stay until you’re done.”
The reading ended up being one of my best. A few more people trickled in and they asked some amazing questions. We all started sharing our experiences about how women treat each other in the workplace. By the end we felt like a little family. That’s how it always is with readings. The people who come truly want to be there. They want to connect with one another through books and writers get to feel like they did something useful that day as opposed to what they usually do, which is sit in a room talking to themselves and writing it down.
If you touch even one person a day it’s a miraculous feeling, so miraculous in fact that I could go on and on about it all day. But I have to go check my likes.