I recently participated in a local holiday bazaar and displayed my award-winning books and sassy new calendars and offered a free bottle of wine with every $75 order. I even threw in free sweatbands. The kick-in-the-gut reality set in six hours later when I packed up my display and realized I didn’t make enough money to pay for the entry fee. I should have stayed home and played with Studley.
Many people think that writing a book will bring fame and fortune. In reality it brings that sad moment when your cart breaks and your books fall onto the pavement in the night rain. Added to the frustration is the cruel fact that the few people who straggle into a bazaar located in a hidden gym have no intention of buying a book. Not when there are necklaces made from melted spoons and scented wax that smells like Christmas trees.
The lonely event was organized to promote and celebrate local businesswomen. I brought eight titles that included a national bestseller, three national award winners, and one book that had been adopted by the Idaho Department of Education for the statewide curriculum. I didn’t sell a single book. My heart was as heavy as the boxes I lugged back to my car.
I felt extra guilty because I had encouraged my friend and author AK Turner to join me in the bazaar. We set up our tables, arranged our books, and had our Internet payment connection all ready to go. After a few hours, we realized that our return on investment was negative and our analytical husbands had been correct. Sometimes the truth really sucks.
Of course we made the best of a bad situation. We had a bottle of wine tucked inside my briefcase and sipped out of paper cups. As the evening dragged, another bottle was opened and we drowned our collective sorrow by sharing the fruit of the vine. After awhile we didn’t give a damn if anyone even looked at our books. They didn’t even deserve to look at them!
Writers have this naive optimism that the world will clamor to read their every word when in reality people would rather have some smelly candle or a lopsided pottery vase. Why buy a book written by local authors when you can wear a rhinestone bracelet made in China? Why care that a local entrepreneur spent months crafting random words into creative and clever sentences when there are burp rags selling for $2.00?
After the bazaar, it took several trips back and forth to my car to pack the table, chair, boxes of books, calendars, a case of wine, and supplies. On the last trip, my tote broke and books scattered onto the wet pavement. I fought back tears as I picked up each book, dried it on my sweater, and tossed it into the car. It was as if I were picking up pieces of my heart that nobody wanted. (Seriously, I was really milking the drama of the moment.)
I’m not bitter about the lack of sales. I congratulate the businesswomen who sold spaces for the bazaar. She made a profit. I did not. Therefore, I won’t do it again. Experience is an excellent teacher, and I’m now working on a generic book about a vampire wizard who comes in fifty shades of grey with magical powers that include funky jewelry, an incense burner, and a garden chime. That should be a bestseller.
Today’s blog is fueled by a 2011 Luna Cabernet Sauvignon from California. It’s the perfect anecdote to a demoralized mood and can be found at Crush Wine Bar in Eagle for only $22. Toss in a snickers cupcake and the world is happy once more.