I grew up reading. I’ve always loved it. For me, reading was a way to travel to other places and other worlds. I credit my mom with giving me that love of reading. I remember reading books and actually missing the characters when an especially good story was over. I was sad to be finished. Until I picked up the next book.
Since those early days, I’ve always had stories swirling around inside my head. It took me a while, until I reached adulthood, to figure out that those stories in my head could actually make it on paper and just might be interesting and entertaining to someone else. Now, I think I like writing as much as reading. I tell people the experiences are very much the same for me, except I get to decide what happens to the characters rather than waiting to see what the author wants to happen.
Holding a book that you wrote in your hands is a truly unique experience, not unlike the birth of a child. Most of the time, it actually takes longer for the book to develop than it does a baby. As a parent, though, you are usually proud to show off your baby. When it comes to sharing a book, it is actually one of the scariest things you’ll ever do as a writer. It takes a while to get used to talking to someone who really isn’t interested in your work, or worse dislikes it.
To write a book, it takes hundreds of hours. You might write a thousand words every time you sit down at the keyboard. A few thousand if you’re on a roll. A typical novel runs anywhere from 75,000 to 100,000 words. And that doesn’t include revisions, rewrites and research. At the end of all that work, you desperately want people to like what you’ve written.
This weekend I’m participating in the West Virginia BookFestival with my latest novel, Wreck of the Huron, the latest short story SeaMonster and the latest children’s story Swimming with Sharks. I’ve done book signings on my own. You know the people who come to a signing are there for you or at least curious about what you write. I’ve worked trade shows for previous employers selling a variety of products and services. This will be the first time in my life I’ve ever worked a trade show where the main product I’ll be there representing is me and my books. I have to admit, I’m excited and a little nervous.
I’m looking forward to sharing my books with my hometown crowd, seeing some old friends and meeting some new ones. One of the greatest parts of this event will be that I’m going to be one of 20 or so authors present who are representing their books. Should be fun. And I’m fairly sure I’ll come home with a couple books to read at the end of it. And probably inspiration for a couple new projects.
Come out and say “hi” if you get the chance. I’ll be in booth 505.
I hope I don’t look too nervous…