Just like a real author

Being new to the world of authordom, I decided to observe best-selling authors in their natural habitat: the Myrtle Beach Hilton. This weekend I’m attending a writers’ conference. The sun is rising over the pounding surf, and somewhere in this hotel a well-known author is just waking up and scratching his butt.

My partner told me that I should give a speech at a writers’ conference. The problem with that is, a) I got a C in Public Speaking class, and b) conference organizers aren’t prostrating themselves at my size eight-and-a halfs. What’s with that?

Setting aside my well-known hatred for mascara, I once again froo-frood up and stepped into the world of writery people. There I observed that the average attendee was, well, let’s just say that there was a run on bran flakes and stewed prunes at breakfast each morning. Hot flashes were a distant memory for most of us.

I have a coffee mug that says, “I’m an author. Act unimpressed.” If you get into a conversation with a bestselling author, you’ll find that they talk about their homes, children, vasectomies, and police records, just like normal people do.

They regularly get ambushed by writers trying to pitch their young adult Christian erotica books. They pick wedges, check on sales of their books at the conference bookstore, and I suspect that they are able to jump up faster than me, neatly avoiding the splashback from the automatic toilets’ premature evacuation system. I don’t have direct evidence of the latter, but they generally seem pretty spry.

I’m spending most of the conference sitting at a sales table, which doesn’t leave me much time for schmoozing with the editors, agents, authors, and cleaning staff. Nevertheless, what I have learned, is that these people generally check their egos at the door, and truly care about the little guys trying to break into a very competitive world. I’m honored to meet them, not because they’re famous, but because they are decent people, conducting themselves with dignity in the face of criticism.

Now if you’ll excuse me, they’re starting the authors’ rascal races in the north corridor. I have five bucks on Andrew Gross.