There is a common misconception when it comes to authors. People think the strangest things about them. Some believe it to be the most idyllic profession, involving trips around the world, exciting research missions, sold out book signings, celebrity treatment, and author groupies. Sadly, there is no such thing as author groupies. I get my wonderful wife to fill this position. Thanks to shows like Castle, the world seems to believe we go around having buckets full of fun. With fun and adventure in mind, a trip to Namibia would be the obvious destination for these imaginary writers. If only this was true.
The truth is, being an author is very hard work. When the passion for the perfect tale is over, and the book is finally closed, it becomes a business of sorts. We are forced to be more proactive on the marketing front. Let’s face it, one of the surest ways to meet new readers, is to tell them that you are, in fact, an author. The days of writing a masterpiece and leaving it out there in the great unknown, with the hopes that someone might stumble across your book, has passed.
Think about it. You have just journeyed with a number of different people you were very close to. You had intimate knowledge of their innermost workings and you love them as if they are family. Sure, you had to kill some of them off during the journey, but essentially all these characters were your babies. You are still suffering from a slight withdrawal symptom from each individual character, as they step out of the deepest parts of your mind, from the darkness where you had formed them, into the light, and now you are asked to move on as if nothing had happened. At this point, your most vulnerable post-writing recovery, you are tasked with promoting your book, and, what authors hate most, promoting yourself. Book signings, discussions, interviews, talking and more talking, etc. Oh, the agony. I also need to mention here that no one buys from a shy or boring author, so you have to be the sparky engaging version of yourself.
I know what you are thinking. What is this idiot complaining about? I can so pull that off, right? For most people this would probably be all fun and games, but I suspect most authors find this tedious, or, at the very least, a bit annoying. The authors I have had the privilege of engaging with, were rather reserved, not very boastful, and preferred to keep to themselves. We are storytellers. We observe, and dislike being observed by others. I have done the media drill, though in a diminutive form, and it will always be as much fun as it is exhausting.
My trip to Namibia was nothing different. Next week I will detail my trip for those who have an interest about how to plan and conduct a book trip to another country.