It’s my birthday! And though I had to begin my morning with a Dr.s appt., I am in good spirits. Lil’ Jubilee is looking good, so I couldn’t really ask for a better gift than that could I? I got to hear my daughter’s heartbeat again on my birthday. Just awesome.
This past weekend I had a sister’s sleepover for my birthday, since I figured I wouldn’t be able to do anything like that in the near future. It was great fun–they really spoiled me, I had all of my favorite foods and got waited on hand and foot. We stayed up until about 4 or 5 in the morning like 6th graders.
Over the course of the evening, we played the game “never have I ever…” which was more just like, “truth” without the “dare” part. Of course, we had to tell our most embarrassing moments, and in the spirit of sharing, I thought I’d tell this story:
Two years ago, Mike and I were in Denver, Co. for the CBA (otherwise known as the “pimp your Christian wares” convention. I swear, if Jesus were to step in there, in the flesh, he’d be just as angry as he was in the temple with the money-changers.) We were gearing up to meet with several different publishers, agents, and marketing people, and just generally make as many different connections as we could. The entire week is one HUGE time to gather free books and/or stuff and sell yourself basically.
I feel absolutely awful in this kind of environment. I’m not a salesperson and I don’t like “pitching” ideas or proposals. It was the first time I’d gone with an “agenda”–I was going to be pitching my novel to two or three different editors, and I was a nervous wreck. Literally. I don’t know why I got so worked up, but I was seriously the most nervous I’d ever been in my entire life.
On the day that we were meeting with one of the “big” senior editors at a big publishing house, I was already so sick of telling people about myself, I didn’t know if I could do it again when we had our meeting with him. (I don’t know if you understand this feeling, but to me, having to constantly sell myself is super draining.) All these what ifs were floating around in my head, and the pressure was really getting to me.
*It should be mentioned that at the CBA, you have these name badges that say your name (duh), where you are from, and who you are there with (either a publisher or a retailer). When Mike and I go, we go as guests of Destiny Image Publishing, which is Pennsylvania. So our badges always say that we’re with them and from PA, and when people asked about Pennsylvania or Destiny Image we’d have to explain, “well we’re actually guests of the publishers who are from Atlanta and work as freelancers.” Not a big deal, but kind of convoluted and a pain. If you weren’t required to wear them to be on the show floor, I wouldn’t bother with mine, but the big, bad, CBA bodyguards won’t let you in without one.
So, on this day that I’m so nervous my bowels wanna empty themselves every 5 minutes, Mike and I were standing in line to get (yet another) book signed by the author. I finally get to the guy, who turns out to be young and pretty cute too.
(Check out his book if you want: Mike Yankoski–Under the Overpass)
We start making small talk, which was nice of him, but then again, maybe his line was just short, I don’t remember. He looks at my name badge and asks, very innocently and like most everyone else already has, something like, “So you’re with Destiny Image?” or “Oh so you’re from Pennsylvania?”
I kind of just stared at him, this young Christian stud in a great suit and dazzling smile, and I am suddenly overwhelmed with having to answer this simple question again. I’m sure my eyes started bugging out.
Awkward silence ensues.
I finally manage to mumble something in response about the freelance writing, and I must’ve mentioned my book pitch because then he asks, “Oh? So, what’s your book about?”
Oh God. Now I have to tell him too.
A longer moment of awkward silence ensues. He looks behind me, already dismissing me.
I know that I am about to start shaking and crying and generally making a fool of myself. He is staring back at me with that painted smile, and I wonder if he thinks I’m mildly retarded. (He was probably thinking, Aw, how cute, she thinks she can write a book…)
My hands are fluttering around, and I’m shifting my weight back and forth on my feet. “Well, my book, well…I just…I’m sorry, I can’t…I don’t really know how to explain it…I can’t talk right now,” I find myself saying frantically.
Tears start to well up in my eyes.
He responds, “That’s okay. Have a blessed day.” He’s still smiling at me, but he kind of nods as if to say, “Okay, gotta get this freak-o through the line.” He hands me back his book after he’s signed it. I wonder if anyone in the line behind me has witnessed this exchange. I grab the book and dash off, looking for a quiet place to be mortified.
Mike catches up with me pretty soon, and at first he’s got this bemused smile on his face. “What’s wrong? Did you get nervous in front of a hot guy?” he asked me.
I did start crying then, because Mike stopped teasing me and he hurried me off the floor so we could go have lunch (where I threw back a beer and took these “calm” herbal pills, maybe not a good idea to take both at once, but I did).
You will be happy to know that I did eventually calm down, and our meeting with this particular editor went super well (after reading a sample, he gave me a standing invitation to submit my book once I was finished, which is pretty awesome and does not happen every day for first time authors w/out agents).
I still feel like I’m blushing whenever I think of that.
Here’s to being ridiculous!