The Introverted Author

As a published author who is also an introvert with anxiety, book signings are a little perilous. Less so than being on a panel (my heart just sped up because I typed that, for pete's sake), but still nerve-wracking. Anxiety-ridden people can feel they're in a spotlight they don't want to be in all the time. So when we find ourselves in an actual spotlight, we feel an overwhelming desire to mimic that gif of Homer Simpson backing into the shrubbery.

I'm always shaky and doing relaxation tricks for the first half hour and then I get into a rhythm and my brain says, "See? We're only talking to one or two people at a time. Everything's fiiiiine." And 99.9% of the time, it's more than fine. It's great. I LOVE meeting my readers. But that spotlight-induced nervousness is simmering the whole time, and occasionally it means I do something like, I dunno, sign someone else's name in your book instead of yours.

This has only happened three times in nearly two dozen signings, and luckily these books were all new and not someone's treasured, read-many-times copy. (I literally just crossed myself after writing that and I'm not even Catholic.) Each time, I emitted a gentle laugh (or okay, a honk of extreme embarrassment), apologized, tossed the ruined book under the table, grabbed another one off the table, and started over. Very carefully.

At some point, I had three books with random names inscribed in them. I hated to throw them away (I'd paid for them, after all). One book I gave to a Twitter follower (the first to reply, "ME!!!" when I asked, "I personalized this book with the wrong name - who wants it?") The second time, I doodled a tree to obliterate the misspelled name and gave it away on Instagram.

As you can plainly see, I am NOT an artist. But some people wanted it anyway.

As you can plainly see, I am NOT an artist. But some people wanted it anyway.

But I still have the first book I ever messed up during a book signing: an indie (self-published) edition of Easy. These books were POD (print on demand), which means they were created when a reader purchased them from a bookseller online or when the author ordered a box of them for her very first book signing. :)

Original indie cover of Easy

Original indie cover of Easy

My first signing was at a Barnes & Noble in downtown Fort Worth, Texas. During that signing, a reader said, "Stacy" and I heard, "Tracy." I took that misnomered book home that night hoping someone named Tracy would order a copy of Easy from my web shop, but alas, that didn't happen before Easy was acquired and republished by Penguin five months later, at which point I was contractually obligated to pull the indie edition off sale. 

My very first book signing. This may or may not have been the face I made after the "Tracy" oops.

My very first book signing. This may or may not have been the face I made after the "Tracy" oops.

The Tracy-inscribed book has been on my bookshelf ever since. A few months ago, I decided to try doodling Francis over/around the inscription, and this was the result:

Before / After. I was going for pensive Francis but he looks sad, probably because of my artistic efforts. Everyone's a critic.

Before / After. I was going for pensive Francis but he looks sad, probably because of my artistic efforts. Everyone's a critic.

Today is the 5th anniversary of Easy. What better time to give this one-of-a-kind book to one of my readers? If you're signed up for my newsletter, you're already entered. If not, please go HERE to sign up! A drawing from my subscribers will be held on Monday, May 29th, and I will email the winner within 24 hours. I will also draw a dozen extra names for signed Easy bookplates. Good luck!