...good things happen.
I've heard my Papaw quote that phrase countless times over the years. Granted, he's usually talking about finding a good parking spot, (and he always finds one closest to the store no matter what time of day it is).
Still, I've adopted his way of thinking. It's never gotten me in trouble and almost always pans out well.
Just like *yesterday.
(*Okay, so technically "yesterday" was a couple weeks ago...read the post and you'll find out why I didn't post this until now. Heh.)
For the past few months, I'd spread the news that I'd be attending the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at USC campus a couple weekends ago. I'd been especially excited for this festival because it would close out my first year in the publishing biz and I wanted to end on a high note. What better way to do that then attending one of the biggest literary events in the U.S.?
That said, as a self-publisher, paying the entry fee to exhibit at a huge festival like this felt like really putting my money where my mouth is.
And I have a big mouth.
A chance to play with the big boys and (hopefully) meet new readers sounded awesome though, despite that I had read more than a few experiences of indie authors being given the cold shoulder in favor of big publishers and others who, to quote from The Big Lebowski, "draw a lot of water in this town."
You can guess what I draw... :/
But I'd already felt some of that firsthand - no one would take my calls or respond to my emails expressing interest to join a panel, be interviewed, etc. Which I get - I'm still a newb, as far as they're concerned, and newbs have to prove themselves.
Then came the booth placement announcements...
Keeping in mind I write YA books with a dark slant, (and seeing as there was a section of the festival specifically for YA), one might be inclined to think that would be the best place for me to meet my target audience, no?
Alas, I found my booth space located in a different section on the exhibitor site listings. My booth neighbors included:
Meaning no offense to those groups, but what teenager would look at those booth descriptions and think, Hmm. I wonder where I can find an author who writes books about the Salem witch trials? I'll bet the Jehovah's witness can tell me...
Said no teen ever.
Being the patient, calm man that I am, my first instinct was to rant and rave and punch something. Hard. Here I've paid a significant amount of money, (in my mind at least), to exhibit at this festival and they're sticking me between those aforementioned groups?
Don't get me wrong. I love that people are interested in obtaining library and information science degrees. I could learn more about Iranian artists and their work. And the Jehovah witnesses are lovely people - I know, because they stop by my house once a month to chat me up. But methinks it would have been a wasted opportunity for all us buddies to neighbor each other for the weekend.
So what did I do?
I wrote the organizers a nice email.
A better way of saying it is I begged...
I asked them in the bestest and kindest way imaginable to please, please change my booth space. I mentioned I wasn't requesting prime real estate, only would it be a huge trouble to place me near other authors.
Note that nowhere in the above paragraph did I mention the words demand, threaten, or require.
And you know what?
Within twenty minutes I received an email from the organizers - they called me a blessing in disguise because another group currently in the YA section was hoping to move elsewhere. Oh, and would it work for me if said relocation space happened to be near the YA main stage where all the presenters/panels will occur?
Yeah, I mean, I guess that'll do.
Needless to say, I replied "Uh, yes, please" and then told said organizers had they been at my house right then I would've kissed them and kissed them well.
All that to say - be kind to one another, folks.
Live a good life and good things will happen.
Oh, and the next time you see a parking space close to the store, pass it on by and leave it for the good guys like my Papaw. Sometimes it's the smallest things that make a world of difference.
Author. Actor. Rascal.