The Tucson Festival of Books has ended. The weekend event, which brings thousands to the University of Arizona campus mall, is an inspiring and motivating event for writers and book-lovers. Tents cover the green grassy strip in the center of the U of A where authors, booksellers, publishing companies, and other local community organization display their wares. After years of attending the Tucson Festival of Books, I was finally one of the authors in a tent. First, I want to thank my friends, Dusty and Toni, because they invited me to share the tent to help me get my books out to the public. Theoden Humphrey (aka Dusty) wrote a book too, and we wanted to fight our fear about talking about our books, face the public, and see what would happen.
We did it. We talked about our books, we answered questions, and we sold our books. All. Of. Them.
But you have to understand; before this weekend, I was going to “back out.” Negative thoughts were surfacing that no one wanted to buy poetry books – people weren’t into poetry. I was getting cold feet. I wasn’t ready. But I had shared the investment in the tent, I invested in my books, and I could not afford marketing materials for my books.
On Saturday morning, I was as nervous as a first-grader on the first day of school. I knew there were hundreds of authors who were seasoned and wrote better books than me. I felt terrible that I didn’t have bookmarks like Dusty had, or business cards. Toni took me around the festival to show me how a lot of authors were slowly selling their books, and some did not have a lot of marketing either. I listened to Dusty eloquently and excitingly talked about his pirate book, and I grew weary because my poetry is all over the place! But, slowly I began to talk about my books with help from my friends, Dusty and his wife, Toni. People started to give me money for the books (I wrote three poetry books), and I began to feel a bit better. At one point a woman came by and began to criticize my font and page number placement in one of my books. I have to admit that it tore me up inside. I am a self-publisher, and all I wanted was to get my words printed and share them. I did not know that the Times New Roman font was a problem.
However, as a writer, I have learned to let go and become confident in my craft. I am an artist and I have so much more to write and share. I am preparing for next year’s festival by incorporating marketing materials for my books into my budget.
I invited my family and close friends to come by to see me, and I was very disappointed that they did not. But those disappointments are seeds for my poetry; poetry is my escape and my sounding board.
Therefore, in this reflective moment, I am feeling something I have never felt before. This stirring inside of me has caused my eyes to open; I have made a gigantic step in sharing my most precious secrets – my poetry. My words are in unknown homes right now. People who bought my books will either hate them or love them; but my most treasured piece of me, my poetry, is now out there and I can’t do anything about it but send more of me out there.
Am I ready?
Bring it on.
My fourth poetry book is on its way.