10/10/2011

Making the Most of Opportunity


When I signed my book contract, I made a few commitments to the Lord for the new journey. One of them was that I would embrace every opportunity He brought my way to promote my book. Now, if you know me well, you know this didn’t mean I’d be a marketing machine. That’s just not me. It did mean, however, that if an opportunity came my way—even if it was out of my comfort zone—I’d do it.

So a couple of weeks ago, when an independent bookseller called and asked if I’d like to participate in a book signing with a NYT bestselling romance author, I said yes, though it tied my stomach in knots. I understood from the first it wouldn’t be about selling tons of books. It would be about making new contacts and gleaning wisdom from a writer who’d walked this road longer, and apparently walked it well. And I was okay with that. At least until the day arrived. Then I found myself dreading sitting quietly to the side while people swarmed the other author. But I knew the Lord had opened this door—I’d done nothing to seek it on my own—and so I prayed He would show me very clearly why I was to be there.

I arrived to find a flurry of people, though not as many as I’d anticipated. And I learned that award-winning, bestselling author Jodi Thomas had brought one of her award-winning co-authors, Phyliss Miranda, with her. I set up my books next to Phyliss, feeling like a wallflower at a high school dance. But I needn’t have worried. Phyliss struck up a conversation right away and made me feel at home. When she and Jodi discovered that this was my debut novel, they gave me several sheets of their “autographed copy” stickers to put on the books I signed, something they do whenever they meet a debut author. 

Phyliss, Me, and Jodi

Over the course of the evening, I actually sold a few books, but that wasn’t why I was there. I was there to get to know and to learn from two gracious and humble ladies. What did I learn? That the number of books sold at an event isn’t as important as the connection with the booksellers. That some books take longer to write than others, and sometimes, even after 20 years of writing, it takes time to understand exactly what story you are trying to tell. That it is hard to do events where you have no relationship with the store or its employees. That you should network with readers and book reviewers every where you go. 

Some of these things I’d heard before, of course. But it helped to hear them again. Mostly I drank in their encouragement. I left there with three new friends--two authors and a bookseller. And I thanked the Lord that He’d given me that opportunity. The one I’d been dreading all morning. 


Phyliss, Me, Jodi, and Gayle, the bookstore owner

10 comments:

Wendy Paine Miller said...

What an honor!
I'm so glad you were able to experience this.
~ Wendy

Anne Mateer said...

Thanks, Wendy. I love that God opens those unexpected opportunities.

Marji Laine - Unravel the Mystery said...

I love your attitude about things, Anne. What a great experience! Thanks for sharing it with us!

carla stewart said...

D'Ann, I'm so glad you got to meet Jodi and Phyllis! They are two of my favorite people in all of Texas. Warm, gracious, and fun to be with. I've known them for a long time, and they've both been such an encouragement to me (Jodi endorsed Chasing Lilacs). What a great opportunity for you! I think you're doing an incredible job with promotion. Keep it up.

Anne Mateer said...

Thanks, Marji. I never imagined I'd enjoy the evening so much!

How fun, Carla! I had no idea! If I'd have known, I would have mentioned you. It's always fun to have people in common with new friends. And thank you for your continued encouragement as well. I love how God lets us cheerlead for each other!

Susanne Dietze said...

What a blessed experience. Thanks so much for sharing this--it's a great reminder to keep our hearts open to the voice of the Lord when he presents new opportunities.

And I'm so glad you made some new friends! :)

graceformymess.com said...

Good for you! I'm glad you were able to step out of your comfort zone and receive the blessing of new author friends. God is good!

Jodi Thomas was one of my teachers in high school, many books ago! So fun to see your smiling face next to hers.

I'm loving Wings of a Dream!

Anne Mateer said...

That is so cool, Jana! I had no idea that so many people I know have a connection to Jodi!

Andrea Strong said...

Anne~

Jodi Thomas!? She's one of my favorites.

You look lovely in the photos. And tall.

Okay, back to formatting that interview.

Anne Mateer said...

Good grief! It seems everyone in my writing world knew or had read Jodi except for me! LOL!