As I get ready to hop on a plane and start my biggest book tour ever, which will take me to Seattle, Portland (Oregon), Los Angeles, San Francisco, back to Portland (Oregon), then home before hitting Portland, Maine, home again and then Chicago and Milwaukee, totaling 7 writing workshops, 3 free readings, 2 panels and 1 library talk, I'm realizing how much respect I have for event planners. There is so much behind the scenes work that goes into planning these events, from booking them to promoting them online and via traditional media and social media, which is a daily, seemingly neverending part of it, to coordinating speakers, and then the day of last minute logistics, all without knowing if anyone will show up. Yes, I can see from Fetlife, for example, that 18 people say they're going to my free September 10th reading at She Bop in Portland, Oregon (and 44 have RSVPed on Facebook, including me, but I won't know until I get there how many of them actually do.
It's one of those things where you have to trust that you've done everything you can, then let go. I'm a control freak pretty much all the time, which is probably in part why I'm also a submissive when it comes to sex. I have a lot of trouble with the letting go thing, with not running an endless loop in my mind of "why didn't you..." It's also tough because some of these events (the workshops and library talk) I'll be paid for, but the others I won't make any money directly, though some have a book sale component (any sales of my books this quarter, I will receive royalties for in April 2015). So there's that element too. Plus weather, plus other events at the same time, plus...all the factors that go into whether someone stays home and binge watches Orange is the New Black, as I've been doing, or goes out for an evening of erotica.
I've been booking and promoting and hosting and organizing readings since the very first time I was published, for a Best Lesbian Erotica 2001 reading at Bluestockings in New York City. I believe I did another one for a book called Faster Pussycats that we had to reschedule just after 9/11, and I met people through those I'm still friends with. I've gotten at least one book deal because an editor saw me do a reading. I think audiences are truly hungry for erotica and so many new opportunities are open to writers that I want to share them at my workshops. I also think there's a momentum that builds from doing multiple events in a row, rather than just one-offs, both for me as the presenter and for potential audience members. But for the professional event planners like those at Save The Date, my hat's off to you! I'm still learning and growing and trying to do the very best I can do. Hope to see you on tour, and even if you can't make it, if you know anyone on the West Coast or who's attending CatalystCon or anyone near Portland, Maine, where my September 24th library talk is free, or Chicago or Milwaukee, please pass on the link to my website (note that I'm in the process of updating it, but the Portland Public Library event is now slated for 6:#0-8:30 pm on the 24th).