Growing thick skin

No, this isn’t quite a beauty post, although it probably could be.

As aspiring writers, we’re urged to grow thick skin in order to deal with the inevitable rejections we will face. Let me tell you, I got some pretty interesting rejections this past weekend.

I’ve been attending some local craft fairs and events trying to get my name out there. We have exactly ONE major book retailer in town and I’m not comfortable jacking up the price where it would have to be just to break even. So to the little fairs I go.

Saying hi will get people to turn their head and respond, but rarely get them to stop. I had several parents stop but when they found out it was romance not fit for anyone under 16, they kept walking. I heard the phrase “I’m not a reader” more times than I could count.  I also had several people stop and say congratulations on the accomplishment.

Then there are the “I don’t see you” people who immediately turn toward the booth across from you as soon as you make eye contact. These people are actually pretty funny to watch. Like I’m a leper whose going to ooze puss all over them and infect them with my stories. Eek!!! Yeah, that was graphic, but like I said it was funny to watch.

I do think my favorite rejection (is that an oxymoron? favorite rejection?) was a woman who came over, said hello and asked about the books. I’m not sure what I said but halfway through the first sentence she said “Thank you” and walked away. I remember staring for a second, then laughing. Ah well. I’m rehoning my people skills and getting my elevator pitch down to a science!

I think if I focused on the negative I would never go out in public again. But there were enough people truly interested to make it worth the time. I’m just hoping they remember our conversation and try at least one of my books.

I want to know. What was your favorite rejection?

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11 thoughts on “Growing thick skin

  1. Well, you have to have a thick skin in general, but a thin skin when dealing with the short and sometimes frustrating interactions with people in that kind of setting. Usually there’s another person coming along in a minute or two and you can try again. Keep your chin up! As for the people who avoid eye contact, you may have heard me refer to that as the ‘bake sale look’, which I always give to kids selling cupcakes. LOL

    1. Oh yeah, I’ve been guilty of that look before too. I do it to the people set up outside Wal-Mart…unless they’re selling Girl Scout Cookies, they’re okay. Thanks Matt. Nothing that happened this weekend was enough to shake my reserve.

  2. Well, I think your books are fantastic and only ignorant people would be so rude! I wouldn’t want people of such disgusting manners to read one of my books, if I had one of course.

  3. Oh yes…I can definitely relate. I have all kinds of goodies on my table, especially candy. It still irritates me when some people take the freebies and ignore me.

    My worst experience came from the wife of an author attending the same signing I was. This happened years ago, long before my children’s book was ever thought of.

    Anyway…that year I had a story in Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover’s Soul. In addition to payment, CS gave us twelve copies of the book to do anything we wanted. So, I attended a large author signing. I noticed, throughout the day, this one author kept giving me the stink-eye and whispering to his wife. Finally, the woman sashayed over and said: “Who are you? I KNOW you’re not Jack Canfield, and unless you’re Amy Shojai, why are you here?”

    She sneered as I gave my explanation. “Oh…a wannabe author,” she snapped before walking away.

    That little interaction still bothers me, even though it shouldn’t.

    Hang in there, Melanie. Handling rejection at signings does get easier. :o)

    1. Oh my gosh, how rude! Wanna be, well aren’t we all? Don’t let it bother you. They were obviously insecure and felt you were competition. Most days I actually am able to see the upside and it helps me fine tune my approach. Thanks for the encouragement Debbie!

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