GayRomLit 2017 Blog Tour Welcomes Author Hans M Hirschi
An author’s day at GRL
First of all, a big thank you for hosting the GRL blog tour and for providing me with an opportunity to reach out to your readers. It’s greatly appreciated.
GRL in Denver is going to be my fourth one. I was late out of the gate so to speak, but once I was there, there was no looking back. I understand that a lot of newbies, or first-timers, ask a lot of questions about what it’s like to be at GRL, whether or not they should be scared or how they, as introverts, would get by.
My answer is simple: you’ll be fine! This is the most open-minded and loving bunch of people I’ve ever met. Is there drama? Yeah, but as a reader you won’t feel much of that. Most of the GRL-related drama has to deal with authors who didn’t make the cut (author spots sell out really quick) and who take out their disappointment on the organizers. #meh
To give you a little bit more insight into a typical author day at GRL, I decided to write this post about one of my days last year. It’s a typical GRL day, and if I remember correctly, it was a Friday.
I got up at about 8 am. Nights at GRL can be short, depending on how late you stay up playing card games, drinking games or just sitting in the lobby or the hotel bar talking to friends, old and new ones. Quite a few people book large suites, where countless smaller parties take place all throughout the week. A lot of people also go out on the town, for meals and to discover a destination city where many descend upon for the first, and maybe only time in their lives.
I’m a bit unusual (go figure!) in that I came at this whole GRL thing from the sidelines, as a sponsor, way before I managed to secure my own featured author spot. And as a sponsor, I get to have my own book selling table, and that table needs to be staffed, all the time. A quick breakfast later, I walked, coffee in hand, to the book seller room where the eager beavers were already waiting, slouching along the walls, sitting on whatever orphan chair they could find, reading. Always reading. Inside the book seller room, things are very quiet at this early an hour, but there’s the friendly hellos, and the occasional banter, before, usually before official opening time, the first readers wander through the door.
After that, it’s either talking to people who walk up to the table, or - if I get bored from not having anyone come by - chatting them up as they walk by. The book seller rooms gets really busy on the first day. People picking up their pre-orders, or trying to get the copy of a new book before it sells out. Thursday is crazy busy. Friday morning is usually calm, Friday afternoon, dead. Most have been to the room, seen the wares and have gotten what they want. There’s another spike on Saturday, around the big author signing. But that greatly varies, from venue to venue, always depending on the layout of the hotel.
There is a certain level of fangirling/-boying, I admit. Not much, because let’s face it, I’m not famous, and since I don’t write romance, most readers at GRL will never even consider my books. That’s fine. I feel all warm and fuzzy even if it’s only one or two readers who come up and want a hug or want me to sign a bag, a kindle sleeve or body part (yeah, had to do that, too…)
As an author, having someone rave about something you’ve created is the best gift you can give us, and while I don’t doubt that I’d not appreciate it quite as much if I had one hundred such occasions at GRL, I’m sure I’d still be tickled to the bone. Trust me, while reviews would help me sell more books, my self-esteem absolutely prefers to see the glow in your eyes, the smile on your face and the words gushing out of your mouth as you praise a book you’ve loved.
Sometimes, a new reader approaches the table, and given that I’m sort of something the cat dragged in, I’ve begun to hand out one of my short stories, in a special print edition, to new readers. It may not be my most typical story, but it contains a couple of key elements: a couple/family, an important social issue, and an ending worthy of the Queen of Unconventional Happy Endings. So if you have no clue of who I am, and don’t dare read any of my books prior to GRL, come by and see me for a free copy of Nightmare.
Last year, Friday also meant that I had my author reading. I never know what I’m going to read from until the day I have my reading. I do that on purpose. I apologize if this sounds cocky, but I have a lot to choose from, and I try to feel the atmosphere at the convention before I make up my mind. What I try to accomplish is to make people laugh and cry in the fifteen minutes at my disposal. This past GRL I knew what the ‘cry’ scene was going to be. It was a scene I had always wanted to read, but people kept telling me not to. All I can say that it worked like a charm, so did the fun scene, which isn’t an easy task after you have the audience sobbing (no exaggeration) and scrambling all over the room for tissue papers.
After my reading, one of the audience members and I had a long talk about the loss of child, and how cathartic my reading had been for her. If ever I had received a compliment, that was it. We both sat there and cried together, for a long while.
After the reading, it was time for a quick lunch break in the sun, before I once again hid away in the book seller room, to blog (as I always do on Fridays), because - yeah the room’s dead - every now interrupted by a reader who came by to buy raffle tickets for the fun fair we’d arranged later in the afternoon.
That was a lot of fun, but also every exhausting. We raised a ton of money for a great cause and we all had a blast playing Jeopardy for a good hour and asking the participating authors embarrassing questions. Good fun. By five pm the official program of the day was over, par the parties and events in the evening. But I was too tired and opted for a dinner with friends on the town, before I went to bed early (i.e. before midnight) for once, getting mentally ready for the culmination on Saturday, with the big author signing and the crazy costume party at night.
If this is your first GRL, I can guarantee you a great time, and if you’re returning, I hope this has wet your appetite. Since we always change venue, year after year, it’s always new, for all of us. But once you’ve seen the first couple of familiar faces, the smiles break out everywhere, hugs are exchanged (if welcome) and the chatter, reading and banter begins.
Is it October yet? I look forward to seeing you there. I’ll once again be easy to find in the book seller room.