On Tuesday, September 23, my husband drove me to Albuquerque so I could meet Jen Sincero, author of You Are a Badass, at her signing at Bookworks.
This is the same bookstore where I met Laini Taylor in April, which you can read about here. That was an epically good time, with a huge turnout and a huge production on behalf of the store.
I saw Connie again, the woman who was in charge of that party, but Jen Sincero’s reading was a much more low-key event. Jen took a photo of her audience and posted it to her Facebook page — which I have copied below —
The woman with her hands up in the back is a good friend of Jen’s, as is the woman waving beside her, and the woman sitting next to me. (Greg and I are sitting up front, because I get to these events an hour before they start, move chairs around so Greg and I get seats with cushions, and generally act like the weirdo I am.)
I also had Greg take this picture of me posing by the road sign advertising this event —
Thank goodness I have a husband who loves me so much to do things like this — because it’s clear I’m a bit OCD about books and their authors, yes?
I mean, I was thinking about this today, how I have no allegiance to social activities outside of this passion I have for networking with writers and readers of all stripes. Thank goodness for my family and friends who keep my life a bit more diversified, because clearly, when left to my own devices, I just have books and scribbling, scribbling and more books — and I wouldn’t even have this webpage if I didn’t have great friends, because I just have that kind of OCD.
At least, this is what Greg is always telling me, and yet he still supports my habit like the total junkie-codependent relationship we have, also known as being married to an author.
I took this selfie of us while we were strolling through Old Town before the signing began —
We were sitting in front of some giant metal flowers but you can’t see them too well in this picture.
I also went into a candy shop selling insects —
For $2.99, you can buy a box of dried crickets or a box of dried mealworms with some kind of spicy powder all over them.
And yes, those are real insects, I even checked the ingredient labels, and these boxes were on display above a row of bubble gum.
There were also chocolate-covered mealworms for sale —
And other boxes of plain crickets —
We kept walking around Old Town, and I took this picture of an adobe wall painting of Our Lady of Refuge —
I love paintings like this, how the theme of mother and child plays out in so many different ways across time and space.
I also took this picture of a Pueblo mudhead–
Because I just totally love this mudhead painting!!! I’m not going to even pretend I can explain what a Pueblo mudhead is, so I’ll just link you to the Wikipedia page about Pueblo Clowns here. They are part of the Kachina religion of the Pueblo Indians, and I like the mudheads the best, maybe because of all the circles. I love round things, like curvy women and big scoops of ice cream and ripe strawberries. What more do you need in life, really?
Except books, of course. Which are certainly not round, but I can’t hold that against them, being as I love them so much.
I also discovered that Breaking Bad items are huge sellers in Albuquerque, on t-shirts and other tourist items, and I took a picture of this candy store advertising Breaking Bad candy —
It’s not quite at the level of Twilight in Forks, Washington, (which I blogged about earlier here), but Breaking Bad is definitely a sales presence in Albuquerque right now.
(Side note: I have not seen any episodes of Breaking Bad, but I did buy my brother Mitchell a box set of all six seasons, because it’s his favorite show ever.)
At the book signing, Jen Sincero asked me, “Are you the one who drove here from Durango?” (she saw my comment on her Facebook post advertising the event) and when I said, “Yes,” she gave me the MVP award of the night and let me pick a passage of her book to read aloud. I picked two pages near the end, from the money section, and the audience laughed a lot when she read them, which made me very happy.
She also read the section about “loincloth man” and Greg laughed a LOT for that one.
When she opened the floor to questions, I asked her about her boot camp (she let a boot camp grad answer this, and chimed in at the end), and I asked her if she’d ever read Loving What Is (yes, and she described the book for the audience) and Psycho-Cybernetics (no, had never even heard of it), and I asked if she had ever been to a Tony Robbins seminar (no, but she said she watches his videos online and loves him), and if her next project was to write a book about money (because she had mentioned that she wanted to do this earlier, but she said no, books are so draining and take so much work, that she’s not writing another book for quite some time).
I think the best question of the night was asked by a woman named Billie, from Las Vegas, New Mexico, who wanted to know what Jen did with the brand new Audi she bought right before she decided to give up her apartment and live a nomadic lifestyle abroad. The answer was really hilarious — Jen had to keep finding friends to watch the car, and eventually sold it while she was writing You Are a Badass, but not before these two goats destroyed the hood with their hooves. It was such a funny tale! (And she thanks those two goats, and a horse, at the end of the book, but now I know the story about why she thanked them.)
The entire reading and signing ended up being a little less than an hour long, and I waited 15 minutes to get my book signed —
I didn’t give Jen a thank you letter like the one I wrote for Laini Taylor, but I did give her a bar of chocolate (dark chocolate with almonds and sea salt) and a copy of Love and Student Loans and Other Big Problems. I gave her that book because I think the protagonist of the story is a badass, and I think Love and Loans has more humor in it than Wolves does, and Jen writes really humorous stuff. I don’t think I did a good job explaining this to her though, I just said, “I brought you a copy of this book I wrote, because I thought you might enjoy it and it might make you laugh.”
She lived in Durango for a while, so she’ll understand all my references in the book, too. I could have mentioned that, but I didn’t, because I am lame sometimes, and don’t think.
For all of the copies I give away of my books (mostly to family and friends), I keep selling copies of them online. Mostly ebooks (I make $1.82 per book), but often one or two print copies as well, and while you can’t get rich making $14.00 or $16.00 a month, these are still actual sales, and I’m guessing I do not know these people, or they would be asking for free copies, or I would be sending them free copies, because those are the perks of knowing an author.
Or I might have friends who go online periodically and just buy the book again, though I hope that’s not the case. I just remember an interview I read with Hugh Howey, when he said his mother would do that for him when no one had bought a copy of Wool in a long long time. (This was before he was famous.) His mom would go online and “buy more copies” to try to “help his sales” and give him exposure on Amazon, and that’s so extremely sweet — when I think about being loved like that, it makes me just get all teary and need a tissue.
I don’t know who those seven or eight customers are each month, but I’m grateful to them, very grateful. They are like having a voice whispering in my ear every day, saying, “You might not be advertising, but you’re still selling books,” and that is a really nice whisper to hear.