The Deer in the Headlights

I recently had a book signing that didn’t go so well.  It was at a craft show and I arrived thinking that this was going to be my best moment of sales yet.  Thousands of people were expected to be at the event and I’d have the biggest opportunity for book exposure this year.  I bought extra author copies to sell at the show, and even though it was an outdoor event, I made sure I wore dress clothes and high heels to look extra professional.

But when the show came and passed, I found that it was the worst show I ever had.

It was a rainy weekend, which meant the humidity was high and my books looked like they came out of a flooded basement.

It was really hot, so people crowded around the ice cream and drink tents instead of the craft ones.

I nearly died in a port-a-potty (well, I’m only slightly exaggerating that claim.  I went in, got my heel stuck in the floor, and went flying forward towards the end you don’t want to be in.  It’s a wonder the thing didn’t knock down and things really got messy!)

I only made one sale.

That’s right.  Out of all the hard work and money paid out to renting a booth and travelling across the state, I made one sale.  That alone was worthy of sending me to spend the night in front of the TV watching Lord of the Rings and pigging out on a gallon of chocolate ice cream.

As a writer and artist, it’s discouraging to see your work go ignored.  Sure, it was bad weather, and sure, other artists didn’t sell much either, but when it happens to you, you can’t help but feel a little down that things didn’t go better.

About a week after the show, my stepdad’s birthday came along and my mom and I went out to Dairy Queen to pick up an ice cream cake.  While out on the road, I decided to tell her about my discouragement on the show not going as well as I thought it should.  She mentioned not being down about the bad show, that sometimes life won’t go as expected, and we can’t let setbacks discourage us.  We need to keep our eyes on the road of life, to the destination we know we’re headed towards, and we can’t let things like a setback keep us from getting there.

Suddenly, in the middle of our conversation, a deer decided to jump right in front of our moving vehicle.

Now I don’t know about you, but ever since moving to the suburbs after growing up in the city, I’m still not used to seeing giant wildlife going out into the road to say hello.  I’d rather wave to them while they are far away from my car where we both are safe and sound.

My mom slammed on the brakes and we waited until the deer pranced over back into the field, happy like nothing out of the ordinary had happened.

After a moment of awkward shock (and realizing we were all still alive and in one piece), my mom decided to continue her lesson.

Just like the deer, unexpected setbacks come into our lives.  We didn’t see the deer jump out in front of us until it was on the road, staring back at us with the “deer in the headlights” look.  It was the same with the bad show.  I didn’t see the bad weather, lack of sales, and port-a-potty death trap coming.  But just like the deer, it soon pranced back into the field and became a thing of the past.  We didn’t stop and turn around to forget getting our ice cream cake.  We kept on driving down the road, bound and determined to get that cake for my stepdad’s birthday!

Bad days and bad breaks will always be around.  As writers and artists, there will be times when we’re on top of the world and there will be times when we wonder if we really should keep doing what we’re doing.  And while there’s a time to know when to give up, there’s also a time to keep going.  If I let one bad book signing determine my future, I may never see all the good that’s ahead.  There are more books to write.  There are more stories to tell.  There are more people to encourage and help.  Sure, there’s a chance I’ll have more unpleasant shows, but if I stop moving forward, I’ll never have a chance to see my dreams come true, either.

I hope this week is finding you all well.  I have some good news to share before the holiday this weekend.

> Book Three of “The Ripple Affair” series is written and done!  I’m currently getting the cover designed and it has went through the first round of edits.  It’s on track to be released later this summer, so be on the lookout for more announcements regarding “When Dreams Break”.

> “Captain Patty and the Nameless Navigator”, a new series about 18th century pirates, is available now on Amazon and Kindle.  It’s the first book in this series, and if you enjoy reading it, don’t forget to leave a review if you’d like to!  🙂

I hope you all have a wonderful week and a safe, fun Fourth of July weekend.

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