Observations of life by author and poet Charles L. Chatmon
On the day of my very first book release, I sold forty-six books that day. Later that night, I visited one of my favorite Starbucks at the time and sat in the coffee shop by myself holding one copy of The Depths of My Soul in hand. The very same book that sold earlier that day. I confess I haven't sold as many books in one day since but I was proud of that moment. Proud to finally achieve a dream I didn't think I would ever accomplish, but I did.
I watch videos of the reactions of first-time authors in their own book signings and I remember how it was for me back then. Watching friends and family assemble in a small bookstore to hear me read selections of my work and describe why I came up with an idea for a particular poem I wrote. It was and still is, a great feeling.
It didn't matter I was just starting out as an author. It didn't concern me my audience was not huge, like the crowds I see gather in front of an author's booth at the Festival of Books at USC. I wasn't worried my name didn't attract the attention to gather such a large crowd as I was only one of many workers in a corporation. What mattered to me was that I finally published a book with my name on the cover. Yes, I wrote newspaper and magazine articles before that day of the release. I would have to say is that looking at my name in print is something no one can ever take away from me. I earned that.
All these years later, I have two books that I'm proud of writing. It doesn't matter if they're poetry - people read them and enjoy what they saw, which I'm most concerned about and pleased at the positive results. I had hoped at this moment in my life my writing career would blossom into front-tier status. You know, movies and television? Perhaps an internet series based on one of my assumed published works? Unfortunately as I found out, real life doesn't operate that way. Of course it helps if you write for a big publishing house which takes care of your PR and other media appearances. I've had my share of interviews and they help get you noticed. What is a hit-and-miss for me is that they don't drive up the sales I would like.
I know associates who have accomplished their dreams in music, acting, writing and producing. They earned their success and definitely deserve it. My dream is what I'm doing now, sharing this with you. I feel most not-yet-authors and long-time published authors who achieved their dream in publishing a book but not the attention of their experienced, big house published, connected counterparts is that we all want 'The Dream', we all want the fame, the fortune and the social prestige of being recognized for who we are yet are invisible to the outside world.
This dream is worth it. It's worth a huge boost in your self-esteem, the feeling of accomplishment once you hold the finished product in your hands - awaiting the yeas and nays on Amazon or other sites from readers. Those days will come when you will smile at a five star review, or curse under your breath for the one stars under your book title. Yes, those days will come but not when copies of your book sit on a table ready for you to sign them. That is the day no one will ever take from me. The happiest day of my life to be called a published author.