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Elly May Goes to the Get-Together!

…okay, so, not really. If you were one of the 500 people at the Annual Reader-Author Get Together two weeks ago, you may have thought you were seeing her:

But in reality, you were seeing me:

I put my hair in pigtails because I knew I’d be stuffing goody bags. 500 canvas bags full of swag–bookmarks, postcards, pens, roses from Author Island, books, post-it pads, you name it! It was two hours of hard, sweaty work, and a great time. But I needed my hair off my neck. When I wore my hair differently the next day, many people, most of them total-to-former-strangers asked me, “Where are the ponytails? I liked the ponytails!”

Who knew? I always thought it was slightly silly of Donna Douglas to try to pull off that hairdo at her age (and definitely silly to try to pull it off at mine), but it turns out it’s a “thing”–a memorable piece of identification that had more people than ever speaking and greeting me through the weekend.

Another “thing” I tried was reading Tarot cards at the digital book sale and signing. Because I cannot retail my own books (I didn’t publish ’em so they aren’t, technically, “mine”) and because my book is digital, I needed something to do while I sat there. Last year and at other “digital signings” I’ve stared at the author across from me, made hand-shadow puppets on the walls, and eaten all the Hershey’s Kisses from the authors to my right and left while nobody stopped by to see me at all. Turns out quickie Tarot reads are just the ticket–I was busy the whole time and the hours flew by.

This reader-oriented event is like that. You can wear jeans and casual hair. You can read tarot cards and chat with your friends. Don’t feel like going to a workshop? No worries, no guilt. The price is easy and the workload is light and the people are friendly, passionate readers. I’ve been to the two biggest conventions in the business and some regional ones–and this is, in my humble opinion, the best deal and best time for the money.

And this year was especially joyful. Twice I had readers come up to me and tell me they’d not only read, but enjoyed my book. The first time I honestly looked over my shoulder to see who she was talking to. The second time I bit down on my tongue before asking, “Are you sure you mean me?” I was a good girl–I did not stalk them through the weekend. I did not sit at their tables at each meal or insist on getting my picture taken with them again and again beside the big plastic fern near the elevator. But I wanted to.

It turns out writers go “all fangurl SQUEE!” too–over readers.

What about you? What’s your “thing?” How do you stand out from the crowd (accidentally or on purpose?)


4 Responses

  1. *sobs some more* *clears throat. dries it up.*

    and yes, my stand out thing is my devil horns. Wasn’t planned, but they work. if you don’t know the story my husband added them to my photo because he thought they were fitting. 🙂

    I thought it was funny, posted it on twitter and everyone thought they were great. I changed my photo out once (minus the horns) and some of my followers wanted to know where they went and that’s how they “saw” my tweets. 🙂 I went to conferences. People are like “OH! I know you because you have those devil horns on your photo!”. So yep, for now they’re staying. this Halloween I’m going to look for a headset of them for conferences. 🙂

  2. Love the pigtails!! 🙂 As for standing out, I try my best no to. I’m much happier blending into the crowd. I guess it’s something I need to work on. Oh, but’s going to be so painful! LOL

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