This tweet passed through my Twitter feed this morning:
— Writer’s Digest (@WritersDigest) November 18, 2013
I read it, and my first thought was, “Yup. That sounds about right.” Far be it from me, a writer, to pile on to the stereotype of the arrogant writer, but let’s be honest. None of us writers would be writers if we didn’t feel like the insides of our brains were so interesting that everyone would benefit if we transcribed our thoughts and then charged people money to view them. So…right. I wouldn’t say I, or most writers, suffer from a lack of self-confidence.
Since we’re being honest, here’s something I recently learned I have no right to brag about: inventory management skills. It was all of two hours before I needed to leave for a book event this Saturday when I realized that I had in my possession three copies of my book. Three. Just enough to say to crowd of book event attendees: “I showed up here today, but I don’t expect this to go well at all.”
Obviously, panic ensued. Had I overbooked myself for the previous two weeks? Yes. Do I ever plan ahead well? No. Was I super sure I had more books, and that they had been deliberately hidden from me by someone else’s mischievous hand? Yes. Those are all great excuses, but just hours before I had an event, at which the prime purpose was to sell people books, it was undeniable that I am not a skilled at logistics. I have an inventory spreadsheet. I fill it out sometimes. But really, no one should ever leave the counting of things to me. I cannot be arrogant on this matter, writer or not.
Thankfully, the kindness of Janette at The Eyrie gift shop saved the day by letting me steal back some of my books from her on the way to the event. She is the best, and everyone should buy all of their holiday gifts from her adorable store. As if to underline the importance of kind gestures and the severity of my inventory management problem, I sold every book I brought to the reading event.
According to my tracking sheet, I do have eight extra books somewhere in this world, but I have no idea if I sold them, gave them away, or if they’re collecting dog hair under the seats of my car. That’s a really dumb problem. My point is (there’s one in here; bear with me), it’s important to know one’s limits and shortcomings. I won’t become an expert inventory tracker now, but I will set alarms weeks before an event to remind myself to double and triple check my supply. It also makes me appreciate what a team effort being an independent author truly is, from the machines at Amazon that individually print each book as it’s ordered so I don’t have an even larger quantity of books to keep track of, to the wonderful people in my own community like Janette who help me get my work out to the public. Because, you know, sometimes us arrogant writers need that reminder.
Incidentally, if you happen to come across eight copies of Swedish Lessons…