Saturday, April 24, 2010

Yikes, I'm a dork

So I went to the pre-festival party the night before the LA Times festival of books at the Mystery Bookstore. I am not a party guy. Never have been. Just not my scene. I don't know if it's the crowds or the pressure to meet new people but I am just not that good at it. This was a great low-key hang out with friends affair though. Really nice even though I still feel a little like a party crasher at these things.
I really enjoyed seeing people I'd seen/met at Left Coast Crime like Kelli Stanley, Steven Jay Schwartz (picked up his book finally so I could have him sign it) Sophie Littlefield, Brett Battles and some other writers I'd met before like Reed Farell Coleman and Christa Faust. I met some great new people like Jeri Westerson, Naomi Hirahara, Duane Swierczynski and Alafair Burke (is it wrong to say she is stunningly beautiful in person?)
But do I hang out and act cool and make an impression? Not really. I'm not painfully awkward, just a little. I never know what to say and I go into a conversation with someone assuming they'd rather be talking to someone else so I try to keep it short and my fear is I end up coming off as rude because I cut things off. Really I think that is just the way party conversation goes so I should just freakin' relax but I can't help it.
I think I made a big famous author uncomfortable when I talked to him (my wife confirmed this assumption). I answered a polite question from another author with a too-long too-detailed answer that I got into and couldn't get out of. I really wanted to meet Jen Forbus of Jen's book thoughts blog but then it all went awry when she got pulled into a conversation right away and I got pulled the other way. At least I got to say hello.
I need to work on it. I will work on it. I think I fake it pretty well but inside I'm a wreck. This is why I do the things I do. Writing is solitary. I even figured out a way to make collaborative writing solitary by never meeting my co-writer. Film editing is solitary.
Anyway, I had a good time. I love the fact that I get to mingle as a somewhat equal. Our book was right there on the table with all the bigs. I believe in the book so I'm not embarrassed about that part of it. Just the, y'know, me part.
I get a second chance on Sunday during my signing. I'm really excited to pick up some more books by my fellow panelists and get them signed. *sigh* Loser.


Keith Rawson said...

Netwwork, dammit!

Ténèbres à la lumière... said...

Hi! Eric Beetner,
Wow, what a very revealing post...Thanks, for sharing!

You, know when I was promoting yours and J.B.Kohl's book "One Too Many Blows To The Head" that is not my impression of you...I found you to be very amiable, responsible, helpful and charming.

(Of course, our communication took place online, but still...

Here goes a little advice for you:
I know, I know, advice is cheap...or is it talks...

...But, here goes some advice from the cheap femme detective...
Try not to focus on yourself, so much...Try to focus on the other person. (That you are communicating with at a party, book signing, etc, etc, etc...)

Because I find that people usually like to talk about themselves...then the conversation will probably evolve and they will reciprocate or respond in kind.

(In addition, you will probably be more comfortable when you start to talk about yourself.)

I know, I know, these are just words, but think about it!


Ténèbres à la lumière... said...

Speaking of, talks (and "shameless Plugs"...)

I hope that you and other writers, will visit my friend Malcolm James, wonderful
Film noir ning.
Malcolm James' Film Noir Lives Here

Recently, info about... writer Paul Brazille's taut, serial piece Warsaw Moon...was posted over there...

By the way, I just read his (Brazille's) piece and all I can say is..."amazing."

Therefore, The Needle magazine, most definitely, will be placed in my cart. I will probably discuss the mag(azine) over there on Malcolm's Ning.

Eric, I'am offering two Film noir books in a contest over there too.
(But, please remember no man or woman is a "loser" whom have true friends.

Take care!
DeeDee ;-D

Pamila Payne said...

Eric, you're not alone. I think so many writers feel just the same way, and part of what makes us write is this awkwardness with face to face communication. That's how it is with me anyway. Missed cues, brain blanks, general spastic missteps... But hey man, you have a published novel (which is wonderful) and a lot of great short stories and other worthwhile stuff going on. I'm really in awe of writers who can "Network" and have the sparkling persona close to hand, but I don't think they're any more natural or common than supermodels who can act.