Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Author, AUTHOR!

We’ve all heard we must not let others define us. But last Saturday I did, and it was one of those *moments.* Whatever you may say about shoulds and shouldn’ts, there they are.

I attended a regional SCBWI conference. This unwieldy acronym stands for Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. You’d think such a literary bunch would have come up with a less awkward name, longer than some picture books. Regardless,  it’s a good and supportive organization run entirely by volunteers, and it welcomes all from the never-published to veteran professionals.

I’ve attended this very conference before, three years ago. Back then, my father had just been admitted to the hospital in what I sensed would be the final time, and I hadn’t had any book accepted for publication. I felt my ever-present shyness more than anything else.

This time I returned as a PAL author. (PAL=Published And Listed, and “listed” refers to SCBWI’s own list of "legitimate" publishers. They are not as accepting of vanity and self-publishing.) Their conference had my book for sale, and I had a desk with my name on it for signing.

I feared no one will buy my small and un-jazzy looking book, stacked next to the very spectacular offerings from other authors. (Three of the authors are famous, at least in kid-lit, and others have very trendy looking books.) But it did sell, and I did sign some, and the separate session for published writers was useful to me. My father is in the next world.  All an all, now is not three years ago…

I returned home with what DD described as a strange glow.

 “I’m an author,” I said to my husband.

“I know,” he said. “That’s what it says on our tax returns.” He was looking at those on screen. I squinted and looked also.

“No, it says ‘writer,’” I said. “I’m an author.”

He and DD looked at me funny.

“I sign books!” I said. That was about all they could take.

They didn’t get it. But you might. The very act of signing a book I wrote, which a stranger had just purchased, was one of those moments.

Yes. I’m an author. And I’ve got the sign from the conference^ as a memento.


  1. Ah, but you must be a writer first! Oh, how fun to do this the first time! I did my first book-signing too with my very own name tag and it sure was fun. I sat next to a wonderful illustrator and we had a great time doodling and chatting.

  2. Yes, you are an AUTHOR! And that's an awesome thing to be able to say.

  3. How exciting! Enjoy being an author!

  4. Congratulations on your signing! It never gets old. :)

  5. Congratulations, Author Mirka Breen! I'm so thrilled to know and write with you!

  6. I get it! Congratulations, AUTHOR! Enjoy!

  7. Yay! Isn't that just the best feeling ever?

    1. You do know, Anna. Congratulations again on your new series!

  8. Ah, I guess we were at our conferences at the same time! Signing is always fun, especially in such a supportive atmosphere. (It used to be SCBW, and I think these days it might make sense if it were SCWI, but that suggestion didn't go anywhere. :))

  9. Reading this gave me chills. How very exciting, Mirka! So glad that though your family didn't quite get it, you shared the experience with us.
    Congratulations on your first book signing =D


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