Sunday, July 3, 2011
Mensa and me
This week Portland hosted a Mensa convention 2,000 people strong, and guess who was tapped as "the local mystery author"? Yes, I was a little intimidated by speaking to a bunch of smarty-pants, so I spent extra time preparing a PowerPoint slide show and rehearsing.
Yesterday the old Honda galloped back from vacation in central Oregon. This morning I switched from wanna-be cowgirl to wanna-be famous author. I loaded up my book-event gear and drove downtown to the Hilton.
This was not my first rodeo (still a little cowgirl going on...) so first thing, I dropped in on the bookseller to see if she had my books, as she promised in phone calls weeks ago. It's not as if there was an honorarium for this gig--10 hours of prep work and the only payoff is the threadbare "exposure" and the chance to sell books. I go the extra mile to support independent booksellers, but this one is coming off my Christmas list. "Your books didn't come in time. I suppose they'll show up Tuesday and I'll have to return most of them." No phone call to warn me, no apology.
No problem. I brought books. Next I fretted about the computer setup. A lovely woman, who had read my books and liked them (oh, blessed be such readers) was my native guide to the assigned room. The AV went just fine--the previous presenter hooked my computer right up. "You're a genius!" I exclaimed. He gave me this odd look. "I'd better be." Oh. Right. Mensa.
There was just one little hitch--I forgot the power cable for my computer. His didn't fit.
Um, no problem. Frantic call to husband. Plenty of battery life to get started, per the little icon.
Nope. Battery gave out after about 15 minutes. I told my very best zoo stories. Husband arrived, and I was good to go. Yay!
The audience was interested and even enthusiastic. They didn't flinch at my conservation pitch. After the talk, they had lots of good questions. Several were from a boy who looked to be about six, judging by the lack of front teeth. And darned if these folks didn't buy a bunch of my books. Directly from me, which means a far greater profit than if they had bought from that lame bookseller.
I was a happy camper and almost home when I remembered the posters I'd left behind in the Hilton's lobby and had to turn around and go back.
Ready for prime time? You be the judge!