Please check your ego at the door

by | Jan 16, 2007 | Book Marketing Basics

Reading Time: ( Word Count: )

I was on a flight tonight from San Diego to New York . I fly this route a lot, and occasionally I get lucky and they upgrade me, today was one of those days. There I was in first class, feelin’ pretty darned special when I caught snippets of a conversation in the cabin – apparently there was an author, a famous one, seated just behind me. He wasn’t saying much and as I craned my neck to look at where he was sitting, I noticed that he was desperately trying to bury his head in a book to hide from the onslaught of onlookers. I had no idea who he was, but during the flight a college-age kid came up with a copy his book and asked him to autograph it. The famous author refused, stating that he “only signs books at book signings.” Hmm. So let me see if I get this straight: you can actually get so famous that you don’t want to sign your own books? Is this a new marketing tactic I’m not aware of? I don’t know that I could ever get that famous or, for that matter, would want to. See, here’s the thing. Why do we do this? Do we do it for fame or fortune? Well if we do, the odds are certainly against us. No, we do it for the sheer joy of writing. We do it because we have to. We do it because if you’re lucky enough to be sitting on a plane and someone is carrying a copy of your book you’ve sort of hit the professional jackpot. Well ok, not exactly, but it’s still pretty special and it’s yet to happen to me. When it does, trust me, you’ll hear about it. Here’s the thing: never stop being grateful. Be grateful that people showed up to your book signing, be grateful you got that radio interview even if it’s on an AM station in the middle of nowhere. Enjoy the journey, and when some kid walks up to you and asks you to sign your book say yes, and ask him what he liked or (gasp) didn’t like about it. Your last customer is your next customer. Honor that.


  1. Kimberly Kingsley

    Thank you for your insights and encouragement to be grateful. I was just talking to my mother on the phone and shared that I have jumped off the cliff of regular income, and am now in mid-air depending upon the winds to carry me to the other side where my income soley comes from being a professional author and speaker… What a wonderful reminder to grateful for every opportunity to share my work.

  2. Sandy Nathan

    Hi,Kimberley and everyone!

    I was reading Penny’s newsletter and came upon the link to “Please check your ego at the door.” Yeah, Penny, tell ’em. We write to expand our worlds and to make contact with our fellow human beings. If you’ve watched Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth, or read up on the state of the planet, you’ll know that our survival as a species depends upon connecting and acting. So, yeah. Let’s sign our books whenever we are asked and share hugs with each other, as needed.

    Kimberley’s response tickled me. My book is entitled Stepping Off the Edge. It’s a survival manual for modern spiritual seekers. Stepping off the edge is an essential part of becoming the people we were meant to be. Any one who’s in freefall at the moment might enjoy taking a peek at my website, there’s lots more information on it.

    Here’s the thing: I’ve gotten Penny’s newsletter for ages. Usually I skim it. I’ve never followed a link, and I’ve never posted before. So how come I go straight to Kimberley’s response––when she’s “jumped off the cliff”?

    Are we connected, or what?

    Good luck Kimberley and everyone. It’s taking those risks––AFTER DOING OUR HOMEWORK AND GETTING A SUPPORT SYSTEM UP––that will make us the people we were born to be. (And I include myself in “us”.)

    Hugs all around.

  3. Paul Kee-Hua Hang, Jr.

    Thanks for the interesting and “eye-opening” comments! Something that really challenges one’s

    ego! It sure pays to be humble and friendly! As an Author myself, I have found this to be true on many occasions when I meet a total stranger who loves to know more about my life

    and my “Immigrant’s Amazing Stories of Hardships and Struggles…From the Great Depression-wracked 1930s and World War II to the New Millennium”!


    Paul Kee-Hua Hang, Jr.

    Author of:

    “More…Blessings by the Dozen”

    (as seen on

  4. Paul Kee-Hua Hang, Jr.

    This is the Website that shows a Synopsis of

    my book, “More…Blessings by the Dozen”


    Paul Kee-Hua Hang, Jr.

    Author of:

    “More…Blessings by the Dozen”

  5. Cheryl Kaye Tardif

    I am a Canadian suspense author with 3 published novels: not quite worthy of being called a really famous author…YET! 🙂 Frankly, I find this story quite appalling, yet it isn’t the first time I’ve heard of a well-known NYT’s bestselling status author doing such a thing as refusing to sign a book or talk to a fan.

    I mean, truthfully, if that had been me, I would have been pleased as punch to sign that book, the person’s t-shirt, their forehead…in fact, I would have signed books for the entire plane if it meant keeping a fan happy.

    Every fan is a GIFT! And authors need to remember that. These are people who have taken the time to read our ‘babies’ and enjoyed them so much they WANT a signature.

    In fact, I would have handed that person a bookmark (which I always keep dozens of in my purse) and if there was an empty seat, I would have asked them to sit with me awhile and just chat. It’s a flight, for crying out loud. Nothing else to do.

    Fans are a GIFT! If you nurture them, they’ll be fans for life.

    Here’s a little story of my meeting with a fan that you may enjoy:

    ~Cheryl Kaye Tardif, author of Whale Song, The River and Divine Intervention

  6. Nolan Lewis

    That author ust have “Got Lucky'” to become so famous. He certainlt didn’t get there by being smart.

    Some of my greatest memories are of people recognizing me in odd places.

    At the local grocery store: “Say aren’t you… I have all three of your books. When are you going to write another?”

    At the post office: A woman came running across the parking lot waving a hand full of bills. “Doyou have another of your books in your car? I had ne and my brother was in town and started reading… He liked so much I gave… I signed it on the hood of my car.

    Isn’t that what we do it for – it certainly isn’t for the money.

    Nolan Lewis Author of:

    Clouds Are Always White On Top, WW2 Air War

    Mauled, a funr mystery (Cozy)

    Ione, Circa 1930, Memoir of growing up during the great depression.


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