Being an Author Is Hard

For a new, first-time author sentences  like “I love you and want to bear your children” or “Congratulations, this is the Lotto Corporation calling to tell you that you have just won a million dollars!” pale into insignificance compared with the magic words “Hey, Doug, I’m really enjoying your book!”

That was the greeting I received from Ron Graham (the well-known author, and, obviously, highly intelligent and discerning reader) as I entered Massey College at the U of T yesterday.

Thrilled, I went on to confide to him my shy first steps as an author, doing things like trying my hand at autographing books in the store (which, by the way, I have now done by invitation). He told me of his first visit to a bookstore to see a pile of his just-published first book, lying there throbbing. He hung around, sensing that something was bound to happen.

Sure enough, a young man, browsing through the store, came to his book and picked it up. He leafed through it, read a couple of passages, and then, to Ron’s almost audible horror, put the book down and walked away.

A minute later he came back, and started to leaf through it again. Ron, quivering with excitement and unable to stand the suspense, was on the point of going up to him and offering to buy the book for him. Before he could do that, however, the young man looked around, slipped the book into his bag, and walked briskly out of the store.

Ron, left standing there with his mouth open, is still not sure what he should have done.

Being an author is hard.

— Douglas Gibson


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