The other day, I was a “writer in the window.”
A local bookstore offered a promotion to local authors to promote themselves and gain visibility. An author would agree to sit in the front display window, and write for two hours. It’s a fun way to block out some writing time, display books for sale and get some attention. The bookstore is special to offer this.
For several years, I agreed to do this. Being seated at a café table in the bay window put you on display. However, I felt like an ignored mannequin. Apparently, people in the neighborhood didn’t window shop. Few, if any people strolling by noticed me. They walked by in their own little worlds.
Shoppers entering the bookstore focused straight ahead as well. Only one woman jumped, wondering what the noise (my keyboarding) was. I explained. She just appeared putout. I said hello, in greeting, to people walking in the door. They just glared at me, without reply. Only one woman responded kindly. No one looked at my book display, took any promotional cards, asked any questions or said anything.
Interesting how shoppers would lament to the clerk that they were looking for new books and authors, yet ignored me completely. They perused the shelves of famous names and bestseller displays. They told the clerks they were browsing. They walked by me, as if I didn’t exist. I was invisible
Books by the famous were being sold. Some people bought multiple books. Books were being ordered. I was nobody. Why would anyone dare buy my book?
“Buy local,” community leaders said. I overheard shoppers say how they wanted to support local business. Yet, buying local apparently meant buying from local stores, not from local authors, artists or vendors. Being a creative is not for the easily discouraged.
Being an author is often a lesson in futility. I write because it’s like breathing. Like breath, however, an author is often invisible.