I used to own a bookstore, and we had Brandon Sanderson come to sign. He had a sixteen-year-old boy travel from Colorado just to see him and ask some questions at the end of the signing. One question was, "Would you consider yourself famous?"
Brandon's answer fascinated me. He said no. Now, Brandon's books are my absolute favorite. If I can ever have an ending as awesomely, amazingly, breathtakingly perfect as his Mistborn ending was, I'll be thrilled to death.
But this is his reasoning. He said that until everyone on the street can answer who he is when asked, (like JK Rowling, Orson Scott Card, etc), he's not famous. That makes sense, right? If you have never even heard of Harry Potter, I'm pretty sure you've been hiding under a rock. I'm not saying everyone has read about him. I'm just saying everyone knows of him.
So now we go back to my original thought. A few months back, I had the chance to do an author assembly at my children's school. I had an absolute blast with my coauthors and the kids in the school. It was great, but I had no clue if I'd impacted anyone there.
The next month, I was at the school for my son's Christmas party and I had several kids tell me they remembered me. One little boy stared at me for a minute when he came to my table. When he finally said something, our conversation went like this:
"Are you famous?"
"Um ... people know who I am, but I'm not famous."
"Yeah, but, are your books in libraries and stuff?"
"Yep, they're in a few libraries."
The boy shrugged and went on with our Bingo game. I don't know what he thought about that conversation, but it put a smile on my face because someone remembered me.
When I was at FanX this last weekend, I had the chance to meet people, and go in the green room, and talk to people I never even dreamed of. A group of us had the chance to get a picture in the Tardis. The guy who had built it told everyone in line that we were authors and we wanted a picture so they were letting us go first. Instead of the annoyance I expected, I saw smiles.
As we walked away, I mentioned how embarrassed I was that we went first, and one of my friends just patted me on the back and said, "You're a bit of a celebrity. Just get used to it."
It was fun and exciting and awesome, but I'm not sure I ever want to get used to it. Not that I didn't enjoy this weekend. I enjoyed every single exhausting second of it. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. What I mean is that I want it to stay exciting and fun and just plain unbelievably amazing.
So am I famous? Not even a little bit. But for those that do know me and enjoy my books, I really appreciate the support. It means the world to me. Now to plot out how I'm going to be the next JK Rowling ...