I suppose it’s common for all amateurs, but when I sat there in the middle of SMX at the Manila International Bookfair, and my name was put on display and I was twiddling my thumbs behind my pile of untouched books I imagined the passersby giving me a half-second glance and thinking “who’s that?” or “are we supposed to know him?” or “did he really have to color coordinate his outfit with the cover of the book?” Eventually a couple of friends arrived to get their copies and saved me from (presumably) imagined embarrassment. Then people I didn’t personally know started coming in. I was happy to have met two librarians, who asked that I write a dedication for their institution.
After signing a few more copies I looked at the shelf and told the production assistant, “wow we only have 17 copies left?!” And then he pointed at the cupboard in the corner and I gingerly opened it and saw piles and piles and mountains of the damn books! I thought oh well I’m sure there are online orders we can cater with this untouched, unwanted motherfuckers. A couple of friends arrived (AKA Tet and Aimee), and they played along with my deliberately loud: “Oh hey random women who don’t know me, are you here to give this unknown newbie writer a chance and you think that others should do so, too?”
More people trickled in, and before I knew it we were only down to five copies! I checked the cupboard and it was empty, unless the publisher decided to hide them for my self-esteem issues! My mom and sister were super hungry so we decided to leave, so I pre-signed the remaining copies, which were sold-out early the next day! Many who were having their books signed had very interesting questions. My favorite was: “Is the duck going to die?” I said, “He’s terminal.” And she said, “NO SPOILERS PLEASE!” ^^
Special shoutout to Ron Baticulon who gave me and Celestine Trinidad airtime during his final talk for his bestseller “Some Days You Can’t Save Them All” (UP Press, 2019). Ron is a pediatric neurosurgeon from the UP College of Medicine Class 2008, while I am from Class 2006. Celestine is a pathologist from UST, who has written many romance novels including “Ghost Of A Feeling”. Some med students who came from Ron’s talk got my book, and I had to sheepishly say, “Sorry hindi ito inspiring ha!”
As soon as I realized that people now have a copy of the book dread gripped my innards and i thought to myself what fuckeries have I written in that book! Not that I haven’t written about many of those things already in this bloggeth, but I just assume that nobody reads blogs anymore, while the hospitals where I work and the medical societies where I belong have all mass-ordered Even Ducks Get Liver Cancer and Other Medical Misadventures! I just tell myself that I am very happy with this book, I had loads of fun writing it, and I really enjoyed the process– and then I realize that it’s the exact same line of American Idol contestants who fail to get past the first audition!