The event consisted of a panel discussion, Q & A, lunch and time to visit with each author at their own table at the end. During the Q & A, I condensed my long, sad story and expressed my disillusionment with the journey.
The author panel gave me good advice. What stayed with me the most was how one author, Karen White, who is now a multi-New York Times bestselling author, came and talked with me personally at the end of the event. She encouraged me to join Georgia Romance Writers, the local chapter of RWA, the Romance Writers of America.
This week I received an invitation from the Fayetteville Library to participate in a panel discussion in March. I haven't seen the head librarian there in years, since I live in a different county and rarely visit the Fayette County branch, but she remembered me and looked me up online.
I am so tickled when I look back and see how things have come full circle since I visited their event some 8-9 years ago as a discouraged, aspiring author who couldn't get anyone to take me seriously. If I hadn't gone ahead and struck out on my own as an independent author, I never would have discovered that there were thousands of readers who love my work. I'm still striving to be where Karen is at this point in her writing career, but whether I make it there or not, I'm going to keep on writing because I love it.
This invitation showed me how important it is for published authors to support and encourage fledgling authors. It doesn't take any money or major time investment to speak words that might propel someone to the next level.