Monday 19 September 2016

Showing up

Yesterday, I was at a market with a friend. We were sharing a stand to sell our books. Both of us write and publish middle grade novels, and we've done a few markets in recent months. Some have been fantastic and we've sold a lot of books. Others, like yesterday, we barely sold enough to cover the stand. It can be a bit up and down when it comes to markets.

There are people who tell us that we are crazy for doing markets. We don't make a lot of money for the hours we spent there. I figure that I made more sales by being at the market than if I hadn't been there. It's also a great opportunity for kids to see our books, often they are the ones who pause by our table, browse the books, and get their parents to buy a book or two for them.

At the market yesterday, we had a great discussion when it was quiet about books - writing, publishing, and promotion, and how to be successful in getting our books out there. The conclusion we came to is showing up has a lot to do with success as an author!

My table at yesterday's market

It's the same with any aspect of writing and publishing. Instead of sitting there with words swirling in my I head, I spent time at the computer writing down those words, then I put myself out there by publishing them.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has people saying to them "I've been thinking about writing a book," or "I'll write a book when I have time," or any number of similar comments. I like to point out to those complaining about lack of time that I'm a single parent with two kids with chronic medical conditions, and I have a day job, and I'm still able to write. In essence, I'm showing up.

Showing up is also putting your hand up to do a guest blog post, submit a story to an anthology, agree to speak for a group or run a workshop, attend a conference or workshop,or anything you need to do to work on your craft, get your name out there, and get your writing done.

I know this is something I am constantly working on. There are times when I think I'm kidding myself in my dreams, but I know that if I just put words on the page, if I show up, I will get there.

Melissa Gijsbers lives in Melbourne with her two sons and pet blue tongue lizard. During the day she works as business manager in the family business.

Follow her writing journey at and


  1. Hi Melissa,
    Good on you for showing up in all those capacities. I think it's great when you even cover stall costs at markets, let alone the times you sell heaps, because customers are basically cold buying, knowing nothing about you but being hooked to pull out their purses on the spot. Way to go.

  2. Thanks Melissa for a great post and an excellent reminder. Well done for showing up at that Market day. I agree that even if you don't do a lot of sales in the one day, you will still make more money than if you hadn't gone. Besides, all the markets you attend will all add up to something bigger. Life can't be easy for you being a working single Mum of 2 kids with chronic medical conditions. And yet you have got to where you are today - a published author. Well done Melissa. And yes, I too will try my best to keep showing up! :)

  3. I love your attitude Melissa! And no wonder the kids stop at your stall. The colourful covers are eye catching. True, we can never account for the reasons our books will sell. I've had large audiences where only a couple of mine sold. And was shocked that everything went with a small audience. Just keep on keeping on, gal!

  4. Yes! Love your attitude and what you have already achieved despite the other calls on your time. I like Paula's point - that any sale at a market is an achievement because you are basically 'cold calling'and I think even when you don't make heaps of sales, a great many people have seen your book and those connections may well bear fruit. The more visible you and your books are, the more likely people are to buy them. Well done.

  5. Love your post Melissa....showing up is a wonderful challenge for me!
    So admire you going to the markets - who knows who God will bless because of you taking this opportunity! Thank you!

  6. Good on you for 'showing up' Melissa. It's easy for me to make excuses about why I didn't do any writing today (or the last few days, or the last few weeks). Thanks for the reminder to get out there and keep going. I pray God will bless you richly for your dedication and perseverance. Take care.

  7. I admire your tenacity, Melissa! Thanks for an encouraging post.