Monday, April 28, 2008

To Be or Not to Be a Diva

Boy, am I exhausted. Friday I flew to DC for Malice Domestic, the large gathering of lovers of the traditional mystery. This is my third Malice. I’m beginning to feel like some bizarre bridesmaid going to other people’s weddings. Instead of a bouquet, I carry other people’s bookmarks and excerpt booklets. I don’t have a book in hand to sell. So what do I do? I schmooze. I meet booksellers such as Jim Huang of The Mystery Company (Carmel IN) and the fantastic Antoinette Cross of Foul Play (Westerville OH). Antoinette stopped me in the hall to say she has my book The Best of British Scrapbooking and my Storytelling with Rubber Stamps.

I nearly swooned with joy. My husband says I need to learn to act like a diva. “Joanna, you’ve sold a lot of books! Why on earth do you act so surprised that someone had a couple of them? 60,000 is a ton of books.”

Actually, I have sold 85,000 of Scrapbook Storytelling. Fifteen thousand of The Best of British, One Minute Journaling and Quick & Easy Pages. Seven thousand five hundred of Storytelling with Rubber Stamps. And 10,000 of Using Stories and Humor: Grab Your Audience. I also sold more than 15,000 copies of I’m Too Blessed to Be Depressed.

As I type this, I realize, well, duh. Someone out there must own a copy or two of my books. (And forgive me. I KNOW a lot of you do. See how silly I am?)

Okay, anyone know HOW to act like a diva? Better question, do I want to act like a diva? The answer is NO.

Charlaine Harris and I were talking about this yesterday at breakfast. We’re Southern girls. I never heard my mother (and have never heard my mother) compliment me. I’m sure she has, but not in front of me. I was taught to be humble. I was taught—almost with superstitious zeal—not to brag.

I just don’t think I can be a diva. I can dress like one, sort of. (I bought really cool zebra striped shoes to wear to Malice.)

But act like one? Hello? What would that mean? What would I say, “Well, of course you’ve heard of me?” What do you think? Do I need to change? To be more, I dunno, prideful?

Okay, send me an answer. Comment, please. I’ll send one of you the great Malice bag honoring Charlaine. (You can put her and MY books in it. How’s that? I don’t think she’d mind.)


Terri Thayer said...

I bought One Minute Journaling years ago, long before I met you. What a great book.

Sorry, no diva lessons here. Humility is far more attractive.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

My husband says I don't have to be snotty about it. I just need to not look surprised!!!!

I didn't know you bought One Minute Journaling years ago. How lovely. You know, I think that started the craze for inking the edges of paper. I truly do. I did it because I didn't have enough paper to mat my photos.

ellen said...

Be a diva? Well first you need to sing real high. Then you put a warble on it.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Um, my vibrato is...shakey.

Camille Minichino said...

I think you strike just the right amount of diva and regular folk, Joanna!
I do remember my shock after my first book, when I was outside of my home town and a reader at Malice had heard of me. I lifted my badge and suggested she had the wrong person.
But we learn ..

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Ah, I understand. Someone did thank me profusely for blurbing her book, and I adamantly told her I hadn't...and I was right.

But...golly...there's a lot to learn, right?

Nicole P said...

I think it is far more appealing to have a humble attitude and be appreciative of those who have bought your books....than to be a DIVA.
I think of Parris Hilton and the likes of when I hear the word Diva. I would never want to be like that.
I think you are just fine the way you are Joanna.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Paris Hilton?


Double Yick.

Yeah, I think his concept of diva might not My husband is a very nice person, so I know he wouldn't want me to be like Paris.

I think he just wants me to be more comfortable with compliments and such. Golly. I better pin him down.

I can sort of understand what he means because I've been at scrapbook conventions and had people say, "I didn't realize who you are," so I guess I'm not acting like "who I am." Or maybe...maybe they are too accustomed to people who are full of themselves.

Must ponder this.

Queue_t said...


I say embrace your inner Diva- It is o.k. like your hubby says to take a bit of pride in your accomplishments. Your numbers of books sold is quite impressive... and you will sell moer when your novel arrives too.. I just know it.
you don't have to be a snobby Diva, you just have to say to yourself, that you DO deserve the praise and recognition you get in the publishing industry or the scrapbook industry ( thats where I was first introduced to you)

Just keep up your good works and you can take a bit of pride in all you have done and what is still yet to come.

QT aka Tamara

PawsN2Stamp said...

I just hate it when people call themselves a Diva or a Queen of anything....even in jest. I would much rather meet an author who is humble, regardless of how many books she has sold ;-)

So, my advice is to just keep on keeping on with who you are!


Melissa said...

I have no idea how to be a diva either. I'll talk to my cat tonight and get back to you =)

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

QT, I think you're on the same wavelength with MDH. (Isn't that the right abbreviation for My Dear Husband?) He just wants me to "own" my success.

But Char, I needed the hug. I can only be me, and I was raised not to be "braggy."

As for advice from Melissa's cat...I want to know how to take a nap anywhere and everywhere. Melissa, could you ask your kitty about that?

Kathryn Lilley said...

Joanna, you're perfect the way you are, and your zebra shoes were great! About receiving compliments--I used to have an almost automatic way of minimizing myself whenever someone paid a compliment. Now I just smile and say, "Thank you so much!"

Joanna Campbell Slan said...


Aren't those zebra shoes just the cutest things? I put them on and laughed and laughed.

In fact, I think I ought to blog about shoes. Aren't they just DE-VINE?