Dear Abby

DEAR ABBY: I have recently enjoyed the success of having my first book published. However, this achievement has begun to change my life in ways I hadn't expected.

I am a somewhat shy and reflective person by nature, preferring to live quietly rather than being in the spotlight. Having the freedom to spend time with my family and to enjoy the little things in life is more important to me than success. However, since my book's debut, I have felt myself pulled into a different sort of world.

I am meeting more "important" people than I can remember, and I am struggling to keep up. My inbox is inundated with questions, appointments and invitations. I am expected at speaking events and signings that don't feel entirely authentic. I know I would be an idiot not to embrace these opportunities, but I am becoming more and more uncomfortable and stressed. Maybe this just isn't me.

How can I be who I am without feeling like a disappointment to those who believe in me?

— NOT WHAT I EXPECTED IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR NOT: For your own sake, it is important that you stop being so self-critical. There is more to being a successful author than just writing. You are among the lucky few who has been published, and you now have a responsibility to yourself and to your publisher to promote your work and do public relations.

This is a window of opportunity that won't last indefinitely, and it's important that you recognize that fact. In case no one has mentioned it, every business involves relationships. Meeting people of all kinds will prove valuable to you in the future — long after the hoopla of this book has died down.

Stop saying this isn't you because it IS you. And if your schedule is too stressful, cut it back a little.

DEAR ABBY: I am wondering about the practicality of contacting my ex-wife about our unmarried, middle-aged daughter, "Della." Our daughter is an attractive (when she wants to be), well-educated woman who has her own business and has never given either of us cause for concern. However, some of the decisions Della has made in the last year or so have not reflected what I consider to be basic common sense.

Two of the decisions involved considerable amounts of money. Others involve day-to-day dealings with people in general. I have occasionally spoken up and raised questions about the decisions she has made, but Della seems to neither understand nor appreciate my point of view.

There is nothing illegal or unethical about what my daughter is doing, but her naivete at times makes her an easy mark for people who don't have her best interests at heart.

Should I express my concern to Della's mother? She doesn't see our daughter as often as I do. My ex and I have not talked for a long, long time.

— IGNORE IT, OR NOT? SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ.

DEAR "IG": If you would like to talk to your ex-wife, by all means call her. But if she has less contact with your daughter than you do, she isn't going to be able to influence her, either.

Della is an adult, and sometimes experience is the most effective teacher. People often learn more from their mistakes than they do their successes. Perhaps after your daughter makes a few more poor choices she will be more receptive to listening to the voice of experience.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.