As you all may or may not know, I'm a hermit. I rarely go out in public, and when I do, it's with as much anonymity as I can get away with. Now, that's not to say I can't be sociable. I just prefer not to be about 90% of the time. Oh, I'm a whiz at chatting with the local convenience store gals, or the bank gals, or the Walmart cashiers. They don't know me, I don't know them, and if none of us every sees each other again, no one will be the poorer. (Although, after two years of chatting, I'd would miss some of them if they went away because seeing them makes my outings more pleasant.)
Anyway, what I'm trying to say is I do better when I'm anonymous. And if you're just a writer, that's okay, I guess. I mean, it was okay for the past ten and a half years. I wrote, and no one knew about it. Of course, I also wasn't published and, therefore, not in a position where I had to be out there selling my own work.
Now, I am a self-published author. Sales and marketing are all on me. I have to present a face out there in public if I want to sell books. Okay, that's what online is for, right? Never need to actually see or be seen? Huzzah. Except that doesn't feel like quite enough. So, every rare once in a while, I actually pull up my big girl panties and face my fears.
Yesterday, I decided to do just that. You see, I've been meaning to hit the library up north and donate copies of my books. But every time I've driven past there before, I've chickened out. I made myself not chicken out this time. And I'm so glad I didn't. The gals there were amazing and enthusiastic. They were welcoming and excited about my books. And excited to know me. I was in a happy place. Until...
The book reviewer for the local paper walked in. I didn't know who she was until the librarians made the introductions. And I know I got that 'deer in headlights' look. Not that the woman wasn't totally pleasant. She was friendly and kind. What got me freaking out - beyond the magic tipping number of more than two people around me at once - was she wants to do an interview and a write up for the paper.
Then another patron of the library came in. He was an artist and a member of the local group of creative people, and he wanted me to join. Lucky, the journalist gal had already left by then, so I didn't have more than three people talking to me, but he presented a whole other set of things to freak out about. One of the librarians saved me by telling the gentleman what I had told her earlier - I am a hermit. She even pointed to the back of my books, where it specifically says I'm living the hermit life. He smiled and went on his way, saying how nice it was to meet me and how he couldn't wait to read my books.
After he left, an older woman came in and the librarians chatted me up, but by then I was shell-shocked, so all I could do was smile and nod.
Thinking about it now, my heart's pattering. Not quite as bad as when the local bookstore owner suggested I go to a local writer event - where there would be tons of people - but still. I'm not cut out for personal appearances. Not anymore.
But the head librarian said she wants to talk to me about having an author event there in the future. She was so nice, how could I refuse? Besides, at some point, I need to get over this hermit-tude. And one day couldn't hurt. Right?
What about you? Have you ever spoken in public? You know, it's like the most feared thing in the world next to Death, right? And I majored in public speaking, for petesakes.