Friday, July 17, 2015

Deer in Headlights

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.


Silver James said...

I have this whole other persona that takes over when I do public speaking. I did speech and drama in Jr. High and High school. It helped. I don't mind book signings. Their kinda fun, even the year I sat next to Julie James. I played her assistant. LOL I love that people are "networking" you. That's so important in the scheme of things. And doing library signings/talks are smaller and more...intimate in the sense it's like talking to the clerks at the Walmart, or the gal at the bookstore. You can do it!

jblynn said...

Those are all wonderful opportunities and I hope you take advantage of some of them despite your fears.

The more you speak the easier you get and people in the audience tend to be kind since they're thinking, "Better her than me up there."


B.E. Sanderson said...

Silver - Yeah, actually speaking in public is a whole other animal. I can do crowds when I'm standing in front of them, you know, demonstrating something, giving information or teaching a course. Being actually out amongst crowds?? :shudder: The people here have all been super-nice, which is good. But I feel like Piglet at first. (You know, 'a very small animal'?) And I did see a little bump in sales today. Whether that's due to yesterday or because it's Friday, I don't know. I'm just grateful to have the graph go up. LOL

JB - I will take advantage of them where I can - even if I'm shaking inside. I did it yesterday, and the little voice in my head was telling me to RUN! LOL Thanks for the congrats. And lol about the 'better her than me'. ;o)

Karyn Good said...

I don't like public speaking, or should I say doing public readings all that much, but I do them. And like JB says, it gets easier every time. One of the reason I like being part of a writing group is that we do these kind of things in groups and that makes it much more doable for me. And the people who come are there because they want to be there. They're interested in books and writers, and how writers write books. You make connections. And sell your book by word of mouth with very little monetary output. Also you pay it forward and help out your local book store, the library, the local paper.

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